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The evolving scholarly record

1 Jun 2014

This report presents a framework to help organize and drive discussions about the evolving scholarly record. The framework provides a high-level view of the categories of material the scholarly record potentially encompasses, as well as the key stakeholder roles associated with the creation, management, and use of the scholarly record.

Key highlights:

  • A confluence of trends is accelerating changes to the scholarly record's content and stakeholder roles.
  • Scholarly outcomes are contextualized by materials generated in the process and aftermath of scholarly inquiry.
  • The research process generates materials covering methods employed, evidence used, and formative discussion.
  • The research aftermath generates materials covering discussion, revision, and reuse of scholarly outcomes.
  • The scholarly record is evolving to have greater emphasis on collecting and curating context of scholarly inquiry.
  • The scholarly record’s stakeholder ecosystem encompasses four key roles: create, fix, collect, and use.
  • The stakeholder ecosystem supports thinking about how roles are reconfigured as the scholarly record evolves.

The ways and means of scholarly inquiry are experiencing fundamental change, with consequences for scholarly communication and ultimately, the scholarly record. The boundaries of the scholarly record are both expanding and blurring, driven by changes in research practices, as well as changing perceptions of the long-term value of certain forms of scholarly materials. Understanding the nature, scope, and evolutionary trends of the scholarly record is an important concern in many quarters—for libraries, for publishers, for funders, and of course for scholars themselves. Many issues are intrinsic to the scholarly record, such as preservation, citation, replicability, provenance, and data curation.

The conceptualization of the scholarly record and its stakeholder ecosystem provided in the report can serve as a common point of reference in discussions within and across domains, and help cultivate the shared understanding and collaborative relationships needed to identify, collect, and make accessible the wide range of materials the scholarly record is evolving to include.

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