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One Way To Create A More Inclusive Future

July 8, 2019

Open and Equitable Scholarly Communications: Creating a More Inclusive Future was released in June, and granted it’s not beach reading, but it is surely a must for every librarian’s professional development reading list. As a friend posted on social media soon after it came out: “This is the future of libraries.”

open-232x300In the Executive Summary it states: “The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) seeks to stimulate further advances through this action-oriented research agenda, which is designed to provide practical, actionable information for academic librarians; include the perspectives of historically underrepresented communities in order to expand the profession’s understanding of research environments and scholarly communication systems; and point librarians and other scholars toward important research questions to investigate.” In short, it lays out a “Research Agenda” with 3 foci: “People,” “Content” and “Systems.” Each focus includes a discussion of “areas of progress,” “practical actions” and “next directions for research.”

The conclusion makes clear why this is important: “This research agenda is intended to encourage the scholarly communications community and all librarians and library workers to work to enact change in the scholarly communications system. The agenda suggests a range of types of inquiries, each of which will help the community create a more open, inclusive, and equitable research environment.” Perhaps an even greater benefit of getting to read this report than the fact that it includes input from more than a 1,000 “library practitioners” from a wide array of libraries is that it also distills prior research by being based on an “extensive literature review.” Something always appreciated by busy librarians.

In the first of several appendices — the appendix section is nearly three times longer than the report itself — it discusses “Social Justice and This Research Agenda.” Wherein it provides what is maybe the best place to start. “Some of the issues raised in the literature, as well as (in various ways) in our focus groups and survey, are these, listed here in alphabetical order…” (Cf. pp. 35-36).

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