he production of new knowledge through the practices of research
and scholarship lies at the heart of the university’s mission. Yet
without effective and ongoing dissemination of knowledge, the
efforts of researchers and scholars are wasted. Dissemination is thus a core
responsibility of the university.
Traditionally universities have relied largely on formal publication systems to
ensure dissemination in addition to their critical function in vetting new
scholarship, but digital technologies have opened the door to an additional and
much broader range of dissemination possibilities and have generated entirely
new forms of content that must be shared. This shift demands that universities
take on a much more active role in ensuring dissemination of the knowledge
produced by their institutions—both now and in the future. The shift also
RLI 262 1
On August 4, 2008, four leading associations serving research universities, listed above, convened a roundtable
discussion engaging provosts, chief research officers, chief information officers, senior faculty, and library and
university press directors to identify actions that should be taken to expand the dissemination of the full range of
products of the university community’s research and scholarship. Informed by that discussion, the four sponsoring
organizations jointly prepared a “Call to Action” statement intended to provide guidance to each organization and
its members. The statement strongly urges campus leaders to take action in developing new policies and strategies
that promote dissemination of the full range of products of the research enterprise. Selections from that document
are included here. To view the full Call to Action, please visit
The University’s Role in the
Dissemination of Research and
Scholarship—A Call to Action
Association of American Universities
Association of Research Libraries
Coalition for Networked Information
National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges
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