Shulenburger Award for Innovation & Advocacy in Scholarly Communication

Since the 1990’s, former KU Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor David Shulenburger has advocated, locally and nationally, for open access to the results of research. His efforts to push for innovation and greater equity in the access to scholarly endeavors led to campus-wide conversations between an ever-growing number of faculty supporters and the development of infrastructures to support open access to the scholarly literature published at KU. Shulenburger's efforts led to widespread faculty support, including, in 2005, the launch of KU ScholarWorks and a Faculty Senate Resolution (pdf) in support of better dissemination practices, and in 2009, the passage of the Faculty Senate’s Open Access Policy.

In order to encourage, honor, and spur additional activism, Dr. Shulenburger established an award via endowment in 2014 to recognize KU faculty, staff, students or academic departments who are champions of open access and innovation in scholarly communication. The Shulenburger Award will be granted annually for exceptional efforts to advance innovations in open sharing and advocacy for positive change in the scholarly communication system:

  • Up to two awards selected from nominations of KU Lawrence faculty/staff members and/or undergraduate or graduate students involved in a faculty-sponsored project and/or to a
  • KU Lawrence academic department, research center, or school
  • Awards will be between $500 and $2,500
  • Individual awardees may be invited to serve a term on KU's Open Access Advisory Board

Nominations for the 2021 award process will open early in the Fall 2021 semester. Criteria, eligibility, and previous awards are below.

Deadline: Monday, September 20, 2021

Below are sections providing more detailed information:

Criteria for Nominations

Nominations of individuals may address the following areas:

  • Evidence of active support for open access by wide and open dissemination of the nominee’s scholarship (at minimum, scholarly journal articles) through sites that are actively open without fee barriers, like KU ScholarWorks, SSRN, and arXive. This might also include the creation and dissemination of original open educational resources, open textbooks, or datasets.
  • Evidence of sustained and forward-looking advocacy efforts for open access, for example, editing or publishing in an open access journal, open access to an author’s scholarly work (for example, in KU ScholarWorks), open textbooks or other open educational resources, open data, open patents, etc. Advocacy may take the form of presentations as an individual or as part of a panel, white papers, or journal articles published on the topic.
  • Demonstration of impact through community and scholarly engagement regionally, nationally, and/or internationally.
  • Other evidence might include:
    • Advancing best practices and sustainability of open systems of scholarly communication
    • Evidence of mentoring the next generation of scholars in best practices in stewarding the access to one's scholarship. For example, working with students on special research projects that use open access principles to enhance the visibility of the research output
    • Conducting research into areas related to open access, such as citation advantage, publishing markets and the effects of “open” or “closed” scholarship on the academy
    • Study and/or publishing on social issues/movements around the openness of scholarship
    • Active promotion of open access standards, OA mandates of funders and institutions, contributing to the shaping of new systems and models that strive for openness in the scholarly communication system for both authors and readers.

Nominations of an academic department, research center, or school may address the following areas:

  • Demonstrated ongoing commitment to sharing the scholarship of the group over the past five years, as measured by the overall percentage of total published work later deposited in KU ScholarWorks.
    • The award will primarily consider scholarship created or published during or after 2009, the year the KU Faculty Senate passed its Open Access Policy.
    • Factors considered include: traditional publishing practices within the discipline, department size, and number of items deposited.
  • Improving visibility of the variety of scholarship at KU, particularly that published after 2009.
    • Departments/schools/centers are encouraged to deposit previously published scholarly journal articles, manuscripts submitted for publication, final grant reports, working papers, research reports, series and monographs, data sets and other kinds of primary evidence, etc. Departments/schools/centers are responsible for selecting materials with scholarly value and assuring they have the right to deposit previously published materials.*

*Note: KU Libraries staff will provide basic training to a unit planning on self-nomination: creating the KU ScholarWorks “community”, authorizing contributors, and training staff or students in depositing items as well as support in determining rights issues.


  • Current KU Lawrence faculty or staff, or currently enrolled KU undergraduate or graduate students involved in a faculty-sponsored project.
  • KU Lawrence departments, schools, or research centers.

Nomination Procedures

A call for nominations will be made annually by the Libraries. Any person or group of persons affiliated with the University of Kansas may nominate an individual/department/school/center – self nominations are welcome. Nominators are asked to supply the following information to the Selection Committee:

  • A letter explaining the nominee's achievements and credentials that qualify them or the department/center/school for the award
  • Completed nomination form (docx) including contact information for 2 to 5 colleagues who can comment on the nominee's contributions to innovation and advocacy in open access
  • For individuals: a current copy of the nominee's curriculum vitae (to be shared with selection committee and references), highlighting accomplishments relevant to the nomination
  • Additional letters of support and/or supplemental materials are welcomed

Please submit requested materials to Gabriela Mora, administrative assistant in the office of the dean, at by September 20.

Selection Process

A selection committee consisting of the previous year's awardee/s, KU Lawrence faculty from multiple disciplines, and chaired by senior library administrators will be appointed annually by the dean of KU Libraries to review nominations and make recommendations for final approval by the dean.

In making recommendations to the dean, the selection committee will apply the criteria stated in the descriptions of the award above. The committee’s report will include a ranked list with justification for each nominee. All nominees will be informed by the dean prior to the announcement of the winner in the third week in October, during the annual celebration of International Open Access Week.

If there are not enough nominations, the selection committee may opt to recommend waiting until the following year to grant the award. Nominations will carry forward to the next review cycle.

Previous Awardees

  • 2019 - James Sterbenz, posthumously, professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science. Professor Sterbenz passed away in February 2019.
  • 2018 - Donna Ginther, professor, Department of Economics and director of the Center for Science Technology & Economic Policy; and Jonathan Perkins, director of the Ermal Garinger Academic Resource Center
  • 2017 - Amy Rossomondo, associate professor, Department of Spanish & Portuguese
  • 2015 - John Symons, professor and chair, Department of Philosophy
  • 2014 - Marc Greenberg, professor of Slavic Languages & Literatures and director of the School of Languages, Literatures & Cultures; and Town Peterson, university distinguished professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and senior curator at the Biodiversity Institute

Scholarly Communication Contacts

Josh Bolick
Head of Scholarly Communications & Copyright
Watson Library, Room 450

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