Identifying areas demonstrating and strengthening connections between Scholarly Communication and Information Literacy

The white paper  “Intersections of Scholarly Communication and Information Literacy: Creating Strategic Collaborations for a Changing Academic Environment” - published by the Association of College & Research Libraries in 2013 - has launched an ongoing process  of identifying areas that would demonstrate connections between scholarly communication and information literacy  to strengthen the educational roles of academic libraries.

Scholarly communication can be defined as “the system through which research and other scholarly writings are created, evaluated for quality, disseminated to the scholarly community, and preserved for future use(Association of Research Libraries). 

Scholarly communication competencies are increasingly called for at two levels in research libraries. First, many such libraries are creating specialist positions for expert practitioners who will lead in developing programs and services to support scholarly communication. Second, we are seeing a heightened expectation that librarians who support disciplinary scholarship are fluent in the language of scholarly communication and can address its opportunities and challenges. Scholarly communication literacy has become a core competency for academic librarians (Tooling up. Scholarly communication education and training).

“Information literacy forms the basis for lifelong learning. It is common to all disciplines, to all learning environments, and to all levels of education” (Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education).

Information literacy and scholarly communication are two major outreach activities in academic libraries. Merging these areas represents something of a new frontier that will require many libraries to shift models that presently support scholarly communication and information literacy as separate endeavors. 

The “Intersections of Scholarly Communication and Information Literacy” white paper was the result of several converging initiatives within librarianship and within Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL),  including a rise of interest in researcher as creator, the momentum behind open access, standard and emerging modes of scholarly communication, formal publishing, questions of how librarians could best introduce researchers to scholarly communication topics.

The paper is based on the premise that scholarly communication knowledge is vital to information literacy skills and the ability to navigate the world of digital information. The “Intersections of Scholarly Communication and Information Literacy” provides an excellent overview of three intersections of both subjects while providing conversational starting points for academic librarians at their institutions. These  intersections are:

  1. economics of the distribution of scholarship (including access to scholarship, the changing nature of scholarly publishing, and the education about content consumers and content creators);
  2. digital literacies (including teaching new technologies and rights issues, and the emergence of multiple types of non-textual content);
  3. changing roles of academic libraries (including the imperative to contribute to the building of new infrastructures for scholarship, and deep involvement with creative approaches to teaching).

Based on these intersections, the “Intersections of Scholarly Communication and Information Literacy” provides strategies that librarians from different backgrounds and responsibilities can use to construct and initiate collaborations within their own campus environments between information literacy and scholarly communication.
These strategies, or core responses, will support libraries in becoming more resilient in the face of the changing digital information environment.

After articulating the aforementioned intersections and exploring core responses, the paper recommends four objectives (with actions for each):

  1. integrate pedagogy and scholarly communication into educational programs for librarians to achieve the ideal of information fluency;
  2. develop new model information literacy curricula, incorporating evolutions in pedagogy and scholarly communication issues;
  3. explore options for organizational change;
  4. promote advocacy,

which could be taken by academic library organizations, individual libraries, and library leaders.

Ongoing work

“Lifelong Learning Requires Lifelong Access” (Joyce Ogburn).


The “Intersections of Scholarly Communication and Information Literacy” task force  has received the charge to keep the momentum going. To that end, it continues to:

  • identify areas of high interest among librarians supporting these two areas;
  • look for opportunities to address the need for professional development ( to build capacity);
  • identify other areas and/or set of “signals” within academic librarianship that would demonstrate and strengthen connections between Scholarly Communication and Information Literacy.

An understanding of best practices in data management and curation, data literacy have emerged as the first ones of such areas, in addition to copyright and author rights education, challenges and opportunities of digital repositories, role of digital technology and networked communication in the disciplines and the need to develop content for instruction librarians working with scholarly communication librarians.

There are clearly myriad strategies and opportunities for integrating scholarly communication concepts into different parts of academic lives. Formal instruction, exhibits, symposia, and including research outputs in institutional repositories can all play an important role in building  knowledge about key elements of the research lifecycle, and position libraries to have a major role in the dissemination of original research.

The ACRL task force has also been working to identify librarians and libraries that are leading in Scholarly Communication and Information Literacy areas and that could contribute to future work, while expanding the professional conversations about scholarly communication and its implications: among librarians and scholars.

The “Intersections of Scholarly Communication and Information Literacy”  was presented by the task force to different audiences which gave feedback on both the white paper and the continuing Intersections work on the revolution in scholarly communications itself.

Last but not least.

Till June 3, 2016, ACRL is accepting applications from prospective new presenters (members of ACRL) for the workshop “Intersections of Scholarly Communication and Information Literacy” which will be held in conjunction with the ALA Annual Conference, on Friday, June 24, 2016 in Orlando, FL.

This new in-person workshop is intended to increase librarians’ leadership on issues and projects related to scholarly communication’s connection with information literacy.

The target audience:  

academic librarians with responsibilities related to coordinating and teaching in the areas of scholarly communication and information literacy.

ACRL seeks to expand its pool of presenters by recruiting experienced individuals to join its existing team.

Presenters may also be asked to present webcasts or teach online courses.


A member of ACRL.

  • A designated role in scholarly communication and/or information literacy within your library.
  • Evidence of understanding of the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education, the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education, and a wide range of scholarly communication issues as pertaining to libraries and higher education.
  • A deep conceptual understanding of the intersections between information literacy and scholarly communication.
  • Experience with instructional design or workshop design and meeting facilitation.
  • Demonstrated ability to engage in collaborative planning.
  • Experience working in academic or research libraries.
  • Available to participate in curriculum updates and workshop planning during monthly one hour conference calls.

Must be available to attend up to two roadshows to be offered in fall/winter 2016 to shadow current presenters, then co-present an average of two workshops per year

How to apply

To apply, please prepare the following materials. Applications must be submitted electronically as a single PDF document that includes:

  1. A statement addressing the following questions (two pages max for all). Please use examples of your instructional experiences in your response including links to teaching materials, videos, etc.:
  • Why do you want to be a presenter for this workshop?
  • Demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the intersections of scholarly communication and information literacy by selecting an element and discussing it in detail.
  • What experience do you have in developing curricula?
  • Are there relevant experiences of which you would like us to be aware?
  1. Your resume.
  2. The names and contact information for two references who have direct knowledge of your experience and expertise.

The single PDF application must be submitted via email by 5 p.m. Central on Friday, June 3, 2016,  

to Merinda Kaye Hensley, member of the ACRL Intersections Professional Development Working Group at [email protected].

The group will select new presenters for 2016-2017 and notify all applicants by Friday, June 17, 2016.

If you have questions of any kind, don’t hesitate to contact Merinda Kaye Hensley at [email protected].

See also:

Innovations in scholarly communication - global survey on research tool usage