The research life cycle and the health sciences librarian: responding to change in scholarly communication

Authors: Andrea M. Ketchum

Abstract: The Internet and digital technologies have profoundly affected scholarly communication, publishing, collaborative research, literature searches, and management of digital assets and data. In turn, our views of the research life cycle have changed. What does this mean for librarians in the health sciences who support or even actively participate in clinical research?

Citation: Ketchum AM. The research life cycle and the health sciences librarian: responding to change in scholarly communication. Journal of the Medical Library Association : JMLA. 2017;105(1):80-83. doi:10.5195/jmla.2017.110.

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Source: Journal of the Medical Library Association

Redistributing Data Worlds: Open Data, Data Infrastructures and Democracy

Author: Jonathan Gray

Abstract: Open data, defined as a set of ideas and conventions that transform information into a reusable public resource, is promoted for various purposes: to improve the transparency of public institutions, to create projects that strengthen democracy, to stimulate economic growth. The social and technical infrastructures that support open data recompose the “worlds of data”: new social collectives are formed, new practices creating meaning appear. Transnational political initiatives are emerging. Far from being a simple “release” of data, it does not go without translation, mediation, and new social practices. But can this movement serve as a basis for a richer democratic deliberation, or is it destined to socially institutionalize various forms of bureaucratization and commodification?

Citation: Gray, Jonathan, Redistributing Data Worlds: Open Data, Data Infrastructures and Democracy (Quand les mondes de données sont redistribués: Open Data, infrastructures de données et démocratie) (August 1, 2017). Gray, J. (2017). Quand les mondes de données sont redistribués: Open Data, infrastructures de données et démocratie. Statistique et Société, 5(3), 29–34.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3111720

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Source: SSRN

Understanding the needs of scholars in a contemporary publishing environment: Survey results

Authors: PWW Research Team

Abstract: Publishing Without Walls (PWW) is a Mellon-funded initiative at the University of Illinois led by the University Library in partnership with the School of Information Sciences, the department of African American Studies, and the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities. Our project is developing a scalable, sustainable model for library-based digital scholarly publishing. The model aims to lower publishing barriers – both for scholars new to digital publishing and for institutions with limited resources – while opening publications to the widest possible readership. With a goal of broad adoption in academic libraries, our model locates the humanities scholar at the center of the scholarly communication ecosystem and affords services that are informed by and responsive to scholarly needs. The research guiding development of this model aims to identify and explore perceived gaps in the current publishing system, including the gap between what and how scholars want to publish and what existing systems accommodate; the gap between the everyday practices of humanities scholars and tools for producing and supporting digital scholarship; and the gap between digital scholarship and publishing opportunities at resource-rich institutions and resource-limited institutions, especially Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). This report gives the results of one piece of an ongoing, multimodal research effort. Through a large-scale survey and a series of interviews with humanities scholars, this effort aims to lay a solid foundation of understanding about scholarly needs in the contemporary publishing environment. This report explains the survey method, gives a summary of participants’ self-reported demographics, and details survey results, proceeding question by question. The goal of this report is not to provide interpretation of the meaning or significance of survey results, but to document the results themselves as a foundation for future interpretation, and for informing ongoing research and development of the publishing service model.

Citation: PWW Research Team. (2017). Understanding the needs of scholars in a contemporary publishing environment: Survey report, Publishing Without Walls: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  http://hdl.handle.net/2142/98576

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Source: Understanding the needs of scholars in a contemporary publishing environment: Survey results

Analyzing Citation and Research Collaboration Characteristics of Faculty in Aerospace, Civil and Environmental, Electrical and Computer, and Mechanical Engineering

Author: Li Zhang

Abstract: This article investigates citation and research collaboration habits of faculty in four engineering departments. The analysis focuses on similarities and differences among the engineering disciplines. Main differences exist in the use of conference papers and technical reports. The age of cited materials varies by discipline and by format. Regarding faculty connection with other subjects, the study finds that aerospace and mechanical engineering faculty collaborate more often with researchers outside their fields, while civil and environmental faculty, as well as electrical and computer engineering faculty, are more likely to cooperate with peers in their fields. Lists of highly cited journals are generated. The paper also provides suggestions for collection management, research assistance, and outreach efforts.

