Open Access: 7 Things You Need to Know

Stacy Konkiel, Science Data Management Librarian, @skonkiel, and myself, Jen Laherty, Digital Publishing Librarian, @jlaherty, were asked to provide the Bloomington Library Faculty Council with an overview of Open Access.  Here is our quick presentation, given December 4, 2013.

On a related note, the Bloomington Faculty Council Library committee, co-chaired by faculty Jason Baird Jackson, Director of the Mathers Museum of World Cultures and Associate Professor of Folklore and Ethnomusicology and Ted Striphas, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Communication and Culture, are leading a discussion to recommend, or not, that an open access deposit policy be adopted by Indiana University Bloomington Faculty.  A similar conversation is happening at the IUPUI campus.

Librarians at IUB may wish to discuss an open access deposit policy for their scholarly outputs ahead of a campus policy – akin to those described in the seventh ‘think to know’ in the linked presentation.

Statistics now available in the IUScholarWorks Repository

The IUScholarWorks Repository is now providing usage statistics for all items.  When viewing an item (such as:  http://hdl.handle.net/2022/3253), click on the link:  View Usage Statistics in the bottom left corner of the navigation column.  The data available includes:

  • total monthly views
  • downloads of the files attached to the records
  • information about visitors from geographies: countries and cities

Currently the data provided includes April 2012 to present.  We will soon incorporate the use data from 2006 to April 2012.  Downloading the data is a future feature we hope to develop and provide.

We are excited to bring this new service to the Repository.  Please contact us with any questions:  iusw@indiana.edu.

Quality – it’s what we want to publish

Over the summer, IU Bloomington’s Provost, Lauren Robel, announced the creation of the Office of Scholarly Publishing.  The OSP includes the IU Press and IUScholarWorks among other endeavors and is sure to grow.  Since the announcement I have been invited to be a part of many discussions about the OSP’s strategic plan, exploring how the IU Press and IUScholarWorks could coalesce around something new.  Yes, this is very exciting.

This is the first post in which I’ll stress a few points from these converstaions.  I will continue to share as we explore our Press-Library partnership.

At my first meeting, I threw out the question: What is it we want to do together?  And IU Press Director, Janet Rabinowitch threw back a one word answer:  Quality!  We want to continue to publish quality.  Yes!  This was the sort of response we all appreciated.  It’s also something IUScholarWorks has grappled with through innumerable conversations only to fall short of how we can ensure that IUScholarWorks is publishing quality scholarship.

I know it’s not easy to accomplish and that my view here is simplistic, but the Press has a system in place to ensure quality scholarship.  They vet each publication that come to them before they consider publishing it.  Their expert staff is good at judging whether a publication adds value to the field.  If they do publish it, they not only have a team of in-house editors who work to ensure quality, but the Press is also plugged into a/peer reviewing system which sends manuscripts out for review.  How the Press operates in these circles for their monographs and journals may be different, particularly for journals for which the journal editors may play a key role in sending manuscripts out for review.

What do the vetting and credentialing systems look like for IUScholarWorks?  We essentially do not vet publications for quality when they approach of for support.  This is not a particular problem for our journals because the editors of the journals have the primary responsibility for providing reviewing systems for their publications.  But for most every other type of publication that asks for our support, we are simply un-involved.  In most cases, this does not present problems for authors as they too are unconcerned about our involvement.  Rather they are confident that their scholarship has been created in a system by which their peers have been involved at various levels and at significant points along the way.  But for some, particularly in the humanities, they look to us to help them find a way to credential their works so that their originial publicaitons may be published in our open access systems.  More often than we sometimes care to admit, we have to tell them we aren’t able to support this part of the publishing process, yet.

Much work, though, is on the horizon and we intend to take advantage of credentially systems based on crowd concepts.  Commons in a Box and PressForward come to mind as does Open Monograph Press.

Archiving Conference Works in IUScholarWorks Repository

The IUScholarWorks Open Access Research Repository can be an excellent archive for IU conference and workshop presentations in whatever form they take.  Often times these types of materials are difficult,  perhaps impossible, to locate after the event.  If there is value in preserving these materials and making them available at a permanent Internet location, please contact us.

To participate in the Repository, the rightsholder (in all likelihood, the presenter) needs to be able to accept the Repository’s non-exclusive license.  While it is best to have the license accepted before the event, it is possible to track down presenters from past events in order for their materials to be archived.

It is not necessary to have every presentation from a conference or workshop archived in the Repository.  It is possible to deposit the event program so that users may understand the full scope of the event when all presentations are not available.  It is also possible for rightsholders to opt for a Creative Commons license to their work when they elect to archive them in the Repository.

If this service could extend the value of a conference or workshop, please contact IUScholarWorks staff.   We will help devise a workflow for the responsible group that will result in a collection similar to the Latin American Music Center’s 50th Anniversary Cultural Counterpoints conference.

