Our New Scholarly Communication Librarian

headshot Sarah Crissinger The Scholarly Communication Department is delighted to announce the recent arrival of Sarah Crissinger, our new Scholarly Communication Librarian. Sarah will play a lead role in the implementation of IUB’s recently adopted Open Access Policy and oversee IU Libraries’ active journal publishing program. Look for future blog posts, programming, and outreach efforts by Sarah that highlight the Open Access Policy, student research, and the Office of Scholarly Publishing Journals, an open access publishing collaboration between IU Press and Scholarly Communication.

Sarah is a gifted teacher and communicator as well as a passionate advocate for Open Educational Resources (OER). Her research is focused on undergraduate scholarly communication outreach, critical open education practices, and LIS student development and agency. In her former position at Davidson College, she created open access programming and led two Open Educational Resource (OER) initiatives. She is currently co-authoring a chapter on inter-institutional collaborations to advance OER outreach for the forthcoming title, OER: A Field Guide for Academic Librarians. Sarah will also moderate a panel on OER for ACRL’s Science and Technology Section (STS) at ALA this June.

You can contact Sarah directly with questions, ideas, and/or suggestions by email, “scrissin at iu dot edu,” or through our contact form. More information about our team and the services provided by the Scholarly Communication department can be found at scholarworks.iu.edu and openscholarship.indiana.edu.

Open Access policy adopted by IU Bloomington faculty

The Bloomington Faculty Council unanimously approved an Open Access policy today that ensures that faculty scholarship will be accessible and available to the public for future generations. Open Access means that scholarly articles are regarded as the fruits of research that authors give to the world for the sake of inquiry and knowledge without expectation of payment. Adopting such a policy reduces barriers to research and learning by making research available on the public internet to be downloaded and shared freely, making it possible for scholarship to be more widely read and cited than literature that appears in closed-access, licensed journal databases. The policy can be found at IUB’s VPFAA site and an FAQ has been posted to our website.

The Scholarly Communication staff will be available to help authors deposit their work — usually the final version of an article that has gone through peer review — in IUScholarWorks or another repository for archival purposes. Indeed, as Nazareth Pantaloni, Copyright Librarian for the IU LIbraries, observed: “The Indiana University Libraries are delighted that the Bloomington Faculty Council has joined the over 300 U.S. colleges and universities who have decided to make their faculty’s scholarship more freely available under an Open Access policy. We look forward to working with them to accomplish that goal.” Faculty members may also contact us to opt-out of the policy, a process that will be incorporated into a one-click form once the policy is fully implemented.

The policy adopted today is only the latest step in an ongoing process at IU Bloomington. The BFC adopted one of the first Open Access policies in the country in March of 2004. That policy was actually a resolution in which the BFC decried the rising costs of academic journals and databases — at the time, 70% of a $9.2 million annual budget — and called on the IU Libraries to adopt several strategies in response, including, among other things, “to promote open scholarly communication.” That resolution served as an impetus for the Libraries’ development of IUScholarWorks. Today, IU ScholarWorks hosts nearly 30 Open Access journals, primarily in the humanities and social sciences, and serves as the repository for nearly 8,000 items deposited by IU Bloomington faculty, students, and staff, including data sets, conference proceedings, out-of-print books recovered by faculty from their original publishers, doctoral dissertations from the Jacobs School of Music, Patten Lectures, and a wide array of journal articles, research reports, other scholarly literature, and even creative works of authorship. Current developments include improvements in the repository’s ability to host multimedia content and data.

Open Access policies are intended, in part, to provide an institutional mechanism for faculty authors to assert the retention of at least the minimum rights necessary in order not only to cooperate with their institutional OA policy, but also be able to reuse their work in other ways that could be beneficial to them, such as distributing their work via their own professional website, through social media, or simply to students in their classes.

Resources are available for faculty who are interested in learning more about the impact and implementation of the policy. Please direct questions to iusw@indiana.edu.

Image: CC-BY. Flickr user Open Access Button

Shareability vs. open access: A summary of the contention around Elsevier’s new sharing policy

Less than a month after the academic publisher Elsevier’s director of access and policy Dr. Alicia Wise posted the company’s new policies for sharing and hosting academic articles at every stage and on every platform, the Coalition of Open Access Repositories (COAR) countered with a statement backed by more than 2,000 organizations and individuals across the globe criticizing Elsevier for creating a policy that “represents a significant obstacle to the dissemination and use of research knowledge, and creates unnecessary barriers for Elsevier published authors in complying with funders’ open access policies,” which has sparked a very public back-and-forth with Dr. Alicia Wise.

COAR originally criticized Elsevier’s policy for masquerading as one to progress sharing capabilities, but instead working to accomplish the reverse. The policy forces embargoes of up to 48 months on some journals, requires authors to apply a “non-commercial and no derivative works” license for every article deposited into a repository, and applies to “all articles previously published and those published in the future.” The policy requires unacceptably long embargoes with 90% of the 286 journals having at least 12 month embargo period, reduces ‘re-use value’ of each article, and could put currently accessible articles under embargoes. The overall complaint was that the policy is a step in the exact opposite direction of the global movement towards open access, works to hinder any benefit of openly sharing research, and is posed as a solution for a policy that did not previously show any evidence of having a negative impact on publisher subscriptions.

