Evolution of Scholarly Communication

The field of scholarly communication has undergone significant change in recent years, with the introduction of digital technologies, financial pressures for academic institutions, and increased competition. As the environment shifts, the CISP works to identifying and understanding new challenges and opportunities that present themselves, in order to improve the processes of knowledge dissemination. 

Below are some of our ongoing projects in the area:

  • In 2014, the Andrew W Mellon Foundation launched a broad-based initiative to help move scholarly monographs into the digital age. The Mellon Foundation invited John Maxwell and CISP to provide an external evaluation of the funding initiative and help make sense of the variety of activity in this area. Our final report (May 2016) was based on consultations with the various grantees and the monograph publishing community across North America, and appeared in the Journal of Electronic Publishing 20 (1) [also available as a PDF].
  • In 2018 CISP began a second study, under the auspices of a grant from MIT Press, to conduct a landscape analysis of available open-source publishing software. This report is designed to make sense of a very complex and dynamic field and to help guide project planning and development decisions across the community going forward.
  • Advances in digital media have transformed the nature of scholarly communication, offering novel ways for academics to share their research and connect with different audiences. Among them is the podcast, an increasingly popular but under-researched form of knowledge sharing. In collaboration with Siobhan McMenemy, Senior Editor at Wilfrid Laurier University Press, SFU’s Hannah McGregor is working to devise a new editorial methodology for the evaluation, editorial and production revision, peer review, and design and dissemination of scholarly podcasts. An assistant professor in SFU’s publishing department, McGregor is also the host and producer of Secret Feminist Agenda—the first podcast to have undergone the rigorous peer evaluation process.
  • CISP is an active partner with the Implementing New Knowledge Environments (INKE) research group (based at the University of Victoria). This multi-year, cross-Canada initiative seeks to prototype new forms of open, networked, scholarly communication via ‘publication in practice.’ How can a networked scholarly community like INKE capture its own ongoing discourse, rendering it durable, citable, and reliable? How does ongoing scholarly communication in the humanities transform the research process itself?