Welcome to a new year! IUScholarWorks Services

Welcome back for the 2012-2013 school year!  We’d like to remind our faculty and students of the services provided by IUScholarWorks, the open access publishing program of the IU Libraries:

  • New this year: Data Services: Indiana University Bloomington’s Data Management Service provides consultations on funding agency mandated data management plans, and data storage, access, and preservation options offered free-of-charge to campus researchers. Visit the IU Bloomington Data Management Service webpage for more information.
  • Journal Publishing:  We support IU faculty and graduate students who run electronic journals with their editorial needs such as author submissions, peer review, and journal website.  Please visit the IUScholarWorks Journals website or our recent blog post that showcases our publishing services.
  • Scholarly Research Archive:  Faculty can use our free, secure storage as a place for their Open Access research materials. The archive supports working papers, technical reports, media files, published articles, book chapters, and data: large and small.  Visit the archive, check it out, and contact us to learn more.
  • Graduate student theses and dissertations:  We actively collect PhD and EdD theses in the scholarly research archive.  A variety of departments also use the archive to showcase their masters theses.
  • Teaching: The Libraries Scholarly Communication department staff is available to lead workshops and guest lectures regarding our services, scholarly communication issues relative to the disciplines, and topics related to intellectual property and author rights.  Checkout our workshops pages (here and here) to see the latest offerings.

Visit the IUScholarWorks website to learn more about our services or to contact our staff

(#19) Publications, Publishing, Publisher, Public

In full disclosure, I have not (recently) consulted a dictionary regarding these words, but I am going to discuss some thoughts I have on their definition(s).

To make public is how I primarily think about publishing.  That’s a pretty simple view and I am certain it would not hold up in a legal case.  Each day, as digital publishing librarian, I help scholars and researchers (authors) make their publications public (publish) using the technology our team has available within the IUScholarWorks suite of services.

We manage traditional forms of publications, i.e., text, and we work with audio and visual materials too.  We explore and in some cases support new publication trends and forms such as portals, blogs as scholarly serialsmash-ups and alternative metrics.

We engage in open access publishing, but we are not certain that we are a publisher.  Why do we, maybe it is really just I, keep questioning this?

To help me figure this out, I engaged in an exercise to list out the things we provide for journal publications via the IUScholarWorks Journals Service.  We:

  1. Support the journal’s publisher of choice – whether it is IUScholarWorks or another entity such as a society or association.
  2. Support a journal’s copyright policy of choice and consult on intellectual property matters upon request.
  3. Support continuous publishing with no requirements or restrictions on pages or the number of volumes/issues per year.
  4. Publish non-text materials like video, audio, and images – in the article or supplemental to an article.
  5. Provide tools that manage editorial work: blind peer review system, electronic author submissions, communication amongst those doing the work/editing, and various reader tools may be elected to be turned on such as: comments, contacting the author, notify a colleague, how to cite (MLA, APA, Chicago style).
  6. Continue services for a publication once it has moved from Indiana University.
  7. Provide and manage trusted infrastructure and policies for the preservation of digital objects.
  8. Support a journal’s unique URL for their publication if they manage the domain registration.
  9. Train on software and provide technical support.
  10. Supply article-level use statistics – currently annually.
  11. Supply announcements and table of contents feeds to readers.
  12. Import back-files if rights can be transferred (if necessary).
  13. Update library cataloging records supplied to OCLC – so that records across libraries can be updated.
  14. Support harvestable metadata for discovery by various search engines.
  15. Supply metadata and articles to indexing/abstracting services (such as Ebsco or Proquest).
  16. Manage or help apply for an ISSN (international standard serial number).
  17. Provide limited design work as student staff expertise permits.  If a journal is migrating to our platform, we will endeavor to keep the design as similar as possible within our framework constraints.
  18. Are genuinely helpful and supportive to our scholars and researchers.

It’s an impressive list of what IUScholarWorks services and staff can do for a journal publication. Perhaps, upon review, IUScholarWorks Journals is a publisher, publishing various publications and making them publicly accessible to the world-wide public. I also came up with a shorter list of things we do not do, and I will write about them soon.

(#16) Beyond the PDF

As the Digital Publishing Librarian I am frequently asked what format a researcher should use to publish their materials in our open access institutional repository or in our open access journals.  Leaving the other mediums aside for now, I will focus only on text files for this post.

The truth is, I spend a lot of time thinking about how to best direct researchers with this question and no great answer seems readily available.  My default response is, if you want to use PDF, please use archival PDF/A-1.  In my position I recognize how important it is to authors and editors that a document look its best, but I also need to think about how to best preserve it, digitally, for a long time.  I’m not a preservationist by a long shot, but these matters still keep me up some nights.

