The Evolving Scholarly Record

#oclcresearch #scholrec

An OCLC Research Report by:

Brian Lavoie, Eric Childress, Ricky Erway, Ixchel Faniel, Constance Malpas, Jennifer Schaffner, and Titia van der Werf

This report presents a framework to help organize and drive discussions about the evolving scholarly record. The framework provides a high-level view of the categories of material the scholarly record potentially encompasses, as well as the key stakeholder roles associated with the creation, management, and use of the scholarly record.


  • A confluence of trends is accelerating changes to the scholarly record's content and stakeholder roles.
  • Scholarly outcomes are contextualized by materials generated in the process and aftermath of scholarly inquiry.
  • The research process generates materials covering methods employed, evidence used, and formative discussion.
  • The research aftermath generates materials covering discussion, revision, and reuse of scholarly outcomes.
  • The scholarly record is evolving to have greater emphasis on collecting and curating context of scholarly inquiry.
  • The scholarly record’s stakeholder ecosystem encompasses four key roles: create, fix, collect, and use.
  • The stakeholder ecosystem supports thinking about how roles are reconfigured as the scholarly record evolves.

Download US Letter .pdf Download A4 .pdf


The ways and means of scholarly inquiry are experiencing fundamental change, with consequences for scholarly communication and ultimately, the scholarly record. The boundaries of the scholarly record are both expanding and blurring, driven by changes in research practices, as well as changing perceptions of the long-term value of certain forms of scholarly materials. Understanding the nature, scope, and evolutionary trends of the scholarly record is an important concern in many quarters—for libraries, for publishers, for funders, and of course for scholars themselves. Many issues are intrinsic to the scholarly record, such as preservation, citation, replicability, provenance, and data curation.

The conceptualization of the scholarly record and its stakeholder ecosystem provided in the report can serve as a common point of reference in discussions within and across domains, and help cultivate the shared understanding and collaborative relationships needed to identify, collect, and make accessible the wide range of materials the scholarly record is evolving to include.

This work is an output of our Changes in Scholarly Communication activity, the goal of which is to help libraries find new ways to support their institutions' research mission, contribute to scholarly communications, and align institutional collecting strategies with changes in the broader scholarly information landscape.

Graphics Gallery

OCLC Research encourages the reuse and distribution of our work by providing it with a CC By 4.0 license. For your convenience we have created Power Point slides for the most requested images, complete with suggested citation.  Please feel free to use these slides in your presentations or publications without the need to request further permission.

The content of the scholarly record

Download the Power Point (.ppt) Slide

Suggested citation:

Lavoie, Brian, Eric Childress, Ricky Erway, Ixchel Faniel, Constance Malpas, Jennifer Schaffner, and Titia van der Werf. 2014. The Evolving Scholarly Record. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC Research.

For more information:

Email OCLC Research