A genealogy of open access: negotiations between openness and access to research

Author: Samuel Moore

Abstract: Open access (OA) is a contested term with a complicated history and a variety of understandings. This rich history is routinely ignored by institutional, funder and governmental policies that instead enclose the concept and promote narrow approaches to OA. This article presents a genealogy of the term open access, focusing on the separate histories that emphasise openness and reusability on the one hand, as borrowed from the open-source software and free culture movements, and accessibility on the other hand, as represented by proponents of institutional and subject repositories. This genealogy is further complicated by the publishing cultures that have evolved within individual communities of practice: publishing means different things to different communities and individual approaches to OA are representative of this fact. From analysing its historical underpinnings and subsequent development, I argue that OA is best conceived as a boundary object, a term coined by Star and Griesemer (1989) to describe concepts with a shared, flexible definition between communities of practice but a more community-specific definition within them. Boundary objects permit working relationships between communities while allowing local use and development of the concept. This means that OA is less suitable as a policy object, because boundary objects lose their use-value when ‘enclosed’ at a general level, but should instead be treated as a community-led, grassroots endeavour.

Citation: Moore, Samuel (2017). A genealogy of open access: negotiations between openness and access to research. Humanities Commons. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6NF75


Research data management and services: Resources for novice data librarians

Authors: Sarah Barbrow, Denise Brush, and Julie Goldman

Abstract:  Research in many academic fields today generates large amounts of data. These data not only must be processed and analyzed by the researchers, but also managed throughout the data life cycle. Recently, some academic libraries have begun to offer research data management (RDM) services to their communities. Often, this service starts with helping faculty write data management plans, now required by many federal granting agencies. Libraries with more developed services may work with researchers as they decide how to archive and share data once the grant work is complete.

Citation: Barbrow, S., Brush, D., & Goldman, J. (2017). Research data management and services: Resources for novice data librarians. College & Research Libraries News, 78(5), 274.


Collaboration in scholarly communication: Opportunities to normalize open access

Author: Allyson Rodriguez

Abstract:  As most librarians are well aware, open access and scholarly communication have been and will continue to be hot button issues. But what is a librarian’s role within the library? What about out in the greater world of scholarly communication? How do we ensure the changes we wish to see? To answer these, we must look at scholarly communication from a more holistic approach. It cannot simply be the job or responsibility of one group, or, even worse, one person on a campus. Scholarly communication is a multifaceted issue that should be addressed through education, outreach, recognition, and fiscal support. With so many lingering questions and doubts from faculty and students, librarians must continue to educate, collaborate, and highlight in ways we have not tried before. At the University of North Texas (UNT) Libraries, through collaboration and communication, we have made great progress toward reaching these goals.

Citation: Rodriguez, A. (2017). Collaboration in scholarly communication: Opportunities to normalize open access. College & Research Libraries News, 78(5), 270.


Reimagining the Digital Monograph: Design Thinking to Build New Tools for Researchers

Authors: Laura Brown, Alex Humphreys, Matthew Loy, Ron Snyder, Christina Spencer


Abstract: Scholarly books are increasingly being made available in digital form, joining in the print-to-digital transition that scholarly journals began well over a decade ago. Ten years of innovation have produced tremendous benefits for authors and readers of journal literature, and certainly some of this innovation is applicable to the digital migration of monographs. But the long-form scholarly argument presents some very different challenges, and its online migration is still in many ways in its infancy. The platforms that make monographs available to users often offer little in the way of specialized functionality for the different ways that scholars and students use these books. The JSTOR Labs group, an experimental product development team at JSTOR, undertook a user research and design process in order to better understand the wide variety of needs, behaviors, frustrations, and ambitions users bring to the task of reading scholarly books online, and to explore possible new paths to unlocking the value of the long-form argument in a digital environment. This paper is intended to do three things. First, we discuss the kinds of uses that readers have for scholarly books, and the opportunities for improving the usefulness of books for those purposes in a digital environment. These emerged from ethnographic research we carried out with a variety of readers of digital monographs and with a small working group of scholars, publishers, librarians, engineers, data scientists and user experience designers that we convened in partnership with the Columbia University Libraries in late 2016. Second, we discuss the design thinking process that we used to explore the landscape, how the group identified problems to solve, and how together we selected one opportunity ripe for new feature development that the JSTOR Labs team could prototype. Third, we describe the process we used to develop that prototype, and introduce the tool that we built, which we are calling “Topicgraph.”


Citation: Brown, L, Humphreys, A, Loy, M, Snyder, R, Spencer, C. (2017) Reimagining the Digital Monograph: Design Thinking to Build New Tools for Researchers, A JSTOR Labs Report – DRAFT FOR COMMENT http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M62G8M