RLI 287 7 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC 2015 Part II: Journal Articles and Short-Form Scholarship Rikk Mulligan, ARL Program Officer for Scholarly Publishing and American Council of Learned Societies Public Fellow R esearchers and scholars communicate informally, typically verbally and in person (lectures, symposiums, conferences), and formally through publications (peer-reviewed journal articles, conference papers, monographs, and edited collections). Short-form scholarship includes publishing research results and arguments as articles and conference proceedings, but newer online forms such as data sets, data visualizations, and blogs are becoming more common, accepted, and even expected. The oldest formal scholarly communication, the scientific article, appears in the journals of learned societies shortly after they were first published 350 years ago and has since become the gold standard for scholarly communication in the STEM (sciences, technical, engineering, and mathematics) disciplines. Although the article is also used in the social sciences and the humanities, these disciplines favor the monograph format. Since the 1970s a number of studies have described challenges to the article and journal in scholarly communications as a growing “serials crisis,” in which the cost for subscriptions or access to bundled scholarly journals has continued to increase faster than the rate of inflation, requiring libraries to spend more on journals and less on book purchases, in turn helping to create the “monograph crisis” by the early 1990s. Over the past four decades, other challenges developed, in addition to rapidly rising costs— from the sheer volume of publications to exchange rate fluctuations (weaker US $), declining federal and state funding for higher education, reduced university budgets, and the convergence of US and Canadian research library choices in what they purchase/collect that effectively reduces the range of scholarship available to students and researchers.1 All of these factors became part of a continuing series of crises that have lasted so long that scholarly publishing has been chronically weak and ill for decades.2 In the 1990s this illness and the advent of the Internet helped spark the open access (OA) movement for academic publications, and today it increases the pressure to experiment with new economic models and to create and use born-digital scholarship as e-journals, e-books, and other hybrid or emerging forms of scholarship. The Serials Crisis The price of journal subscriptions has long been a point of discussion and anxiety however, it took a spike in prices in 1986 and the subsequent ARL Serials Prices Project to help define the serials crisis by 1989. Mary Case, in her essay describing the first two decades of ARL’s Office of Scholarly Communication, outlines how the crisis came to be understood only during a Mellon Foundation-funded study of journal subscription costs as part of the overall economics of research libraries that resulted in the 1992 report, Short-form scholarship includes publishing research results and arguments as articles and conference proceedings, but newer online forms such as data sets, data visualizations, and blogs are becoming more common, accepted, and even expected.