What exactly is

Scholarly Communications?

Scholarly communications refers to the way in which scholars, researchers, publishers, and librarians work together to share and publish research findings and make them available to the wider academic community and beyond. It has been defined 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).

Common topics in scholarly communications include: Research Data Management, Copyright, Scholarly Publishing, Open Access, Institutional Repositories, and Research Impact (metrics and altmetrics). A typical Scholarly Communication lifecycle consists of the following stages:

Keep yourself up-to-date

Concise Guides to Scholarly Communications

Scholarly Communications covers a wide range of topics, many of which are thought-provoking and potentially controversial. Each of the following guides is intended to provide you with a short and concise overview of that particular topic. Links to curated resources are provided should you wish to gain deeper insights into some of the important issues.

Like all intellectual property laws, copyright laws are complex and can be seen as confusing, particularly when aspects such as fair dealing exemptions can appear to be unclear. It helps to understand that copyright law exists to "strike a balance between rights and responsibilities".

This Guide is designed not to overwhelm you with technical jargon but instead provide a simple and concise overview of frequently asked questions. There are separate sections for teachers, researchers, and students, as well as a "click and learn" glossary.

Guide to

Open Access

Since the beginning of the 21st century, the impact of the Internet has prompted significant questioning of the traditional scholarly publishing model. Technological changes have helped trigger calls for scientific research to be made freely available and accessible online.

The various initiatives are referred to as the Open Access movement. This Guide will give you an overview of Open Access, including the potential public good of universal access, wider and faster impact, and OACA - the Open Access Citation Advantage, etc.

Guide to


The University has adopted an integrated research information and management system (IRIMS) that also serves as an institutional repository. With 3 linked modules, IRIMS can handle grant applications, the reporting of research output and activities, and the promotion of HKBU research accomplishments and expertise, all by a single integrated system.

The Library is held responsible for 2 of the 3 modules, namely the Publication Backend and Research Portal. This Guide provides all you need to know about these 2 modules.

Citation counts are the traditional key metric for scholarly works. Impact measurements have, however, expanded significantly in recent years to include influences beyond academia. Research impact has a much broader meaning nowadays and can be wide-ranging, varied, and project-specific. As a multi-dimensional indicator, it is important to be aware of the pros and cons for each measure.

This Guide aims to provide you with basic information about some of the most common measurement tools and why you should care about creating and managing your impact.

What is involved in

Scholarly Communications

Scholarly Communications is a relatively new area in a fast-changing landscape. The major themes are:

  • Research Data Management

  • Copyright

  • Scholarly Publishing

  • Open Access

  • Institutional Repositories (IRIMS at HKBU)

  • Research Impact

Introduction to

Scholarly Communications

Watch this intro video on what scholarly communications is all about.

(Credit: Video produced by the Center for Digital Research and Scholarship, Columbia University and for the Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication.)