escholarship: Faculty Values and Needs in Seven Disciplines

In 2007, the Center for Studies in Higher Education (CSHE), with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, began conducting research to understand the needs and practices of faculty for in-progress scholarly communication and archival publication.

The final report, Assessing the Future Landscape of Scholarly Communication: An Exploration of Faculty Values and Needs in Seven Disciplines, brings together the responses of 160 interviewees across 45 research institutions in seven selected academic fields:
archaeology, astrophysics, biology, economics, history, music, and political science.

The underlying premise of the authors (Harley, Diane; Acord, Sophia Krzys; Earl-Novell, Sarah; Lawrence, Shannon; King, C. Judson) was that “disciplinary conventions matter and that social realities (and individual personality) will dictate how new practices, including those under the rubric of Web 2.0 or cyberinfrastructure, are adopted by scholars.”

The report is divided into eight chapters, which include a document synthesizing our research results plus seven detailed disciplinary case
studies.

Indeed, their work confirmed the important impact of each discipline on scholarly communication habits in research universities; the peer reviewed journal article is the primary mode of scholarly dissemination in the sciences and the quantitative social sciences, while the more interpretive, historical, and qualitative disciplines rely heavily on the university press monograph with a varying mix of journal articles, critical editions, and other publications. These traditions may override the perceived “opportunities” afforded by the new modes of open scholarly communications and 2.0 technologies.

In my new role, I’ll be working closely with the UG College of Biological Science… this report is going to be useful.

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