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.

Highlights from Open Access Week 2012 at IUB

This year’s Open Access Week events at Indiana University-Bloomington were a resounding success. Due in large part to new cross-campus partnerships, the Scholarly Communication department was able to bring a series of six events to students and faculty from October 22-26.

 Image 1: Naz Pantaloni answers questions about copyright law and open access
Naz answers a question about how copyright law affects Open Access at Monday’s event

Librarians Jen Laherty and Nazareth Pantaloni kicked off the week on Monday with their talk “Making Your Work Open Access,” which focused on IU-specific resources for those new to OA publishing. Dr. Urs Schoepflin of Max Planck Gesellschaft fuer Wissenschaftsgeschichte (Berlin) gave a talk on Monday afternoon titled “Challenges for the Humanities: Scholarly Work and Publishing in the Digital Age.” The event, sponsored by Sawyer Seminar (Mellon Foundation), Catapult Center for Digital Humanities, and HPSC brought together faculty and librarians from across the campus for a great discussion on experiences in supporting Open Access digital humanities projects.

On Tuesday, Business/SPEA and Law School graduate students attended a lecture (co-sponsored by GPSO) led by Christina Sheley, Cindy Dabney, and Stacy Konkiel on how to use the popular subject repository, Social Science Research Network.

 Image 2: Will Cowan
Will Cowan (Digital Library Program) explains the Oufinopo Database of public domain film noir clips at Wednesday’s event

Science was also on the mind of those who attended Wednesday’s DLP brown bag, “Open Data Visualizations for the Sciences and Humanities,” featuring researchers from across the campus that use visualizations based on open data to power their work. The event, which was the first brown bag held at the new IQ Wall in the Wells Library East Tower, was the week’s best attended.

Thursday’s grad student-focused brown bag, “Real Experiences with Open Access,” featured Dean David W. Lewis (IUPUI), who described the OA publishing landscape via video conference to audiences at

 Image 3: Graduate students listen to Dean David W. Lewis's lecture on Open Access at Thursday's brown bag event
Graduate students listen to Dean David W. Lewis’s lecture on Open Access at Thursday’s brown bag event

IU Bloomington and IUPUI. The event, co-organized by IUB SLIS students Laura Manifold and Margaret Janz and librarian Kristi Palmer at IUPUI, and co-sponsored by the GPSO, was the most popular graduate student event of the week. Asked why she chose to participate in Open Access Week, Manifold explained, “I really believe Open Access is an integral part of the library’s future.  As an MLIS graduate student, it’s important to me to get my peers involved in what will be the norm for scholarship and research.” Janz agreed, adding: “Open Access is a great -and necessary- shift in scholarly communication, not just for graduate students, but for all scholars and researchers. It’s goes beyond issues of library budgets; open sharing of information is essential for advancing research on a global scale.”

Friday saw the final event for Open Access Week at IU Bloomington, “Complying with the NIH Public Access Mandate.” The workshop helped attendees understand the OA-friendly federal mandate, and showcased the tools used to make NIH-sponsored research freely available to the public.

The IU Libraries and the new Office of Scholarly Publishing rounded out the week by releasing a statement explaining their support for Open Access. The statement, available here on the Scholarly Communication Department’s blog, sums up the reasons why facilitating Open Access publishing is a priority for the Libraries.

The Scholarly Communication Department would like to thank the GPSO for their co-sponsorship of our events. We would also like to thank our workshop leaders, participants, and SLIS students Laura Manifold and Margaret Janz.

IU Libraries and Open Access

Image 1: Dr. Katy Börner presents a visualization based on open Wikipedia data
Dr. Katy Börner explains a visualization built on open Wikipedia data at the IU Libraries’ Open Data Visualizations for the Sciences and Humanities brown bag on October 24, 2012.

The week of October 22-28 was designated as the sixth annual Open Access Week, during which members of the academic and research community across the globe hosted events to recognize and promote the value of open access publication. For IU Libraries, Open Access Week was an opportunity to introduce researchers and students to our many open access tools and experts, answer questions about these services and technologies, and help scholars discover new ways to engage with and benefit from open access publishing.

Facilitating open access publication is a priority for Indiana University Libraries. The IU Libraries exist to support all aspects of scholarship at IU – from providing materials, tools, and services for research to promoting innovation in teaching and learning. Increasingly, we are also called upon to develop and implement diverse channels for scholarly communications. While traditional publication methods remain essential to many disciplines, these new, highly accessible models offer scholars unprecedented opportunities for sharing their findings and engaging in real-time global discussions that can dramatically enhance their work.

