Metalogger

October 28, 2011

Open Access Benefits

Filed under: Uncategorized — Neil Godfrey @ 5:52 pm

Professor Mike Lawes at CDU presented a comprehensive talk on the benefits of open access for academics and researchers — in particular the need for archiving their work in their institutional repositories. As part of his presentation he made use of two slides from Stevan Harnad’s powerpoint on the Southampton University site: http://users.ecs.soton.ac.uk/harnad/Temp/openaccess.htm


Green OA means Green Open Access which means authors self archive into their institutional repository the articles they publish in any journals. (It is distinct from “Gold OA” which refers to authors publishing in any of the 3000 OA journals.)

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research and International, Professor Sharon Bell in her opening presentation also made a point of singling out the future of datasets belonging in the institutional repository for long-term safekeeping, too.

And both kept using that magic word “mandate”. Everyone in Australia knows of QUT’s success with this word. Much of course depends on the politics of each place — and the tactics of how it is presented perhaps, too.

Professor Peter Morris of the Menzies School of Health Research gave an interesting take on the ethical responsibilities of open access within the context of concrete benefits to the wider community. Pity time had run out and not everyone was able to stay for his presentation. Hopefully it will be available “open access” soon.

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October 18, 2011

Wanted: Library Technology Support Officer

Filed under: Uncategorized — Neil Godfrey @ 11:10 am

Exciting career opportunity at Charles Darwin University – HEW 6/7 Library Technology Support Officer

Hi Everyone,
We have an exciting job opportunity available now – Library Technology Support Officer HEW 6/7. Lots of cool technology to keep you interested and great staff and client community at CDU to work with and support.

Location: Casuarina Campus
Base salary of $60,740 – $72,232 per annum plus superannuation employer contribution of 17%. District Allowance may apply. Conditions include 6 weeks annual leave.
Continuing full-time appointment
Closes 25th October

Full details here:
http://jobview.careerone.com.au/Library-Technology-Support-Officer-Job-Darwin-NT-AU-103206025.aspx

Apply here http://tinyurl.com/3hfrrge

Main CDU vacancies page here http://www.cdu.edu.au/vacancies

Potential Postdoctoral and PhD research opportunities

Filed under: Uncategorized — Neil Godfrey @ 9:08 am

 

http://riel.cdu.edu.au/prospective/current-research-opportunities

http://riel.cdu.edu.au/

 

October 14, 2011

Scientist meets Publisher

Filed under: Uncategorized — Neil Godfrey @ 1:38 pm

October 13, 2011

Repository building (and research data management) : day 2

Filed under: Uncategorized — Neil Godfrey @ 3:43 pm

Things are going from good to better all the time. The people I am working with are on the whole such great team-players. Everyone who is involved in changing the university’s guidelines to facilitate the open access of digitized theses has been keen to get that little obstacle out of the way.

Next step is to contact those past students whose theses we have here in hard copy (some have also been scanned, but that’s another “issue”) to ask them if there are third party copyright or sensitive cultural or other issues that would normally mean placing access restrictions on them. The letter that used to be used for this was 3 pages long and the first page was FULL of thick paragraphs. I have reduced that to a single page table with a few check-boxes and a place for a signature. I have produced a similar one page check-box letter for current students who will be submitting electronic copies to begin with.

I’ve had the one page request forms vetted and approved by the copyright-legal advisor and they are all good. Simple, one page, few words, tick the boxes, cover everything, ready to go.

So we have had the institutional guidelines being changed and a new more “user-friendly” notice to cover our legal backsides.

Next step is to find who has the more likely addresses and send out the notices and ensure the team keeps a record for audit purposes of each of our steps to be able to answer any queries about what steps we took to contact the authors, and how long we waited for a response before the next step, etc etc.

So far all is looking good.

And it gets better.

I’ve been offered extra staff help to start next week. And the leader of the liaison librarian team has kindly expressed willingness to help out with changing a few bad habits among the academics and teachers who have been asking that we place in our repository those journal articles that are already freely available to students in our databases. Now that’s a waste of time and a costly one, too. So thrilled that the liaison librarian team are willing to help out with this one.

