Tuesday September 6, 2016

University Acquires Communication Journal

The University of Dayton department of communication has acquired the publishing rights and archived content for a national, peer-reviewed journal focusing on basic communication courses at the university level.

The University will convert the journal, Basic Communication Course Annual, to a digital format via the University Libraries' institutional repository, "eCommons."

Joe Valenzano, associate professor and chair of the department of communication, edits the journal. The basic course division of the National Communication Association elected Valenzano editor in 2014.

"The University’s reputation for basic course direction is phenomenal and having this journal housed in our department really fits with the mission and the reputation of our academic basic course delivery," Valenzano said.

When Valenzano became the journal's editor he had three goals: Improve access to the journal, increase the quality of submissions, and increase the journal’s reputation.

Switching publishers from American Press to eCommons was a key step toward meeting these goals. Valenzano said the journal was receiving little publicity from American Press and was not indexed in a digital user-friendly way. He saw opportunity with the eCommons system and began the process to publish new editions of the journal and create a scholarly archive of work from older editions. The eCommons system allows the journal's large amount of scholarly content to live in a digital space where it can be easily discovered, downloaded, read and subsequently cited.

According to Maureen Schlangen, the Roesch Library E-scholarship and communications manager: "Publishers want to protect their revenue streams and restricting access is one way to do so. The eCommons system is open-access and not-for-profit; our main motive is to advance knowledge and therefore we want to provide faculty and students the resources they need to learn and to do scholarly research."

The transition to the eCommons system is advantageous for both the University and the journal. The move allows the journal to increase its digital presence, which in turn will increase its readership. Valenzano hopes increased readership help further the reputation of the journal and advances scholarship in basic communication course pedagogy. As the reputation of the journal grows, the University will benefit by owning the content.

The journal was created nearly 30 years ago by scholars attending the annual Midwest Basic Course Directors Conference in order to publish their ideas. In January 1989, Sam Wallace, professor of communication at the University, wrote a paper proposing the group start a journal in which ideas could be documented. The first volume was published that year, with Wallace as co-editor.

Wallace said it is important the journal remain a platform for sharing and developing ideas.

"The philosophy of this journal, since its first day, has been to treat the editorial process as a developmental process," he said. "Our mission is if you have a good idea, we want to help you get your manuscript in a condition where it can eventually be published."

Wallace has since transitioned into an editorial board role, yet still remains active in shaping the journal. He said he is extremely pleased with its move to the eCommons system.

Jason Pierce, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, is also pleased with the journal’s move to eCommons.

"The communication department has a long history of innovation and scholarship around communication curricula, particularly introductory or basic course curricula," he said. "Acquiring and now publishing this journal affirms this expertise and will provide valuable scholarly opportunities for the department's faculty and graduate students. I applaud the department's efforts to acquire the journal and appreciate the collaboration from University Libraries."

The department of communication has received national recognition from the Basic Course Division of the National Communication Association, including Program of Excellence for the department’s basic course program and Textbook of Distinction for the Communication 100 course text. In addition, Wallace and the late Don Yoder received Distinguished Faculty awards from the association.

- Alex Burchfield '16, communication assistant, College of Arts and Sciences

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