May 21, 2022

New Paper From ARL: “Affiliation in Transition: Rethinking Society Membership with Early-Career Researchers in the Social Sciences”

From the Association of Research Libraries:

Even before COVID-19 and its associated pressures on higher education budgets, today’s early-career researchers faced more insecurity in the academic job market than the generations before them. These labor market realities—fewer tenure-track positions and increasing adjunctification across the disciplines—have also placed financial pressure on scholarly societies, many of which have seen corresponding declines in membership. Meanwhile, early-career researchers have found rewarding new forms of connection and community in less formal structures, often facilitated by social media and other communication technologies.

These new settings for scholarly affiliation in the social sciences are the subject of a paper by scholarly communication researcher Marcel LaFlamme. By learning from these loosely institutionalized spaces, LaFlamme contends, societies as well as research libraries and their parent institutions can adapt to a changing environment and take steps to make scholarship more open and accessible.


Affiliation in Transition presents findings and recommendations drawing on interviews with early-career researchers from the United States and Canada in the fields of anthropology, economics, geography, linguistics, psychology, science and technology studies, and sociology. In these times of profound public-health, financial, and social disruption in the academy, this paper offers valuable guidance to membership organizations navigating their way to resilient and responsive futures. As a membership organization itself, ARL has conceived of this paper in the spirit of partnership with early-career researchers and scholarly societies alike

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Direct to Full Text Paper: “Affiliation in Transition: Rethinking Society Membership with Early-Career Researchers in the Social Sciences”

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.