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Essay The Essential Causes of Problems in Scholarly Communication

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The current state of scholarly communication is not the result of one particular cause and will not be remedied by a single solution. Stakeholders— librarians, publishers, and faculty —need to work in conjunction to rectify rising costs and restrictions in access. The evolution of Journal Impact Factors has led to loss of control in the information industry. Even advances in electronic publishing have proven to be an expensive endeavor. Other alternatives, including open access initiatives, institutional repositories, and self-publishing do not require the cooperation of commercial publishers. This paper explores the essential causes of problems in scholarly communication based on importance and offers solutions that either work with or against publishers.
A battle within the information industry now exists between scholarly advocates, libraries, and sellers of scholarly research, commercial publishers. Publishers have gained control over the fate of information created by faculty and researchers to make a profit. The sky-rocketing prices of journals combined with the current economic downturn have forced libraries to subscribe to fewer publications. Thus, denying access to valuable research and deterring the development of intellectual progress.
Ever since the original development of the Journal Impact Factors metric by Eugene Garfield and Irving H. Sher in the early 1960s, commercial publishers were able to distort a useful research tool into a merchandising technique used to manipulate scholarly communication and its goals. The initial use of Journal Impact Factors was to aid in the selection of new journals for the Science Citation Index. Ideally, the Journal Impact Factor "indicates relevant information about ...


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...holders and the support each alternative method receives. If publishers are unwilling to work with faculty and libraries, open access e-journals, institutional repositories, and self-publishing may become the primary system used in scholarly communication. Innovation begins with the creators— faculty and researchers. Without their support and effort, commercial publishers will continue to dominate the distribution of articles.
Libraries should also take responsibility for outreach programs and education initiatives to influence the development of scholarly communication. Because scholarly communication is an important aspect of library and information sciences, individuals should use this opportunity to take the fate of scholarly communication into their own hands. Librarians can work together and with faculty members to encourage support and necessary action.


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