And now we have a new request to upload e-readings from about 80 more units. Wow. But no worries. We have extra staff help and once we weed out all of those bad habit requests of repeating and copying what’s already available in databases we will save lots of time. And I am arranging to have the new people who will be assisting with supplying the materials for course readings specially trained to ensure we have a streamlined workflow.

Meanwhile I’ve prepared a detailed questionnaire for heads of research centres etc to begin to see how well the university is complying with guidelines set by the Australian Research Council for the management of research data. Next step is to assess the best way to approach all concerned.

And I’ve just had an email from an academic interested in promoting national standards for thesis submissions in institutional databases. So looking forward to seeing what I can contribute there.

Once this horrid e-reserve or course reading business is taken care of I will be free to get into work on those cultural heritage collections to do something about rescuing those from oblivion.

Things are going well so far. All too easy, but that’s largely because of so many great team-workers. Making the most of it while it lasts.

Repository building (and the rest): day 2

Filed under: Uncategorized — Neil Godfrey @ 3:35 pm

Things are going from good to better all the time. The people I am working with are on the whole such great team-players. Everyone who is involved in changing the university’s guidelines to facilitate the open access of digitized theses has been keen to get that little obstacle out of the way.

Next step is to contact those past students whose theses we have here in hard copy (some have also been scanned, but that’s another “issue”) to ask them if there are third party copyright or sensitive cultural or other issues that would normally mean placing access restrictions on them. The letter that used to be used for this was 3 pages long and the first page was FULL of thick paragraphs. I have reduced that to a single page table with a few check-boxes and a place for a signature. I have produced a similar one page check-box letter for current students who will be submitting electronic copies to begin with.

I’ve had the one page request forms vetted and approved by the copyright-legal advisor and they are all good. Simple, one page, few words, tick the boxes, cover everything, ready to go.

So we have had the institutional guidelines being changed and a new more “user-friendly” notice to cover our legal backsides.

Next step is to find who has the more likely addresses and send out the notices and ensure the team keeps a record for audit purposes of each of our steps to be able to answer any queries about what steps we took to contact the authors, and how long we waited for a response before the next step, etc etc.

So far all is looking good.

And it gets better.

I’ve been offered extra staff help to start next week. And the leader of the liaison librarian team has kindly expressed willingness to help out with changing a few bad habits among the academics and teachers who have been asking that we place in our repository those journal articles that are already freely available to students in our databases. Now that’s a waste of time and a costly one, too. So thrilled that the liaison librarian team are willing to help out with this one.

And now we have a new request to upload e-readings from about 80 more units. Wow. But no worries. We have extra staff help and once we weed out all of those bad habit requests of repeating and copying what’s already available in databases we will save lots of time. And I am arranging to have the new people who will be assisting with supplying the materials for course readings specially trained to ensure we have a streamlined workflow.

Meanwhile I’ve prepared a detailed questionnaire for heads of research centres etc to begin to see how well the university is complying with guidelines set by the Australian Research Council for the management of research data. Next step is to assess the best way to approach all concerned.

And I’ve just had an email from an academic interested in promoting national standards for thesis submissions in institutional databases. So looking forward to seeing what I can contribute there.

Once this horrid e-reserve or course reading business is taken care of I will be free to get into work on those cultural heritage collections to do something about rescuing those from oblivion.

Things are going well so far. All too easy, but that’s largely because of so many great team-workers. Making the most of it while it lasts.

October 10, 2011

Arguing for (almost) routine open access deposit for higher degree theses

Filed under: Uncategorized — Neil Godfrey @ 6:11 pm

Most Australian universities have embraced the practice of (almost) routinely making their higher degree or research theses open access through deposit in their institutional repositories. A CAIRSS (Caul Australian Institutional Repository Support Service) survey last year indicated nearly 80% of responding institutions have mandates or practices for making these theses open access digitally.

For what it’s worth here is an edited/greatly truncated version of a request I submitted to have an institution’s guidelines modified/clarified to less ambiguously allow for a more routine deposit of theses into an open access repository.

