made it possible for this knowledge to be accessible throughout our society
and globally at manageable costs. Yet these opportunities are constrained by
publishing, tenure, and promotion policies based on historic practices.
Universities and their communities need to capture the full value of the
growing investments in research and scholarship by maximizing the
dissemination of their products…. Dissemination of research is a key value of
the academy. Indeed, academic freedom encompasses the rights of faculty
members and researchers to communicate freely and broadly the conclusions
of their scholarly endeavors….
Another key value of the academy is preservation of access to research and
scholarship over time. We must retain the rights to preserve products of
faculty work within the academy, or decisions about what will be saved and
who will be able to use it again will reside outside the academy.
To realize the benefits of this changing landscape, promotion and tenure
criteria need to continue their evolution beyond their basis in historic practices
that often tied faculty rewards exclusively to publication in the traditional
journal and monograph vehicles. While the identification of high-quality
scholarship is integral to the academy’s work, basing rewards on use of the
historic, print-based distribution system retards the development of new
models and also strengthens the ability of actors outside the academy to
control future dissemination of new knowledge.
Reflecting the need to retain the ability to ensure that faculty scholarly and
creative work is broadly available, universities, working with their own
faculty, should supplement traditional publishing models with more effective
models over time. While such models must preserve the critical qualitative
components of traditional publishing, they can and should go beyond them by
adopting the benefits made possible by the networked environment.
Assistance in these tasks should be solicited from scholarly societies and
In a networked environment one maximizes technology investments by
integrating dissemination functions directly into existing university technology
environments. A variety of capabilities for disseminating content already exist
on campuses, often under the management of libraries or information
technology units. With appropriate rights management strategies, these can be
effectively harnessed to substantially enhance dissemination of research and
scholarship in the present and into the future.
RLI 262 3
The University’s Role in the Dissemination of Research and Scholarship—A Call to Action
C O N T I N U E D
FEBRUARY 2009 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC