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KU Libraries announce 2019 Shulenburger Award for Innovation and Advocacy in Scholarly Communication

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

LAWRENCE — KU Libraries are pleased to announce the 2019 David Shulenburger Award for Innovation & Advocacy in Scholarly Communication was awarded posthumously to James Sterbenz, professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science. Sterbenz passed away in February 2019.

Granted annually, the Shulenburger Award recognizes KU staff, faculty, students and academic departments that demonstrate outstanding efforts to facilitate open access by creating a variety of open channels for public communication between scholars and community members across the globe. Former KU Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor David Shulenburger, a longtime advocate for open access, established the award with a private gift in 2014 to recognize KU community members demonstrating exceptional advocacy and innovation in the scholarly communication system.

Sterbenz joined the School of Engineering in 2005 and was promoted to full professor in 2014. During his time at KU, Sterbenz served as a member of the KU Open Access Advisory Board, which works to shape open access policy and practice at the university to broaden the reach of faculty research.

“James brought his disciplinary expertise and the international reach of his research to the advisory board,” said Ada Emmett, director of the Shulenburger Office of Scholarly Communication & Copyright. “The open access movement needs people leading the charge as advocates and champions, but it also needs more authors, faculty, researchers and students to take measured efforts to be champions within their own spheres of influence – and James did that.”

At a private reception held in Watson Library on Nov. 14, the Shulenburger award was presented to Kris Sterbenz, James’ wife. 

“The libraries are pleased to honor the late James Sterbenz for his bold and persistent efforts in support of open access and reforms in the scholarly publishing system,” said Kevin L. Smith, dean of KU Libraries. “The libraries and the university are dedicated to enhancing and supporting researchers who contribute to a global exchange of educational and scholarly resources.”


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