Considering (Non)Scholarly Communication

When I imagined myself writing a blog post for schol com, I naturally assumed I’d tackle an issue like the systemic and entrenched poverty affecting CUNY schools such as my own, which has lead to a decimated budget for the library, which in turn means we are unable to keep up with either book purchases or renewing some of our most popular database packages. Naturally, I’d discuss open access efforts, and ways in which those efforts give libraries hope, along with the ways in which those efforts sometimes fail to meet our gaping needs. All of that seems reasonable to address here, but lately I’ve been thinking more about a different kind of communication. There’s another gap in the ways people communicate, namely the ways in which scholars publish and the ways students read.

Since I turned forty, I’ve become a person who listens to talk radio while driving. Even worse: I listen to talk radio at the gym and during long bike rides as a way to feel “pumped” and motivated. As if this dorkiness transition were incomplete, I also recently deleted most of my social media apps and profiles, because I’m increasingly horrified by these systems’ desires to steal and share my personal data. I stand by my abhorrence of social media platforms, but this combination of slowing down and opting out means I’m becoming the kind of person who “discovers” what the kids are doing by hearing columns in the New Yorker– columns read to me by a calm voice while I use my elliptical trainer. So that’s the scene, if you can picture it.

Against this backdrop, I’ve been working with students on my campus who are putting together a new student publication. When I’ve attended their board meetings, I’m struck by the ease with which they navigate identity and gender pronouns, that they’ve all heard of “famous” YouTubers and can recite their massive interpersonal battles held online, that they grab images and files from online to use in their articles without a second thought to who might “own” those materials. In a This American Life episode (#637, “Words You Can’t Say”), Ira interviews a YouTube star, Laci Green, who became famous for her videos about sex ed. Her personal and online life exploded when she posted a video describing herself as a feminist, which got her attention from major traditional publications like Bustle, while also opening her up to significant harassment and death threats from anti-feminist YouTubers. As her story continues, the allegiance of her fan-base shifts, as an ultra progressive contingent harasses her for misusing identity-terms describing sexuality and gender (including her using the term “dyke,” which I’m personally a fan of). As her use of language becomes increasingly scrutinized by leftist activists, she becomes so frustrated that she reaches across the aisle and ends up befriending many of the anti-feminist crusaders who previously sent her death threats. Her former feminist fans don’t know how to forgive her. I don’t know how to even count the ways this story depresses me, but I have a feeling my students can speak about it with ease and fluidity.

A few weeks ago, the writer and activist Darnell L. Moore came to the CSI campus to read from his book, No Ashes in the Fire. He was perhaps the most electrifying speaker I’ve ever heard read on any campus anywhere, so afterwards I checked out his book from the LaGuardia CC Library (thanks, buds!). I was struck by how complicated he allows his narrative to be, how he almost insists on pushing the reader past their comfort zones. He describes dangerous sexual practices during the AIDS epidemic as a response to being told his death was a foregone conclusion (he’s ok); he describes his father’s physical abuse of his mother while also implicating himself in his future thought-patterns during relationships with his partners. He describes giving a fantastic and well-received speech about glbtq rights in Newark, but only after he first interrogates his own internalized misogyny in order to become the open person he needed to be to give that speech. This is what I found striking: Moore relentlessly details his mistakes. He doesn’t cast himself as an anti-hero, either; he describes himself as a well-meaning but imperfect person. These radical admissions in his narrative give me hope for a form of communication that can someday translate to the social media circus, a place where young people are currently able to express themselves freely, but not without extreme repercussions.

Meanwhile, back at my library,  I write academic articles I hope other academics can find and read from behind paywalls, and I also teach students to find, download, and cite worthy academic articles to support their schoolwork. Honestly, I struggle to bridge a gap in information literacy in an environment where students are fluent in forms of communication I find disorienting, like YouTube Communities, while I’m tasked with helping them understand why “peer-review” matters. Is there any sensible way to connect these dots? Perhaps those among us who have not fled the social media scene can offer me some insight into ways in which the discourse that happens online can fluidly shift into and inform academic spaces, and vice-versa. A thoughtful colleague of mine suggested to me that social media dialog and academic dialog might not be as disparate as I think they are, and that there are positive opportunities for academics to test out an idea on twitter, spark a conversation with others, and then bring those thoughts back into the academic sphere in the form of a blog post, an academic article, or a book chapter. I’m also aware of the myriad ways in which open pedagogy advocates are using blogs and interactive forms of online dialog as a way to expand conversations that would otherwise be sequestered to a physical classroom. There is room for scholars to explore ways to expand the traditional concepts of “scholarly communication” to include less structured forms of dialog with our academic communities (ah, but how to make non-traditional communication “count” towards tenure!).

Given that this post is a blog post, and inherently open to community feedback, I am open to your thoughts and suggestions! I am unlikely to respond positively to death threats (too soon to make a joke?) but would love to hear ideas about ways to bridge what in my darker moments seem like unbridgeable gaps in communication modalities. THANKS.

PS: your interpretation of the This American Life episode may differ from mine– go ahead and listen to it yourself! Also, Darnell L. Moore’s book is a solid read. Find it in a library near you.

-Anne Hays, Asst Professor & Coordinator of Library Instruction, College of Staten Island, CUNY

April 30 Event: Scholarly Communication at CUNY: Keeping Up and Looking Ahead

The LACUNY Scholarly Communications Roundtable invites you to join us at our annual event! This event is open to all LACUNY members.

