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

New Google Scholar Research Alert Functionality: “Scholar Updates”

Google Scholar recently released a new functionality to their service called Scholar Updates. It builds upon the existing research alerts offered by Google Scholar, which are similar in nature to those offered by ISI Web of Science and other academic databases.

Google Scholar alerts require manual set up, where a user defines a specific query relevant to their research interests using Boolean terms. While advanced users relish the flexibility of Google Scholar alerts, those who do not have the time or know-how to set up queries don’t find much value in the service.

Scholar Updates, on the other hand, has enhanced the existing alerts service by automating it for users who have a Google Scholar Citations profile. As evolutionary biologist, Jonathan Eisen, explains on his blog, Citations profiles are scraped by the Scholar Updates service in order to determine authors’ research interests and relevant keywords, based on their publication history. The service then returns relevant articles from the web  by “determin[ing] relevance using a statistical model that incorporates what [an author’s] work is about, the citation graph between articles, the fact that interests can change over time, and the authors [that a researcher] works with and cites” (Connor, 2012).

According to Eisen, Scholar Updates are surprisingly relevant to his interests. Other researchers are not so sure that the service is ready for prime time.

Have you started using Scholar Updates? What do you think of the service so far?

Open Access gains critical mass with two new petitions

Two recently launched petitions have called attention to important issues in scholarly publishing: cost and access.

The Cost of Knowledge petition, sparked by a frustrated mathematician’s blog post, was launched earlier this year to call attention to what researchers believe are unfair and opaque journal pricing practices, as well as support for American anti-Open Access (OA) legislation by the Dutch publisher, Elsevier. The petition, which now has nearly 12,000 signatories, allows supporters to indicate their discipline, institutional affiliation, and whether they plan to boycott Elsevier by refusing to publish in, referee for, or do editorial work for their journals.

While many laud the petition as an example of effective grassroots organizing that led Elsevier to withdraw support for the Research Works Act (a response much appreciated by librarians), critics of the boycott have pointed out that singling out Elsevier is unfair, given similar legislative support shown by other publishers. Some even go so far as to say that Elsevier’s “Big Deal” journal pricing practices are beneficial to libraries, small journals, and societies alike.

Riding the wave of awareness created by the Cost of Knowledge petition, a campaign called “#OAMonday” began on Twitter on May 21. #OAMonday (led by SPARC, Access2Research, and a variety of prominent figures in the OA movement) has drummed up an impressive amount of support in a short amount of time for a White House petition that asks President Obama to implement an access policy, similar to the Public Access Policy of the National Institutes of Health, for all federally funded research. (Pro-Open Access bills such as FRPAA have historically had a hard time making it through Congress; this petition seems to be a way around that. ) As of this posting, the petition is almost at the 22,000 mark.

Even if the petition does reach its goal by the June 19th deadline, it’s hard to say what the outcome will be. We already know that the Obama administration supports Open Access to federally funded research. The “We the People” petitions’ only promise is: “If a petition gets enough support, White House staff will review it, ensure it’s sent to the appropriate policy experts, and issue an official response.”

Whatever the result, one thing is for sure: this is an exciting time to be a researcher, librarian, or advocate interested in Open Access.

Further reading

Arnold, DN & Cohn, H. (2012). Mathematicians take a stand. Arxiv.org. Retrieved from http://arxiv.org/abs/1204.1351

Bambauer, D. (28 May 2012). Support Open Access to Government-Funded Science. Info/Law. Retrieved from http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/infolaw/2012/05/28/support-open-access-to-government-funded-science/

Jha, A. (9 April 2012). Academic spring: how an angry maths blog sparked a scientific revolution. The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/apr/09/frustrated-blogpost-boycott-scientific-journals

(#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.

(#18) Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

We began last month exploring why copyright plays in important role in scholarly communication by looking at one case – publishing.  Copyright also plays important roles in other ways that scholars do their work.  As Clifford Lynch has said, “The most fundamental part of research, teaching, and scholarly discourse is the ability to build upon both evidence and prior scholarship.” (Center for Intellectual Property Handbook, p. 154) This building upon requires both access to the material as well as the ability to use portions of it to build your own case, make an argument against it, or to perhaps to establish a common understanding within your field.  This ability to use other works is not just important; it is, to use Cliff’s word, fundamental.

Many of the questions that I receive are about the use of others’ copyrighted work.  Can I include this image in my paper?  Can I show this film clip in my class?  Many of these questions rely on those limitations I also touched upon last time.  To recap: Section 106 of the copyright law goes about defining the exclusive rights of authors and creators.  Sections 107 through 122 are about setting limits on those exclusive rights.  These are not exceptions to copyright law.  These are statute defined limitations on the exclusive rights of the author.  I believe this is a very important distinction as exceptions are generally thought of as a thing to be gotten rid of, but defined limitations has a very different connotation.

