Author: Christopher Hollister
Professional discourse concerning scholarly communication (SC) suggests a broad consensus that this is a burgeoning functional area in academic libraries. The transformed research lifecycle and the corresponding changes in copyright applications, publishing models, and open access policies have generated unprecedented opportunities for innovative library engagement with the academy and its researchers.
Accordingly, the roles for librarians have shifted to accommodate new responsibilities. Previous research on SC librarianship is mainly focused on the provision of services, administrative structures, and the analysis of relevant job descriptions. Little has been written regarding the implications of SC on the preparation of new library professionals, and no research has been produced on the relative perspectives of library students.
The author surveyed MLIS students who were completing semester-long courses on SC at three universities to elicit their perceptions of that subject matter in terms of their library education and career pathways.
All respondents qualified SC as interesting and important subject matter, and a majority indicated relevance to their professional pursuits. Student perspectives are given on the viability of SC librarianship and the perceived bearing of this specialty area in different types of libraries.
Survey data suggests a possible correlation between SC courses and relative career appeal. The data may warrant attention among MLIS curriculum planners, given the academy’s recognition of the need for SC specialists.
The transformed research lifecycle necessitates new professional competencies for library practitioners. Implications for library education are discussed, and areas for future research are proposed