This open course introduces students to the scholarly communications system — with particular emphasis on the scholarly journal publishing mechanism — wherein new information is created, evaluated, disseminated, and preserved.

The course content is organized into three parts:

  1. The Fundamentals aims to acquaint students with the basic framework of contemporary scholarly publishing: how it operates, who is involved, what roles they play, etc., as well as asking students to consider how they themselves might engage with the system as consumers and producers of scholarly knowledge. Chapters include sample exercises to reinforce content, as well as recommended resources for further study.
  2. (Some)¬†Problems¬†raises questions and issues that complicate contemporary scholarly publishing. While scholarship and research have the noble goal of building and sharing new knowledge for the public good, they are also inextricably bound to real-world economic structures and inequalities. This section examines how the scholarly publishing system intersects with money, power, and privilege. It asks students to grapple with the system’s structural, systemic failings, as well as contemplate ways in which it might be improved.
  3. The course culminates in two final Assignments that instructors can use as part of the curriculum, or that independent learners can work through on their own. These are open-ended in that there are no discrete right or wrong answers, but rather opportunities for students to grapple with and reflect on the content of the course.

Material in this course can be used in classroom settings or as self-paced tutorial. Appropriate audiences include upper-level undergraduate or graduate students who are interested in publishing their work; library & information science (LIS) students or early-career librarians interested in scholarly communications; and anyone else who wants a better understanding of the scholarly publishing system and the academic culture in which it is rooted.

Like scholarly publishing itself, this work is evolving and benefits from user feedback. Please submit thoughts/questions/ideas to


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