Dr. Wise responded just a day later with a rebuttal that was aimed at clearing the air. The publishing company was “a little surprised that COAR has formed such a negative view and chosen not to feedback their concerns directly to us,” especially after Elsevier “received neutral-to-positive responses from research institutions and the wider research community” since the announcement of their new policy. Throughout the response article, Dr. Wise states that the embargo policies have been in place since or before 2004 when the last “refresh” came about and that the other changes have been made based on feedback by their authors and institutional partners. Many complaints in response to this rebuttal by commenters and COAR surround Elsevier’s lack of transparency about the feedback they received and the company’s use of share as a way to avoid the topic of true open access publishing.

COAR’s reply to Elsevier reiterates all of COAR’s original concerns, cites more evidence of the publishing company’s dance around being truly open access, and offers improvements that Elsevier can make to their policy:

  1. Elsevier should allow all authors to make their “author’s accepted manuscript” openly available immediately upon acceptance through an OA repository or other open access platform.
  2. Elsevier should allow authors to choose the type of open license (from CC-BY to other more restrictive licenses like the CC-BY-NC-ND) they want to attach to the content that they are depositing into an open access platform.
  3. Elsevier should not attempt to dictate author’s practices around individual sharing of articles. Individual sharing of journal articles is already a scholarly norm and is protected by fair use and other copyright exceptions. Elsevier cannot, and should not, dictate practices around individual sharing of articles.

The counter concludes with COAR offering to take Dr. Wise up on her ‘offer’ to meet with the company in order to help the publisher better understand what the research community desires, due to the many misperceptions that Elsevier believes are confusing the research community as to the real meaning of the new policy.

White House OTSP creates Open Access policy for federal agencies

OTSP Director John Holdren talks to President Obama in this undated White House photo.

One day after we posted big news about dual Open Access bills in the US and Illinois Senates, the Office of Technology and Science Policy issued a policy memorandum that will essentially enact an Open Access policy similar to the NIH Public Access policy for all federal agencies with more than $100 million in their R&D budget. This policy will not only affect publications, but also the data resulting from funded research.

Many in the Open Access advocacy community are celebrating the announcement as proof of the success of the #OAMonday/Access2Research movement and the resulting “We the People” petition, which solicited a positive (if long-overdue) response from Holdren.

Researcher Joe Hourcle, on the RDAP listserv, has distilled the policy into these essential points:

  • Must give a plan in 6 months on how they’re going to improve public access to publications & data
  • Can have an embargo after publication (baseline is 12 months)
  • No charges for access to the article metadata
  • Grants can include costs for data management & access

The Dryad repository blog explores in a bit more detail exactly what this might mean for data sharing and publication.

It remains to be seen how this surprising and groundbreaking new policy will take effect.

Two new Open Access bills generating buzz

A bill not unlike the NIH Public Access policy has been introduced in the United States Congress, laying a framework for increased access to science and technology research conducted with publicly-funded support.

From Library Journal:

The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) was introduced on February 14 in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. If passed, FASTR would require government agencies with annual extramural research expenditures of more than $100 million make electronic manuscripts of peer-reviewed journal articles based on their research freely available on the Internet within six months of publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Major library advocacy organizations such as the ALA, ACRL, and SPARC (among others) have come out in support of the FASTR Act.

Commercial publishers’ response to the bill has, predictably, been cold. The American Association of Publishers (AAP) is arguing that the policy would be wasteful of taxpayers money, and that it would not serve the need of all scientific disciplines.

A day later, a more general bill that would mandate the creation of Open Access policies at public universities in Illinois was introduced to the Illinois State Legislature. Possible positive outcomes of this bill include:

  • Free online access to all research published at public universities and colleges in Illinois
  • Increased support for Open Access institutional repositories, which will inevitably become the infrastructure that supports the sharing and preservation of research created in Illinois
  • More awareness of, and support for, digital preservation at the university level

Areas for concern include:

  • The granting of “worldwide copyright license granted by the author to the public.” This provision will likely have faculty up in arms, as the bill calls for what is essentially a CC-BY license to be applied to all work produced by faculty–allowing others to use and share their work in nearly any way they see fit, even for commercial gain.
  • Blanket applicability to all disciplines even though there is more resistance to OA from arts and humanities scholars, who do not benefit from the practice in the same way that science researchers do.

Hopefully, at the very least these bills will both engender some much-needed debate in Congress about the mission of universities as creators of knowledge for the public good rather than profit.

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.

Judge Dismisses Hathi Trust Law Suit

Earlier this month, a judge in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan threw out  a law suit brought against Hathi Trust, Indiana University, and four other R1 university libraries by the Authors Guild, Inc. and other author rights organizations and individuals. The lawsuit alleged that by digitizing millions of works that the universities owned–many of which are considered orphan works or are no longer under copyright–the rights of authors were violated.

The judge’s decision found that the digitization project falls squarely under the Fair Use provision of copyright law, and described the Hathi Trust project as an “invaluable contribution to the progress of science and cultivation of the arts” and a boon for the visually impaired and others who are considered print-disabled.

Read more about the ruling over at the Chronicle of Higher Education.

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