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Association of Research Libraries (ARL®)

  Advancing Scholarly Communication Contact:
Julia Blixrud
FAIR (Freely Accessible Institute Resources)
Developing a Scholarly Communication Program

Build Knowledge

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As an overall program structure is created it is necessary to consider how to work with library staff. At the same time that you are cultivating campus partners and integrating scholarly communication into the core work of the library, it is important to develop understanding of key issues among library staff. Librarians and staff need to feel empowered to engage in these topics with faculty and the campus as opportunities arise to build awareness.

Create a staff training program

Assess librarians' knowledge, skills, abilities, interests

  • Staff survey: If the size and culture of your organization warrant it, an online survey could be used to determine current knowledge and level of interest in the issues.

    Example: UM scholarly communications KSA assessment [DOC] [PDF]

  • Assessment during instruction: During presentations to staff, brown bags or workshops, use common techniques to assess the knowledge of those attending with informal show of hands questions and more formal pre-test activities.

  • Informal assessment: Discussions with managers, librarians and colleagues may be the best way to determine what level of understanding currently exists among the staff, who has demonstrated interest in the issues, what new staff may have come on board with prior experience. Do you have staff who have attended the ARL Scholarly Communication Institute or other relevant meeting? Do you have a journal editor on your staff? This assessment is important for developing an appropriate training program, but also for identifying staff who can serve on a task force and help contribute to the program.

  • Define level of knowledge and skills you expect from librarians and staff. Examples of different levels of required knowledge:

  • Frontline desk staff should know the the Library has a scholarly communication program and who to contact, be familiar with terms such as open access, know what a PMCID is, know about the institution's IR if it exists.

  • Liaison librarians should be able to explain what an open access journal is and the pros and cons of participating in an author pays hybrid model. They should know the basics of author's rights.

  • Experts may have in depth knowledge of specific areas such as NIH policy, using the institutional repository.

Develop and deliver staff training program

Some things to consider as you plan your program:

  • Remember that your ultimate goal is to create a program of outreach. Develop your staff training with the external outreach goals in mind.

  • Avoid overwhelming your team and the staff by trying to cover too much too fast.

  • Consider focusing efforts on limited topics and deciding what level of knowledge is reasonable for your staff.

A training program can take on many forms. Here are some possible components which you can combine to fit your organization.

  • General presentations to staff
  • An overview of the issues can be presented to all staff. Important to emphasize how it impacts the Library and their own work.

Example: UCSF general overview 2004 [PPT]

  • Task Force can present issues and updates to the staff. At UCSF these updates were a way for the Task Force to develop their knowledge of the issues and to practice presenting the topics internally before they went out to faculty.

Example: UCSF task force update 2005 [PPT]

  • Brown Bag Series
  • Brown Bag discussions can be used to engage more deeply into the issues.
  • Staff Workshops
  • More advanced, conceptual topics such as Author's Rights and Open Access Publishing Models

  • Workshops for Library staff are a way for scholarly communication ambassadors to practice explaining the issues before they talk to faculty.

  • Ongoing Updates
  • Report at regular staff meetings on the activities of the task force to keep awareness high.

  • Invite staff to programs/events designed for faculty where appropriate.

  • Alert staff to news item you send to the campus community.

  • External staff development opportunities
  • ARL Institute on Scholarly Communication- immersive learning experience that prepares participants as local experts within their libraries and provides a structure for developing a program plan for scholarly communication outreach that is customized for each participant's institution.

  • See keeping up to date below

Example program: UM staff education series