We have experimented with a few projects that stray from the PDF.  For example, The Medieval Review uses XML to generate their articles which they supply to our repository and in turn we then transform into HTML.  We hold on to the XML files primarily because we think they could be useful to our preservation strategy.

We’ve also worked with Museum Anthropology Review (see volume 5, issues 1-2) as time and staff help permits to create HTML versions of their PDF articles using a template a crafty student created.  While these files in particular are great HTML files, they take quite a bit of time to create as I learned one Friday afternoon last month when the editor and I sat down to try to create them ourselves!

Yes, time is a large part of the crux of the problem.  Staff expertise as well.  I have inquired of these editorial practices and support for the creation of well-formed preservable articles with other library staff doing similar work and our general response boils down to this:  we’re a shoe-string shop, trying to get by and do good work without spending a lot of time and money on the format of the output and so we resort to what seems good enough and people like:  the PDF.

In our spare time, folks like me keep abreast of the the NISO Journal Article Tag Suite – Standardized Markup for Journal Articles.  We play around with Annotum, an open-source, open-process, open-access scholarly authoring and publishing platform based on WordPress which allows for the easy creation of XML-based articles.  We try to create XML templates in Microsoft Word.  If you read into these projects you may notice many of them focus on scientific publications and I thank these developers for venturing into these arenas.  Most of the publications I support to date are humanities-based and am hopeful as humanists continue to explore viable options – ones that are easy for authors, editors, and peer reviewers to use and of course, that readers like to read.  I look forward to the possibility of discussing these questions at venues such as ThatCamp Publishing 2012.

This post is just as much a call for response as it may help point others wondering about these matters to useful resources.  I thank people like Michael Fenner at PLoS and Matthew Gold at CUNY for delving into these matters as well.

(#13) IUScholarWorks Journals

IUScholarWorks includes a service for managing and publishing IU faculty and graduate student edited journals.  If you’re interested in getting a handle on the editorial workflow process (i.e., less email in your personal inbox!) or if you’re interested in pursuing an open access publishing business model for your journal, please contact us to talk about the possibilities.

We support the OJS software platform.  OJS = Open Journal Systems and is a product of the Public Knowledge Project.  The OJS software is a robust content management system for managing the editorial work of the journal.  It includes support for author submissions – including agreement to the journal’s copyright policy, peer review – including reviewer forms, and the editorial work for sections.  At its core is a large database that keeps track of all the communications between the involved scholars as well as all the article versions produced along the way.

OJS can also publish your journal if it is based on an open access publishing model – meaning free and available to the world on the internet. OJS provides RSS feeds for tables of contents to readers and you can allow readers to make comments on the content.

Please review the journals that publish with IUScholarWorks Journals.  Please know that we can support the editorial work if you publish with another publisher.  We can also address archiving open access backfiles if a journal could benefit from such a service.  No matter what option you choose, if you partner with IUScholarWorks Journals your content will be highly discoverable by search engines – including Google Scholar, the IU Libraries along with our partners in the Digital Library Program will take measures to preserve the content for the foreseeable future, and we will provide article level use statistics that are of value to both authors and editors.

(#9) Re-blog from The Scholarly Kitchen: The White House Calls for Information on Public Access to Publications and Data

I call your attention to this post by The Scholarly Kitchen – the blog of the Society for Scholarly Publishing: The White House Calls for Information on Public Access to Publications and Data.

It is a good distillation of the issues and questions being raised by the federal government as they grapple with how to provide open access to certain types of content, namely: “…public access to journal articles from federally-funded research, and the tricky question of how to make the most of the raw data collected in those federally-funded experiments.”

Certainly, if you care to give your thoughts, I urge you to do so.  Please see the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Request for Information.

Specifically, you can read, in the Federal Register, the RFI on public access here (comments due Jan. 2, 2012) and the RFI on digital data here (comments due Jan. 12, 2012).

(#8) Teaching Scholarly Communication

I’ll be on research leave most of November to explore ways to teach and discuss scholarly communication issues with graduate students.  My plan is to develop a workshop that could be delivered in 2-4 hours with the help and support of colleagues such as academic department graduate student advisors, subject librarians, and staff in the IUScholarWorks department.

I will be working to develop lesson plans and exercises that will focus the workshop discussions on the following interconnected scholarly communication issues:

  • budgets
  • libraries
  • author rights
  • open access
  • labor
  • versions
  • digital content
  • preservation

The ultimate goal is to inform students about these issues and give them some tools to help them guide their path forward as authors.  They will have many decisions to make as they progress as researchers in their respective fields and I feel it is important that librarians be a part of their education on these matters.

I will also conduct a literature review and will refer to various projects being led by library colleagues around the United States who are developing similar approaches to teaching scholarly communications to students.

Please look for a progress report I will make in December, and I hope to see you in one of our future workshops.