Scholars rely on many of these limitations in order to do their work.  The most frequently used sections of the copyright law in higher education are Sections 107 (the fair use section), Section 108 (specifically for libraries and archives), and Section 110 (deals with teaching).  These are not the only parts of the law that scholars rely on, but probably the most heavily used.  More on each of these in future posts.  For now, let’s just think about how important it is to have the ability to build upon the scholarship of others, teach about developments in a field, or to freely read about these areas of our choosing.

(#17) Google Scholar Metrics: A New Resource for Authors (and Librarians?)

Google Scholar quietly launched a new service, Google Scholar Metrics, earlier this month. Google Scholar Metrics allows users to browse a ranked list of publications in a variety of disciplines, sorted according to their h-indices.

Google Scholar envisions that authors will use the service to “consider where to publish their latest article,” and also discover resources outside of their primary field of study. (As interdisciplinary research continues to grow, the latter functionality will likely become increasingly valuable.) Resources are also categorized by language, and journals may also be searched for using non-English terms (e.g. “salud”)—albeit on a limited basis.

Since the service launched, I’ve been thinking a lot about what Google Scholar Metrics can do for librarians. The first—and most obvious—possibility is that subject librarians can use it in a way similar to authors, in order to become familiar with new resources outside of their primary area of focus. They also might use it to supplement their calculation of the potential value of new journals (and not to mention that of traditional resources), before making purchasing decisions.

Collection development and scholarly communication librarians might be able to use the service to garner support for creating or increasing the budget for their institution’s Open Access publishing fund or institutional repository. Open Access journals, such as those in the PLoS* family, are relatively well-represented in this list. And as you can see in the below screencap (Top English Language Publications), OA repositories (red arrows) rank higher than some traditional heavyweights (blue arrows) such as the Lancet, Cell, and PNAS.

What uses do you envision for Google Scholar Metrics in the realm of libraries?

Further reading:

Google starts ranking journals,” Significance Magazine

The next revolution in Science: Open Access will open new ways to measure scientific output,” Open Knowledge Foundation – @ccess

* Full disclosure: I was formerly employed by PLoS and continue to be a staunch supporter of this wonderful non-profit.

(#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.

(#15) Copyright as the Center of the (Scholarly Communication) Universe

Whenever people think about Scholarly Communication, the first thing that comes to mind is probably not copyright.  They might think about the rising cost of journal subscriptions or new publishing methods or even think of putting their work on the web or in an institutional repository.  And while these are all valid first thoughts, copyright is generally only thought of after the fact.  Copyright should be a lot higher on the list for consideration.  Why?  Because copyright is the center of the scholarly communication universe!  And I’m not just saying that as the intellectual property librarian.  Ok, well maybe a little.  So, why is copyright so important in the scholarly communication universe?

Under US Copyright Law (US Code, Title 17), Section 106 grants authors certain exclusive rights as soon as they put their work into a fixed, tangible medium.  Sections 107 through 122 go about setting limitations on those exclusive rights, but for now, let’s just focus on the exclusive rights.  These rights include the ability to reproduce the copyrighted work, prepare derivative works, distribute the work, and display or perform the work publicly.  An author may share their work publicly on a web page or at a meeting or in any venue on their own as a means of spreading their work.  However, many authors want to publish their research or creative activity in a book or a journal in order to share their work.

For a publisher to make this work available, they must get permission from the author in order to reproduce (make copies) and distribute (in print or electronically) the author’s work as these are, up to this point, the exclusive rights belonging to the author.  This is where publishing agreements and copyright transfer agreements come in.  Some publishers have a policy in place that says that by sending them the article you are agreeing to have it published by them.  Thus, you are giving them permission.  Some publishers require not only permission, but an exclusive transfer of the copyright to them.  The transfer is exclusive in that the right was transferred and not retained by the author.  Exclusive transfers of copyright must be in writing, so this is why it is important to read the copyright transfer agreement carefully before you sign it.  Once an author exclusively transfers these rights, the author no longer has them.  This has many implications for the author and should be carefully considered.  For example, the author would generally no longer be able to reproduce or distribute their own paper without permission from the copyright owner (who is now the publisher) or by relying on another statute such as fair use.

There are arguments why an exclusive transfer is a good thing, and also arguments as to why they are a bad thing.  I’m not going there at the moment as this is a blog post and not a dissertation (although this is getting rather long).  Let’s suffice to say that ALL publishing requires at a minimum the permission of the original author.  This fact alone is why copyright plays such a central role in the way that scholars share their work from the publishing end of things.  Copyright plays important roles in other ways that scholars do their work, not just in publishing.  Think teaching, research, and other means of scholarly discourse.  I’ll be exploring these roles in a series of blog posts the first Monday of the month because copyright is just that important!  I hope you’ll join in the discussion.