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 unit or team
  • 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 2023 award process will open early in the Fall 2023 semester. Criteria, eligibility, and previous awards are below.

Deadline: Monday, September 18, 2023

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 open dissemination of the nominee’s scholarship through sites that are open without barriers, such as KU ScholarWorks and other open subject repositories (for example, arXiv). This might also include the creation and dissemination of open educational resources (OER), monographs, 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 educational resources, open data, or related open science practices. Advocacy may take a variety of forms, such as 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 a unit or team, such as an academic department, research center, school, lab, or committee may address the following areas:

  • Demonstrated ongoing commitment to sharing the scholarship of the group, as measured by the overall percentage of total published work available openly, such as in open journals or deposited in KU ScholarWorks or other subject repositories.
    • 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.
    • 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/or mediating deposit, and training staff or students in depositing items as well as support in determining rights issues when applicable.


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

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 two to five 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 Sarah Goodwin Thiel, Head, Center for Community/Affiliate Initiatives & Engagement, at by close of business on September 18, 2023.

Selection Process

A selection committee consisting of the previous year's awardee/s, KU Lawrence faculty from multiple disciplines, and chaired by a senior library administrator 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, typically during the annual celebration of International Open Access Week.

If there is an insufficient number of qualified 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


  • Bruce Lieberman, professor, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, and senior curator at the Biodiversity Institute & Natural History Museum
  • Cameron Piercy, professor, Department of Communication Studies


  • Shannon O'Lear, professor, Department of Geography & Atmospheric Science, and director, Environmental Studies Program
  • Corey Rayburn Yung, professor, School of Law


  • Meggie Mapes, introductory course director in the Department of Communication Studies
  • The University of Kansas School of Social Welfare


  • James Sterbenz, posthumously, professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science. Professor Sterbenz passed away in February 2019.


  • Donna Ginther, professor, Department of Economics and director of the Center for Science Technology & Economic Policy
  • Jonathan Perkins, director of the Ermal Garinger Academic Resource Center


  • Amy Rossomondo, associate professor, Department of Spanish & Portuguese


  • John Symons, professor and chair, Department of Philosophy


  • Marc Greenberg, professor of Slavic Languages & Literatures and director of the School of Languages, Literatures & Cultures
  • 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 400A

Heather Mac Bean
Open Education Librarian
Watson Library, Room 450

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