Open access literature, as defined by Peter Suber of the Harvard Open Access Project, is “digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.” This type of publication can broaden the availability of research findings, forging greater connections among scholars and learners and increasing the pace at which discoveries can build upon one another. These capabilities call to mind the principles outlined in the Intellectual Freedom Manual of the American Library Association:

“Intellectual freedom can exist only where two essential conditions are met: first, that all individuals have the right to hold any belief on any subject and to convey their ideas in any form they deem appropriate, and second, that society makes an equal commitment to the right of unrestricted access to information and ideas regardless of the communication medium used, the content of work, and the viewpoints of both the author and the receiver of information.”  (Intellectual Freedom Manual. Introduction. 8th edition, 2010, p. xvii.)

Our continual goals are to uphold these principles of intellectual freedom, respond to the information resource needs of the communities we serve, and preserve information for future generations. To meet these objectives, we have developed a suite of library-based open access publishing services for Indiana University. Gathered under the heading of IUScholarWorks, these services enable researchers to preserve and share their work in a persistent online repository, store and archive their data in searchable formats, and even publish and manage new online journals that remain freely available worldwide.

For an increasing number of IU scholars, these and other open access tools represent a new frontier for scholarly communication. By removing restrictions in research availability and hastening the publication process, open access models capitalize on new technologies to create a thriving global network of interconnected scholars who can quickly respond to advancements within and beyond their fields.

 Image 2: IU Office of Scholarly Publishing logo

 

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.

(#14) Lessons from the SPARC OA 2012 meeting, Kansas City

Recently, John Wilbanks, Fellow of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and recent Vice President of Science at Creative Commons, gave a rousing keynote address at the start of the SPARC Open Access Meeting in Kansas City (March 11-13). He made several standout points that all institutional repository managers should consider:

“We are all Veruca Salt.” We all want it NOW.

We seem to believe that scientists’ professional lives are different from their personal lives. In the age of the Kindle, it is any wonder that some scientists are frustrated with the status quo of publishing and libraries, when they can’t effortlessly sync their research across storage solutions, virtual lab benches, repositories, and journal websites as easily as they can sync their e-reader?

Wilbanks drove home the point that we need to build smarter systems immediately that are a) interoperable and b) make researchers’ work as easy as pressing a “Sync” button.

 “Data publication is not the magic answer.”

What good is data that has no context? Or raw data that has context, for that matter? Wilbanks pointed out that publishing all data, without discretion or curation, does not provide a magic answer to the problems we already have with the pace of scientific discovery (and the roadblocks that closed access publishing are thought to contribute to). We need to consider very carefully the points at which we publish data, what we choose to publish, and who edits the data that we do publish.

This has an important lesson for librarians and institutional repository managers, many of whom are currently struggling with how to create a well-formed collection development plan for their data, and how to provide services that researchers need related to data.

What is “true” Open Access?

Wilbanks and many other Open Access advocates point to the so-called “Berlin” definition of Open Access as the “true OA” standard. It is his belief that for-profit publishers have “diluted” the meaning of Open Access by applying restrictive Creative Commons licenses to papers published in their journals. Any license other than CC-BY hinders innovation, according to Wilbanks, by requiring that researchers who wish to repurpose licensed articles, data, etc, gain approval before doing so.

Wilbanks was quick to admit that “restrictive” CC licensing is often done in order to protect the commercial interests of publishers. His solution for this problem is based upon the long tail of use that research sees in its lifecycle: there’s generally a lot of interest in the first few months, but that quickly drops off. What if the license changed, based on where that research was in its life cycle (see slides 86-88)? While this is still just an idea, it is an intriguing one.

The adoption of a lifecycle approach to Open Access licensing by mainstream publishers could have a profound effect on self-archiving at IRs. No longer would we have to consult SHERPA/RoMEO to find the OA policy for an obscure journal; we could ingest items upon publication and know that after 6 months (or 1 year, etc), that embargoed item could go live. Imagine the resources and employee hours saved!

In addition to Wilbanks, there were many excellent speakers at SPARC OA 2012. For those who wish to learn more about the conference, check out these excellent Storify summaries. You can also view all presentation slide decks at SPARC’s website.

(#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.

(#1) What is Scholarly Communication?

Welcome to the IU Libraries Scholarly Communication blog!  This blog will be a way to keep abreast of scholarly communications news and developments of interest to the IU community.  So what exactly is scholarly communication?  The Association of College and Research Libraries defines it as:

the system through which research and other scholarly writings are created, evaluated for quality, disseminated to the scholarly community, and preserved for future use. The system includes both formal means of communication, such as publication in peer-reviewed journals, and informal channels, such as electronic listservs.”
(http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/acrl/publications/whitepapers/principlesstrategies.cfm )

As you can see from this definition, we’ll be covering a wide-range of topics covering all stages of the research and dissemination process.  Since copyright plays an important role in this area, we’ll be throwing quite a bit of that in as well.  If you’re looking for more information about a particular topic, just let us know and we’ll try to cover it.  Welcome to the blog!