Citation: Zhang, Li. (2018). Analyzing Citation and Research Collaboration Characteristics of Faculty in Aerospace, Civil and Environmental, Electrical and Computer, and Mechanical Engineering. College & Research Libraries News, 79(2), 158. doi: 10.5860/crl.79.2.158

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Source: College & Research Libraries News

Rethinking the Subscription Paradigm for Journals: Using Interlibrary Loan in Collection Development for Serials

Authors: Gail Perkins Barton, George E. Relyea, Steven A. Knowlton

Abstract: Many librarians evaluate local Interlibrary Loan (ILL) statistics as part of collection development decisions concerning new subscriptions. In this study, the authors examine whether the number of ILL article requests received in one academic year can predict the use of those same journal titles once they are added as library resources. There is little correlation between ILL requests for individual titles and their later use as subscribed titles. However, there is strong correlation between ILL requests within a subject category and later use of subscribed titles in that subject category. An additional study examining the sources from which patrons made ILL requests shows that database search results, not journal titles, dominate. These results call into question the need for libraries to subscribe to individual journal titles rather than providing access to a broad array of articles.

Citation: Barton, G., Relyea, G., & Knowlton, S. (2018). Rethinking the Subscription Paradigm for Journals: Using Interlibrary Loan in Collection Development for Serials. College & Research Libraries, 79(2), 279. doi: https://doi.org/10.5860/crl.79.2.279

Source: College & Research Libraries

Digital Publishing: A Home for Faculty in the Library — Exercises in Innovation from Harvard Law School

Authors: DeMarco, Claire Amy; Courtney, Kyle K.

Abstract: As libraries continue transforming through the digital age, we are faced with a familiar opportunity for renewal: the deepening of the faculty-library relationship — this time in a digital framework. Instead of simply complementing analog disciplines with digital counterparts, a broader medium of “digital scholarship” is rapidly expanding among and across all disciplines. Like any rapid expansion, there is no one clear path. Hundreds of platforms are vying for prominence in the digital scholarship space; commercial publishers are developing, enhancing, and re-branding online portals to meet this demand. Rather than coping with that uncertainty, however, or formatting their work to fit a standard, commercial digital mold, many faculty are turning to trusted sources: librarians. Faculty are seeking guidance, support, and resources to meet their digital scholarship needs, meaning libraries are presently in a position to become the place where — and the partner through which — faculty create, manage, and store digital scholarship placing libraries in the position of digital publisher.

In recent years, commercial publishers have positioned themselves to transition traditional print journals and monographs to e-publishing platforms aimed at merely replicating the print experience. Ongoing management of those platforms, along with development of licensing and payment structures, have likewise attempted to replicate the print experience. Debate has surrounded library ownership of electronic resources, and the divorce of licensed content from traditional modes of print ownership has been, and continues to be, an area bereft of clarity and mired in controversy.

This current opportunity is more than a mere transition, however, it is an expansion – a broadening of our understanding of scholarship, not to simply replace print with digital, but to encourage and understand the opportunities of the digital environment as a new medium for faculty. As we face this evolution from replicating print in a digital environment, to authoring and creating within a digital framework, libraries must be assertive in taking on the challenges of developing a home for this content and become comfortable with digital publishing as a core library function.

This article highlights specific examples of desire by faculty at Harvard Law School to push legal scholarship beyond the constraints of traditional commercial publishing. Harvard Law School Library, like any other academic library, is navigating the expansion of scholarly formats to the digital realm, as well as the demand by faculty to support new, and evolving, approaches to scholarship. Analysis of these examples will focus on the unique role that the library has in stimulating, supporting, and sustaining, faculty publishing efforts, in addition to the challenges presented by the new, and potentially uncomfortable, proposition of library as a digital publisher.

Citation: DeMarco, Claire & Kyle Courtney. 2017. Digital Publishing: A Home for Faculty in the Library — Exercises in Innovation from Harvard Law School. Working Paper. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:34864118

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Source: Dash at Harvard

Leveraging Licensing to Increase Access

Authors: Michelle Polchow

Abstract: The Affordable Course Materials Initiative (ACMI) is a library-driven program established by University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), designed to leverage existing library resources, encourage open educational resources (OER) content creation, identify cost-effective digital projects and modify existing license agreements in order to create reduced cost course materials for students, as an alternative to rising commercial textbook costs.  The faculty incentivized program encourages instructors to partner with the library to leverage free or low-cost resources, adjusting syllabi and assignments as needed.  ACMI’s two-year pilot resulted in convincing evidence that the service supported a broad and diverse range of campus disciplines, achieved substantial cost savings, served as a catalyst for community building with multiple stakeholders, and gained campus administration recognition with an ongoing commitment of financial support to permanently integrate the initiative as an ongoing component of library services.

