Scholarly Communication Program Hosts Discussion on the Future of Learned Societies

NEW YORK, October 6, 2009 – Can learned societies survive in today’s digital world? Join us for a discussion on this and more on Thursday, October 22, 2009, at 12:30 pm in Alfred Lerner Hall, Room 555, on Columbia University's Morningside Campus. The event is sponsored by Columbia University's Scholarly Communication Program and Office of the Provost.

The panelists are James O'Donnell, Provost of Georgetown University, and Erick Weinberg, Professor of Physics at Columbia University. O'Donnell has published widely on the history and culture of the late antiquian Mediterranean world and is a recognized innovator in the application of networked information technology in higher education. He is currently Vice President for Publications, as well as past president and director, of the American Philological Association. Since 1996, Erick Weinberg has been Editor of Physical Review D, the American Physical Society's journal covering elementary particle physics, gravitation, and cosmology. His research is in elementary particle physics, quantum field theory, and related areas of early universe cosmology.

In most academic disciplines, learned societies publish important scholarly journals. In turn, subscription sales to these journals can serve as a crucial source of revenue for societies. But the long-term viability of subscription-based society journals is now in question due to dwindling library subscription budgets and the growing number of voices calling for open access to peer-reviewed scholarly journal articles. What is a learned society to do?

This event is free and open to the public. It is the second of six events this academic year in a speaker series on today's pivotal issues in scholarly communication organized by the Scholarly Communication Program. Follow the series remotely via Twitter at Video will be distributed through the Program's website and Columbia University's iTunesU and YouTube pages. Previous events in the series are available online now. For information on the series, Research without Borders: The Changing World of Scholarly Communication, please email Kathryn Pope at, or visit

The Scholarly Communication Program explores effective uses of digital technology for sharing new knowledge. The Program, based at the Center for Digital Research and Scholarship (CDRS) within Columbia University Libraries/Information Services, highlights innovative approaches to communicating scholarly work and examines related debates over policy and practice, particularly in the context of global research.

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 10 million volumes, over 100,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and collections are organized into 22 libraries and various academic technology centers. The Libraries employs more than 550 professional and support staff. The website of the Libraries at is the gateway to its services and resources.