Introduction: scholarly communication and academic publishing 

The rapidly changing world of scholarly communication is having profound effects on the nature of formal academic publication. Not only are the range and scope of published forms increasing, with electronic formats taking over from more traditional print publications, but the process is itself changing, with challenges to the once accepted model of peer review. 
There have always been a large number of channels for scholarly communication, in addition to publication in peer reviewed academic journals. These include:

  • Books or book chapters
  • Computer programs
  • Conference or symposium papers, or contributions to academic meetings
  • Patents
  • Reports

The factors which could influence where a researcher might choose to publish their findings include, the reach and influence of the publication (one way of measuring this is its impact factor), the nature of the research (whether it has been undertaken by an individual, a small number of colleagues or a large international group) and the speed in which the findings need to be made public in a formal publication.

In the last decade, one of the biggest changes in scholarly communication has been the development of digital repositories, allowing researchers to have a far greater control over the dissemination of their research outputs. Other web technologies, such as wikis and blogs are providing much more efficient means for researchers to share information, before using, or in addition to the more formal, peer reviewed channels.

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PILOT - Communication by Marion Kelt, GCU, Imperial College, London and East Midlands Research Group is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.