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College Students Learn the Scholarly Communication Lifecycle by Doing

October 7, 2019

cover_issue_179_en_USFalvey Memorial Library recently began publishing online a new Open Access journal that highlights the intellectual contributions of student researchers, Veritas: Villanova Research Journal (VVRJ). It is the first peer-reviewed undergraduate research journal at Villanova University. It promotes investigation and discovery, the referee process, and the work of Villanova students and their faculty mentors by publishing scholarly work across all fields of study. VVRJ publishes student research that meets its standards, is authored by Villanova undergraduates or recent graduates, and promotes the pursuit of truth.

Something else that’s very important about VVRJ, pronounced like verge, is that it is a collaborative effort between Villanova’s Center for Research and Fellowships, the Office of the Provost and the Library. Someone from each one of these entities gave brief remarks at the launch event in the Library. Below are the slightly revised substantive thoughts I shared as the library’s representative at the public launch of the journal Sept. 25, 2019.

Why the Library?

Social and cultural programming have been a large part of life in Falvey for many years, so I am not talking about this launch event.

Why is the library the appropriate platform for announcing and promoting the new student-focused Villanova research journal, Veritas?

Well, members of a scholarly community know the value of an academic library in the enterprise of knowledge creation. Learning, as we know, is not limited to the classroom. And we like to think the library is a place where scholars from any discipline feels at home exploring, discovering, collaborating and growing.

The library, however, is not just a space. Although to be sure it is a place to study, discuss ideas and even debate issues. It is perhaps more importantly people. The resources of the library are more than raw materials of latent data ready-to-hand but include the subject specialists and library support staff who assist, coach and encourage scholars and researchers. And scholars and researchers, regardless if they are faculty or students, are indigenous to the world of the academic library, and are not just visitors.

So, why the library? Because it is a clearing in the forest where language builds dwellings for thinkers. In less philosophical terms, it is a locale where every stage of the scholarly communication lifecycle can and should be supported. Especially for those who are learning to communicate as scholars.

What are the stages of scholarly communication? Data collection and analysis is the first stage. Librarians, if they are doing their jobs well, have always aided this initial step of research. Authoring, Peer Review and Publication are the middle stages of scholarly communication in which libraries have increasingly become partners with researchers. Discovery and Dissemination is the stage that closes the cycle of scholarly communication, and there too libraries have traditionally had a role.

Why the library? Because a 21st century academic library at a research institution deploys its spaces, physical and virtual, and resources including people in support of the individuals, such as the students whose work is featured in and represented by the publication of Veritas, who are learning the art of scholarly communication.



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