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Citation: Polchow, Michelle. (2018). Breakout Session: Leveraging Licensing to Increase Access. Presented by Jennifer Chan, Scholarly Communication Librarian, University of California Los Angeles. Journal of Copyright in Education and Librarianship, 2(1), 1–3.

Source: Journal of Copyright in Education and Librarianship

The World’s Approach toward Publishing in Springer and Elsevier’s APC-Funded Open Access Journals

Authors: Hajar Sotudeh, Zahra Ghasempour

Abstract: The present study explored tendencies of the world’s countries—at individual and scientific development levels—toward publishing in APC-funded open access journals. Given the reliance of the APC model on authors’ affluence and motivation, its affordability and sustainability have been challenged. This communication helps understand how countries at different scientific development and thus wealth levels contribute to the model. This is the first study conducted at macro level clarifying countries’ contribution to the APC model—at individual and scientific-development levels—as the ultimate result of the interaction between authors’ willingness, the model affordability, and publishers and funding agencies’ support.

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Citation: Sotudeh, H., & Ghasempour, Z. (2018). The World’s Approach toward Publishing in Springer and Elsevier’s APC-Funded Open Access Journals. College & Research Libraries, 79(2), 257. doi:https://doi.org/10.5860/crl.79.2.257

Source: College & Research Libraries

Steal this serial! A complete guide to launching your own overlay journal

Today’s post is a departure from our usual format. Here, we’ve opened up The Idealis’s toolbox for others who want to publish their own LIS overlay journal.

If you’ve ever wanted a better way to find high-quality, Open Access LIS research, this post is for you.

The Idealis is an open access ‘overlay journal’ that gathers high-quality scholarly communication-related research into one place, making it easy for those interested in the topic to find articles, white papers, and other research that’s been recommended by experts.

Though The Idealis focuses upon sharing scholarly communication research, the model we use can be borrowed to create an overlay journal about any topic in LIS and beyond: outreach librarianship, museum and archives, #critlib, and more!

We want to see OA LIS research flourish, so we’re opening up our virtual toolbox to the community, so others can start their own overlay journals for the topics that interest them.

In this post, I’ll lay out all the components of starting up your own overlay journal: how The Idealis is organized, the PressForward-powered workflow we use to get content onto the site and out into the hands of readers, the documentation we use to recruit, train, and recognize editors, and more!

Everything mentioned in this post is licensed for you to reuse and adapt, under a CC-BY license.

How The Idealis is organized

Overview

The Idealis’s ultimate function is one of a filter: sifting through all the available OA research on scholarly communication and choosing only the very best to publish. It’s a volunteer-run effort that’s headed up by a small team of Founding Editors and powered fortnight-to-fortnight by the expertise of a rotating cast of General Editors, who select the content that gets published on The Idealis. A modest grant from PressForward pays for our server space.

The publishing workflow looks like this:

  1. General Editors find content to publish on The Idealis, which they format into a blogpost and add as a draft to The Idealis’s WordPress-powered backend using the PressForward plugin;
  2. A Founding Editor reviews the draft post for formatting and scope, then schedules it in to be published, one per day, Monday through Friday each week;
  3. Once published on The Idealis, the recommended article is also sent out automatically via RSS, a Mailchimp listserv, and Twitter

Founding Editors

In addition to checking and scheduling content to be published, the Founding Editors coordinate the operations of The Idealis. We recruit and train General Editors and decide upon the strategy for growth and expansion of The Idealis’s platform and vision. We communicate primarily via Slack.

General Editors

The General Editors for The Idealis were identified for recruitment in an initial brainstorming session, during which the Founding Editors came up with a list of librarians who met a number of criteria that we believed would make an Editor qualified to identify great content for The Idealis.

General Editors’ role is to work independently during a two-week ‘editorial term’, setting aside at least one hour per week to ‘nominate’ (in the parlance of PressForward) at least three items for inclusion in The Idealis. The bar for participation has been intentionally set very low: we began The Idealis with the understanding that many librarians are short on time due to many other service commitments.

The Founding Editors communicate with each General Editor via email. Currently, there is no forum for General Editors to communicate with each other, though this has been requested by General Editors and is up for consideration.

