Metalogger

February 2, 2012

The Battle Has Begun

Filed under: Uncategorized — Neil Godfrey @ 4:02 pm
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English: Open Access logo and text

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The Chronicle of Higher Education has a wonderfully encouraging article about academics taking on the tyranny of the academic publishing industry. The bottom line of the issue is the argument that publicly funded research should by rights be made publicly available.

It’s by Josh Fischman, A few excerpts:

A protest against Elsevier, the world’s largest scientific journal publisher, is rapidly gaining momentum since it began as an irate blog post at the end of January. By Tuesday evening, about 2,400 scholars had put their names to an online pledge not to publish or do any editorial work for the company’s journals, including refereeing papers.

. . . . .

Protesters . . . say Elsevier is emblematic of an abusive publishing industry. “The government pays me and other scientists to produce work, and we give it away to private entities,” says Brett S. Abrahams, an assistant professor of genetics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “Then they charge us to read it.” Mr. Abrahams signed the pledge on Tuesday after reading about it on Facebook.

Those views highlight a split that could spell serious trouble for journal publishers, and for researchers. Price complaints are not new, but some observers say this is the first time that the suppliers of journal content—the scientists—are upset enough to cut the supply line. But, if publishers are correct, those scientists could cut themselves off from valuable research tools.

According to the boycotters, Elsevier, which publishes over 2,000 journals including the prestigious Cell and The Lancet, is abusing academic researchers in three areas. First there are the prices. Then the company bundles subscriptions to lesser journals together with valuable ones, forcing libraries to spend money to buy things they don’t want in order to get a few things they do want. And, most recently, Elsevier has supported a proposed federal law, the Research Works Act (HR 3699), that could prevent agencies like the National Institutes of Health from making all articles written by grant recipients freely available.

. . . .

[T]he protest has also reached junior scholars like Mr. Abrahams of Albert Einstein, who has yet to gain tenure.

“I have three papers I’m hoping to submit in the next 12 weeks. One was destined for Cell, and another for Neuron,” also published by Elsevier, he said. “It would have been a real feather in my cap to publish there. But I won’t, based on this week’s discussions.” His work, focused on identifying genes related to autism, will go other places. “There are other good journals. And, long term, I’d like my library to be able to use its limited resources to better ends” than high journal prices, he said.

That could signal real problems for Elsevier, says Kevin Smith, director of scholarly communications at Duke University Libraries. “Librarians have long complained about prices and bundling journals together, and nothing has changed,” he says. “Now it’s not just the customers who are complaining. It’s the suppliers.”

Academic librarians may buy journals, but it’s the scientists who produce and submit articles that make them worth buying, he says. “If they are upset, there is a chance they may change the system.”

. . . .

Nor does the Elsevier infrastructure impress younger scholars like Mr. Abrahams. “It could disappear tomorrow, and I’d never notice that it’s gone,” he said.

There is also the related question of long-term preservation. Libraries have traditionally been the repositories for this purpose but online journal publishers have robbed libraries of that ability and have forced the academic world to trust private companies whose bottom line is the profit margin with the preservation of our research heritage.

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November 15, 2011

Measuring Your Research Impact

Filed under: Uncategorized — Neil Godfrey @ 1:08 pm

MyRI: An Open Access toolkit to support bibliometrics training and awareness

MyRI is a self-paced tutorial on tools that help you measure your research impact. There are 3 modules:

  • introductory overview
  • journal ranking
  • bibliometrics to support your career and research strategy.

You can view the modules online or download them. The material is licensed open access. There are also tailored materials for computer science and geography.

The UQ Library also has information and fact sheets to help you understand metrics and rankings and their use in grant and promotion applications.

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.

.

.

 

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.

 

 

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