Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Date of this Version


Document Type



A. Wesolek et al., NASIG Core Competencies for Scholarly Communication Librarians (8/11/17) < >


© 2017 NASIG


The following Core Competencies for Scholarly Communication Librarians were developed out of research and discussion conducted by the NASIG Scholarly Communication Core Competencies Task Force. Scholarly communication is defined by ACRL as “the system through which research and other scholarly writings are created, evaluated for quality, disseminated to the scholarly community, and preserved for future use. The system includes both formal means of communication, such as publication in peer-reviewed journals, and informal channels, such as electronic listservs (Association of College & Research Libraries, “Principles and Strategies for the Reform of Scholarly Communication 1,” 2003). The specific duties of the scholarly communication librarian (SCL), though, may be broad and amorphous. Variety is the only constant in the job duties of SCLs and responsibility for the full suite of competencies is beyond the reach of even the most accomplished librarian. Moreover, though a single librarian may be responsible for leading these efforts, scholarly communication impacts all librarians, and as such, specific duties are often diffused through an organization. The leadership exemplified by the SCL also may occur at different levels of an organization, from entry level to senior administration, and usually entails a specific focus within the broad scholarly communication space.

Keeping the extensive and amorphous nature of competencies in mind, along with the variety of areas of emphasis found within the scholarly communication space, the task force proposes the following as a tool box. Our tool box consists of four themes that are found in all SCLs and five areas of emphasis that are commonly, though not always, associated with the SCL and core competencies within these six areas. In this framework, the hiring library is largely responsible for establishing the appropriate “tool for the job” by focusing job ads and position descriptions on one or more areas of emphasis as determined by its current staffing, organizational goals, and the institutional culture in which it is embedded.

The five areas of emphasis with enumerated core competencies include some overlap with the four roles listed in the Joint Task Force’s “Librarians’ Competencies Profile for Scholarly Communication and Open Access.” Whereas this Core Competencies document integrates research data management into our Core Competencies framework, the Joint Task Force has issued a separate “Librarians’ Competencies Profile for Research Data Management.”