Suggest the following process:

  1. Ask authors of higher degree theses to sign for a statement that there are no 3rd party copyright, cultural etc (or other) reasons prohibiting publication of thesis in eSpace
  2. As these signed agreements are received the library publishes as appropriate the higher degree thesis in eSpace
  3. If reasonable efforts to locate an author fail, the library publishes the thesis “in good faith” – with such a disclaimer in/attached to the thesis itself – and an assurance it will be removed if reason is subsequently found to remove it from eSpace

Reasons:

Benefits from updating its open access guidelines when it comes to higher degree theses being made publicly available through its open access repository:

In accordance with a general Australian and global push for open access initiatives (http://www.library.uq.edu.au/bio/openaccess/initiatives.html; http://www.library.uq.edu.au/research/open_access.html) most university repositories (a complete list is found here: http://cairss.caul.edu.au/cairss/repository-manager-tools/repository-software/) showcase their higher degree theses in open access repositories. This is in many cases simply an extension of the past Australian Digital Thesis Program that was superseded by CAUL (http://www.caul.edu.au/caul-programs/australasian-digital-theses) by means of NLA’s TROVE.

 

A rough and ready look for who else among Australian universities appear to have their theses open access in repositories yielded the following results:

Australian Catholic University ACU Research Bank
Australian National University Demetirus
Bond University e-publications@bond 
Charles Sturt University CSU Research Output 
Curtin University of Technology espace@Curtin 
Deakin University Deakin Research Online
James Cook University ResearchOnline@JCU
LaTrobe University LaTrobe University Institutional Research Repository
Macquarie University Macquarie University ResearchOnline
Monash University ARROW Repository
Murdoch University Murdoch Research Repository
Queensland University of Technology QUT ePrints
RMIT University Research Repository 
Southern Cross University ePublications@SCU
Swinburne University of Technology Swinburne Research Bank
University of Adelaide Adelaide Research & Scholarship
University of Melbourne University of Melbourne ePrints Repository (UMER)
University of New England e-publications @ UNE
University of New South Wales UNSWorks
University of Queensland UQ eSpace
University of South Australia UniSA Research Archive
University of Southern Queensland University of Southern Queensland USQ ePrints
University of Sydney Sydney eScholarship Repository
University of Tasmania UTAS ePrints 
University of Technology Sydney UTSiResearch
University of Western Australia UWA Research Repository
University of Western Sydney UWS Research Repository
University of Wollongong Research Online 
Victoria University Victoria University Institutional Repository (VUIR)

I still don’t know the technicalities of copyright law on this one, however. “Everyone” is doing it and it’s a good thing, so . . . .

7th ALIA Top End Symposium 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Neil Godfrey @ 11:46 am

I had been looking forward to this symposium as a chance to make a few contacts and see who’s who and what’s what in the digital library world in the Darwin and NT region generally. I have only been here 3 months so this was a good time to meet others. And I found exactly what I was looking for.

On Friday a presenter from the Northern Territory Library gave a presentation that covered things like open source digital repository software and questions of standards of digital capture, long-term requirements of metadata, and ways to make collections accessible to remote communities. The most important part was meeting him afterwards and being invited to meet with NTL staff involved in digitization and questions of standards for cultural materials. Good to have others close to meet with and who share a common interest in preservation and sharing of cultural materials. Then on Saturday met another presenter who is responsible for the DSpace repository at the NTL. His special interest is in war memorabilia, a major cultural niche in Darwin — especially with the 70th anniversary of its being bombed coming up in February next year. He was discussing the question of why create databases and answering along lines of preservation of unique collections. Looked forward to meeting him, too, and I did briefly but had to leave too soon when I a bit of temporary bad health hit. Anyway, I have some idea now of what is happening in the Darwin area and where to focus some of my attention when looking at standards and strategies applicable to preservation and access to northern Australia’s research and cultural resources.

But no-one has heard of Topic Maps. Will have to find out why and see what can be done in that area. Admittedly they will be work but the potential results — especially for the rich cultural and research collections here.

The symposium also reminded me of how “niched” digital collections have become, too. Much of the discussion related to library services not directly related to digital repository collections. There was once a time I would have been committed to such discussions, but meetings like this bring home to me how the strategies, the planning, the guidelines and standards and circles of professional contacts are often in a different space of their own.

Maybe this is just a reminder to me to be sure as soon as we get the repository here into routine workflow status with regular research publications and cultural content, that the next major step is to focus on integrating search and access requirements of digital and non-digital collections.

Maybe next symposium we can add a contribution from what has been achieved with CDU’s digital resources within the context of the wider community, too.