How to publish your overlay journal

Training General Editors

Potential General Editors are first emailed an invitation to join The Idealis.

The ‘ask’ for Idealis General Editors is a bit different than an editorial or reviewer role in a traditional LIS journal. As such, an initial training is needed to set expectations. This training session (slides available here) outlines the purpose of The Idealis and how to add content to the site. We use Skype and occasionally Talky.io to run these videoconferenced training sessions.

After their training, General Editors are then emailed a follow-up set of instructions that point them to written documentation outlining the editorial workflow, and invited to sign up for their first two-week editorial term. A few days prior to the start of their editorial term, General Editors receive a reminder email.

For the full General Editor Onboarding and Orientation Process, check out these instructions.

How to find content to highlight

We encourage General Editors to use the following tools to find OA content to add to The Idealis:

  • RSS feeds for relevant OA journals or repositories like ArXiv
  • Twitter
  • JournalTOCs alerting service
  • Plugins like Unpaywall and OA Button, which help the user find OA versions of journal articles

Readers may also submit content to The Idealis for consideration using a form on the journal’s website. Submitted content is forwarded on to the current Editorial Term’s General Editors, for them to vet for inclusion in The Idealis.

Getting content onto the web: our technology stack

The Idealis is run using a locally-hosted WordPress installation and the PressForward plugin, as well as a free Mailchimp account that sends automated emails.

General Editors are instructed to use the PressForward bookmarklet, in particular, to capture content and draft a post for The Idealis. Here’s our illustrated guide to using the bookmarklet to nominate content. General Editors are asked to format the contents of posts using a particular format that includes essential metadata like author names, abstract, title, and a direct link to view the shared content.

Once content has been nominated by General Editors, the Founding Editor who is monitoring The Idealis for the current two-week Editorial Term (aka the Managing Editor) reviews the content for formatting and scope and then uses the Editorial Calendar plugin to schedule in the posts to appear at 7 AM Mountain time each weekday.

The timing of the scheduled posts is important, as The Idealis’s Mailchimp automation is set up to send out an email based on The Idealis’s RSS feed one hour later, at 8 AM Mountain time each day. Published content is automatically tweeted to The Idealis’s Twitter feed (@theidealis_sc) using WordPress’s built-in “Publicize” feature.

Finally, we use a customized version of the Sela WordPress theme to organize the site and ensure that General Editor names appear on their nominated posts, so they can receive recognition for the content they add to the journal.

There are a number of other details that go into publishing The Idealis. Please download our “Idealis in a box” documentation and visit The Idealis’s website to learn more about the ins and outs of our publishing workflow.

Challenges

There have been a number of challenges in organizing The Idealis in the year since launch.

The first, and probably biggest, is the challenge of running an all-volunteer journal. Even the Founding Editors sometimes found it difficult to set aside time for editorial tasks, and several times the journal experienced gaps in publishing. General Editors occasionally reported difficulty in finding even two hours over two weeks to complete their editorial tasks.

Given the demands on all Editors’ time, the Founding Editors struggled with the question of compensation for themselves and for General Editors. In theory, everyone should be paid for the time they contribute towards the journal. This is an area where professional societies might be contribute the most to ensuring the growth of a robust OA publishing culture within LIS, by providing editorial honoraria or the like. However, the struggle to find a sustainable and ethical business model for an Open Access publication is not a new one; it’s possible that there might be other avenues towards monetization of an Idealis-like journal. If so, we’d encourage others to share their approach, so the community might learn from it.

Two smaller challenges could easily be addressed by other journals seeking to replicate The Idealis’s approach.

First, there were occasionally debates and disagreements among the Founding Editors when considering content that General Editors had nominated, as some felt the content did not meet the (admittedly broad) definition of ‘scholarly communication’. This could easily be avoided by other overlay LIS journals, simply by offering more precise definitions for their preferred subject area of coverage.

Second, some General Editors offered feedback that they felt isolated during their Editorial Terms, and would have preferred to have direct communication with other General Editors to discuss things like scope and appropriateness of potential nominations. This could be easily addressed by setting up a Slack channel or Google Group for General Editors to have these discussions.

Go forth and publish!

We hope that by sharing our approach to publishing an overlay journal that others within LIS will start to build their own Open Access journals around the many varied areas of practice in librarianship. It’s both easier and more difficult than you may think. And it’s also more rewarding than you can imagine!

Resources