Visioning a new CRD online journal
The CRD is moving along a path to start an online, open source, peer-reviewed journal. Why, when there are so many journals out there, are we considering starting yet one more? Well, we think there are several compelling reasons:
- Many academic librarians in the Commonwealth are doing really innovative and exciting things with their students (yes, I said “their students”), yet much of their work remains unknown and unpublicized. Yes, some librarians present at conferences, but their ideas often go no further than that conference. And many librarians do not, so their innovations may go no further than their workplace. As Megan Oakleaf stated at the CRD Spring Conference, we need to take seriously our responsibility to publish our research results in an indexed publication so that our colleagues can find and build on our research.
- Now that the PaLA Bulletin has changed its publishing schedule from 10 issues a year to 4 issues, there are fewer opportunities for academic librarians to publish in PA. We see a need for the CRD to provide a venue for publication, where conference proceedings, for example, can be published, as well as other articles.
- Although not all librarians need to publish to get tenure or be promoted, all librarians do need to make data-driven decisions. We rely on ‘the literature’ to find evidence on which we can base decisions or make recommendations to our administrators. So it’s imperative we share our research results with others, no matter how humble they may seem to us. Your little ‘knock-off’ survey might provide just the right tidbit of information another professional is looking for. You never know.
- The CRD recognizes the need to increase the value of a PaLA membership to academic librarians. While the CRD Board members are passionate about the need for collaboration among all librarians — public, school, special, and academic — we still realize that the academic workplace has different demands, namely that many academic librarians are required to demonstrate their service to the profession and to show evidence of scholarship. This may mean publishing or involvement on professional committees. We believe that offering PaLA-CRD members an opportunity to serve on an Editorial Board will add value by providing more opportunity for professional and scholarly work.
- Scholarly communication is changing. Numerous citation analyses have shown that when a publication is easy to find it is more likely to be used and cited by others. Sure, some tenure and promotion committees may still look askance at open source, online journals, but this is changing, and we can be a positive force contributing to this change. Yes, publishing involves a lot of time and energy, but it is work that strengthens our profession and helps us make headway collecting evidence of our value.
At this point, we think the journal should be ‘peer-invited’ rather than blind-reviewed, and we will begin by inviting selected PaLA Conference presenters to publish articles based on their presentations. (CRD conference proposals already have a 30-40% acceptance rate.) The editorial board, yet to be formed, will work with writers to develop articles for publication in an iterative, peer-review process. The journal will probably start as an annual publication and increase frequency as needed. We will seek to be indexed in LISTA, DOAJ, and other sources, too. Suggestions are welcome!
So, how can you help? The CRD Board wants to hear from you, your thoughts and reactions to the following questions. Your input will help us refine the concept before we send a formal proposal to the PaLA Council for approval. If you could give us your input by September 19th, it would be most appreciated. Tell us —
- Would you consider publishing in such a journal?
- If you are a CRD member, would you be interested in serving on the editorial board?
- If you’re not a member, would this be an incentive to become a member?
- Would you be willing to serve on an ad-hoc committee to research how best to begin?
- What do you like or not like about this idea? Any suggestions on how to avoid pitfalls, problems, etc?
- What should the journal be named?
Please comment! If you’d like to contact me directly, my email is lsn5383 (at) gmail (dot) com.