 

 

October 7, 2011

Repository Building Diary. Day 1

Filed under: Repositories — Neil Godfrey @ 10:17 am

Let’s say the “day” here represents a stage of maybe a few weeks. The university where I have been asked to take responsibility for the digital collections for both research reporting purposes and showcasing the university’s intellectual output, for the digitization of both rare cultural resources as well as of short term learning materials, along with coordination of research data management generally, has just had some very nice news that gives my job a little extra shine. It has been ranked very respectably within the top 400 universities (top 4% of world universities) in the Times Higher Education Rankings for 2011-12. Not that it really matters that much, of course. I recall once working in a university that one year scored at or near the bottom of a national “recommended universities guide” and we were all soberly informed that the rankings were rubbish and meant absolutely nothing. Two years later I think it was and the same university scored top of the same list. Suddenly we had free champagne and a 15 piece band playing and self-congratulatory speeches all round. 😉

Still, there is an incredible amount of cultural research and history waiting to be digitally preserved here and made open to the world. If we had not scored in the top 400 it would have done nothing to dampen my enthusiasm to showcase a lot of the important research and heritage being produced and stored in Australia’s “top end”.

Someone asked me which of my jobs over the last few years I have liked the best and I had to say that I have loved them all (well, mostly) despite the inevitable difficulties each one brings with it. Each one has its own challenges and that’s good for me. Keeps me learning. Every game is different.

This one has started out well because the Fez-Fedora repository is in very early days of development and the early version of the Greenstone repository for e-learning course materials is no longer worth maintaining, and there is very, very little content currently open-access at all, so we have a chance to start from the ground floor. It is a great opportunity to shape things from early days before systems get too big to manoeuvre easily.

Most university repositories start out their repositories with something easy and that shows quick results while workflows are being fine-tuned, and that something is generally deposits of digitized theses, usually higher degree theses.

But you need a few things up front to be able to do this. You need staff or volunteers to be able to enter or edit the content and records. You need a means of ensuring that the theses are digitized in an appropriate format. You need a repository system that can be easily managed and configured to meet your needs — needs concerning permissions, access, embargo periods, OAI harvesting, etc. And you need to be allowed to enter theses into your repository in the first place!

It’s not much good starting out by entering theses contrary to the written rules, policies and guidelines of the university itself. That’s an invitation to walk into legal disaster. The institutional research and examinations guidelines required that the library negotiate with each student who had authored a higher degree thesis for permission to deposit and make open access their thesis in its repository. This was contrary to my experience in other academic institutions. I have known of cases where students have attempted to have their research theses withheld from public access for up to five years and more but where the (deputy) vice chancellor of research has stepped in and told them a flat No. It is research to which the public has a right to have access. It goes online.

The guidelines we were faced with meant us having to seek permission from every author with a very lengthy and complex form detailing all the rights and wrongs and legalities of what their and our rights would be. And nothing could be deposited until we received a reply from authors going back who knows how many years. It meant we have virtually nix responses and no backlog of theses all about to go online at all.

Of course there are the normal exceptions — third party copyright issues, commercial publication embargoes, cultural and other personal sensitivities, etc — that are good grounds for limiting access to certain theses. That’s not the problem. We ask the authors to assure us that there are no such issues. Those are fair and reasonable reasons to withhold these from open access. We make reasonable efforts to contact authors and other related parties and are always clear that we make theses public in good faith and will remove any if we subsequently learn it should not be online.

Well my first task, one of them, was to go through the appropriate channels to seek changes to the guidelines to the university’s research and examinations practices. I emailed details of all the arguments for the change, and included a file of all the Australian universities that currently have some mandate or practice of virtual routine Open Access deposit of higher degree theses in their institutional repositories — about 80% of them — including a CAIRSS survey result to support the same. And bingo! The library director called me in after meeting the responsible committee and informed me they had all agreed to the change in the guidelines!

It’s nice to start out with a little but very important first step. Now the guidelines are changed we can draft a very brief note for authors and the default will be for us to deposit and make the theses publicly accessible — contingent upon the normal qualifications as mentioned, of course.

Now we can start to build up a huge backlog of theses to be entered so we can then as a next step justify a request for a staff increase to get them in the system! 😉