Scholarly Communication at CUNY: Keeping Up and Looking Ahead​
Tuesday, April 30th, 3-5pm
Graduate Center Room 9207

As austerity funding for CUNY libraries continues, and the unbreachable distance between library budgets and academic journal subscription costs only grows, the LACUNY Scholarly Communications Roundtable invites you to join the open access conversation. We will start by looking at current tools for open access curation, followed by lightning talks about current literature. Finally, we will form breakout groups to imagine our scholarly communication goals (for ourselves, for our libraries, and for CUNY overall), strategize next moves, and start the conversation about collectively manifesting our scholcomm futures.

This event seeks to ask a simple question: what would it look like if CUNY libraries took proactive steps to actualize our scholarly communications goals? Event details:

  • Guest speaker Nicky Agate from The Idealis
  • Lightning Summaries of Scholarly Communication Articles that Excite or Inspire Us (audience participation)
  • Breakout Discussions—Moderated Action Lab

RSVP via Eventbrite

For Your Consideration: JLSC Editor-in-Chief Call for Applications

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Call for Applications: JLSC Editor-in-Chief

The Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication (https://jlsc-pub.org/) invites individuals or multi-member teams to apply for the position of JLSC Editor-in-Chief.

The Editor-in-Chief is responsible for a wide array of editorial matters, including submission assessment, reviewer management, article solicitation, and journal promotion. The Editor-in-Chief also provides leadership to the full editorial team, which currently includes an Assistant Editor and two Reviews Editors. In conjunction with the Board Chair, the Editor-in-Chief works with the Editorial Board to determine policy, direction, and oversight for the journal.


The Editor-in-Chief (EIC) manages the overall functioning of the journal, including the development and enforcement of policies. The EIC also oversees the editorial process, including assessment of the relevance of submissions (approximately 60 per year) to the journal’s scope, assignment of peer reviewers, review of revisions, and guidance of accepted submissions through the final editing (copyediting and proofreading) and publication stages. (The EIC is not responsible for copyediting or any production tasks.)

The EIC works closely with the Editorial Board to shape journal policy and practices. Editorial Board members assist the EIC in identifying and recruiting peer reviewers, performing peer review of submissions, soliciting manuscripts, and increasing general awareness and reach of the journal.

The initial term for Editor-in-Chief is four years, with possible annual reappointment thereafter, to a maximum service of seven years. This is a volunteer position.

Preferred start date is June, 2019; the current two-person EIC team will assist the new EIC for a one-month transition period (and be available for consultation after the transition period).

How to Apply

The Editor-in-Chief position is open to individuals or multi-member teams. To apply, please provide (a) applicant contact information, (b) a current CV, and (c) a statement addressing the criteria for selection listed below to Jill Cirasella at jcirasella@gc.cuny.edu by March 18, 2019. Finalists for the position will be asked to provide contact information for at least two references.

A successful applicant must demonstrate:

  • Commitment to advancing scholarly communication practices and librarianship: This includes demonstrated leadership in — and/or advocacy for — the intersections of scholarly communication and librarianship, as well as knowledge in any of the specific areas related to JLSC topics of interest (publishing, data services, digital repositories, open access, impact metrics, etc.).
  • Scholarly experience: This includes an active record of professional growth and scholarly achievement. For example, the candidate is engaged in research, has authored works in areas related to JLSC topics of interest, is active in relevant professional organizations, or is involved in advocacy or instruction related to topics of interest. Preference will be given to individuals with prior experience as an editor or editorial board member for a journal.
  • Institutional support or individual dedication: The candidate must be able to dedicate the time necessary to provide ongoing timely support for authors and the journal as a whole. Examples of evidence of this could include: the candidate being provided release time for JLSC duties, the activities falling within the scope of the candidate’s professional responsibilities (e.g., employer expectations to be engaged in scholarship), or recent adjustments to responsibilities (e.g., cycled off committees or other obligations that have created time for new opportunities).  

Beyond the above primary requirements, additional consideration will be given to the following criteria when reviewing applicants:

  • Academic discipline or area of study, professional work, performance, etc., with a preference for individuals familiar with academic librarianship;
  • Location of current employment (nation, region, hemisphere), with a preference for individuals who will commit to making space for under- or un-represented perspectives;
  • Academic or professional position, with a preference for individuals who demonstrate evidence of expertise and substantial professional contributions to librarianship or a related academic discipline.

About JLSC

The Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication is a peer-reviewed open-access publication for original articles, reviews, and case studies that analyze or describe the strategies, partnerships, and impact of library-led digital projects, online publishing, and scholarly communication initiatives. JLSC is published on a rolling basis, with a general issue for each year and occasional special issues.

JLSC is a shared intellectual space for scholarly communication librarians, institutional repository managers, digital archivists, digital data managers, and related professionals. The journal provides a focused forum for library practitioners to share ideas, strategies, research, and pragmatic explorations of library-led initiatives related to such areas as institutional repository and digital collection management, library publishing/hosting services, and authors’ rights advocacy efforts. As technology, scholarly communication, the economics of publishing, and the roles of libraries all continue to evolve, the work shared in JLSC informs practices that strengthen librarianship.

The journal welcomes original research and practitioner experience papers, as well as submissions in alternative formats (e.g., video).

In order to lower barriers to publication for authors, JLSC does not charge submission or any other form of author fees. JLSC is published on Ubiquity Press’s customized Open Journal Systems platform.


JLSC is published by Pacific University Libraries. Pacific University (Oregon) is a private undergraduate liberal arts institution with graduate and professional programs in education, optometry and the health professions.


JLSC is indexed in Library & Information Science Source and Academic Search Premier (EBSCO) and is included in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).

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