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Lamar Soutter Library

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Scholarly Communication | Scholarly Publishing


Libraries are constantly re-framing their services to respond to shifts in community needs. This case study explores the evolution of the library published Journal of eScience Librarianship, as it evolves to continue to serve librarians faced with the many challenges of a data-driven environment. The Journal of eScience Librarianship (JeSLIB) is published by the Lamar Soutter Library at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. JeSLIB is an open access, peer-reviewed journal that explores the role of librarians in supporting scientific research through services such as research data management, data literacy, data curation, data sharing, and librarians embedded on research teams. Launched in 2012 with funding from the National Library of Medicine, this new journal focused on the development of eScience librarianship as a discipline, while also promoting open access and the transformation in scholarly communication. At the time, JeSLIB was at the forefront of thinking about the “library as scholarly publisher” and also sought to fill a need for librarians to learn about new challenges related to scientific research and the data deluge. The journal emerged as an outgrowth of numerous eScience outreach projects and conference meetings that took place in New England among science and health sciences librarians, and continues now as a global effort with Editorial Board members from around the country, and a global readership.

Since 2012, the Journal of eScience Librarianship has published 77 articles, including three video articles, and has 72,372 downloads (both as of December 1, 2016). JeSLIB uses Altmetrics to track where readers are sharing articles to, and both downloads and Altmetric scores are displayed for each article in the journal. JeSLIB is indexed in the Directory of Open Access Journals. The journal’s team of librarian editors has acquired new skills and expertise in all facets of scholarly publishing -- as practitioners rather than as observers -- to the benefit of the library. Running a publishing program can serve as a critical tool to help librarians cultivate new partnerships and roles, and to engage with faculty, researchers and students who want to venture into publishing in emerging or under-served disciplines. Now in its fourth year, JeSLIB is proactively responding to shifts in community needs. While the journal sought to explore the many roles of librarians in supporting eScience, it has become evident that the journal must rework its scope to include newer developments within data science. In thinking about reframing the journal to remain relevant and current, the editors recently conducted an extensive review and revision of the journal’s policies as well as updating the journal’s website to include novel information and content.

Looking to the future, the Journal of eScience Librarianship is planning more special issues on emerging areas, submitting the journal to indexing and abstracting services, and is also surveying the implementation of open peer review. With current efforts supporting open access of research, and use of alternative metrics, as well as future initiatives for rethinking scholarly publishing (open peer review and library as publisher), JeSLIB is evolving to continue to serve librarians faced with the many challenges of a data-driven environment.


Journal of eScience Librarianship, JeSLIB, library publishing, eScience

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Copyright 2017 the authors.

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2017 Library Publishing Coalition's Library Publishing Forum


Presented at the Library Publishing Coalition's Library Publishing Forum 2017, Baltimore, MD, March 20, 2017.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.