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

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

Prestigious Science Journals Struggle to Reach Even Average Reliability

Author: Björn Brembs

Abstract: In which journal a scientist publishes is considered one of the most crucial factors determining their career. The underlying common assumption is that only the best scientists manage to publish in a highly selective tier of the most prestigious journals. However, data from several lines of evidence suggest that the methodological quality of scientific experiments does not increase with increasing rank of the journal. On the contrary, an accumulating body of evidence suggests the inverse: methodological quality and, consequently, reliability of published research works in several fields may be decreasing with increasing journal rank. The data supporting these conclusions circumvent confounding factors such as increased readership and scrutiny for these journals, focusing instead on quantifiable indicators of methodological soundness in the published literature, relying on, in part, semi-automated data extraction from often thousands of publications at a time. With the accumulating evidence over the last decade grew the realization that the very existence of scholarly journals, due to their inherent hierarchy, constitutes one of the major threats to publicly funded science: hiring, promoting and funding scientists who publish unreliable science eventually erodes public trust in science.

Citation: Brembs B (2018) Prestigious Science Journals Struggle to Reach Even Average Reliability. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 12:37. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2018.00037

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Authorial and institutional stratification in open access publishing: the case of global health research

Authors: Kyle Siler, Stefanie Haustein, Elise Smith, Vincent Larivière, Juan Pablo Alperin

Abstract: Using a database of recent articles published in the field of Global Health research, we examine institutional sources of stratification in publishing access outcomes. Traditionally, the focus on inequality in scientific publishing has focused on prestige hierarchies in established print journals. This project examines stratification in contemporary publishing with a particular focus on subscription vs. various Open Access (OA) publishing options. Findings show that authors working at lower-ranked universities are more likely to publish in closed/paywalled outlets, and less likely to choose outlets that involve some sort of Article Processing Charge (APCs; gold or hybrid OA). We also analyze institutional differences and stratification in the APC costs paid in various journals. Authors affiliated with higher-ranked institutions, as well as hospitals and non-profit organizations pay relatively higher APCs for gold and hybrid OA publications. Results suggest that authors affiliated with high-ranked universities and well-funded institutions tend to have more resources to choose pay options with publishing. Our research suggests new professional hierarchies developing in contemporary publishing, where various OA publishing options are becoming increasingly prominent. Just as there is stratification in institutional representation between different types of publishing access, there is also inequality within access types.

Citation: Siler K, Haustein S, Smith E, Larivière V, Alperin JP. (2018) Authorial and institutional stratification in open access publishing: the case of global health research. PeerJ 6:e4269 https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.4269

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An Evidence-Based Review of Academic Web Search Engines, 2014-2016: Implications for Librarians’ Practice and Research Agenda

Author: Fagan, Jody Condit

Abstract: Academic web search engines have become central to scholarly research. While the fitness of Google Scholar for research purposes has been examined repeatedly, Microsoft Academic and Google Books have not received much attention. Recent studies have much to tell us about the coverage and utility of Google Scholar, its coverage of the sciences, and its utility for evaluating researcher impact. But other aspects have been woefully understudied, such as coverage of the arts and humanities, books, and non-Western, non-English publications. User research has also tapered off. A small number of articles hint at the opportunity for librarians to become expert advisors concerning opportunities of scholarly communication made possible or enhanced by these platforms. This article seeks to summarize research concerning Google Scholar, Google Books, and Microsoft Academic from the past three years with a mind to informing practice and setting a research agenda. Selected literature from earlier time periods is included to illuminate key findings and to help shape the proposed research agenda, especially in understudied areas.

Citation: Fagan, Jody Condit. “An Evidence-Based Review of Academic Web Search Engines, 2014-2016: Implications for Librarians’ Practice and Research Agenda.” Information Technology and Libraries 36(2), 2017. DOI: 10.6017/ital.v36i2.9718

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Source: An Evidence-Based Review of Academic Web Search Engines, 2014-2016: Implications for Librarians’ Practice and Research Agenda

Community Aligned Service Providers – ALA Midwinter 2018 ACRL/SPARC Forum

Author: Chealsye Bowley

Abstract: Panel presentation on community aligned service providers for the ACRL/SPARC Forum session at ALA Midwinter 2018. Session description: “Shaping the Landscape of Open Access Publishing: Individually, Locally, Collectively.” With the acquisition and creation of scholarly communication platforms/infrastructure by major commercial entities, the balance of influence continues to shift. This forum will bring together library stakeholders for a conversation about how the library community can reassert its influence to shape the open access publishing landscape. This session is designed to reach a broad range of librarians and other information professionals. Panelists will focus on: 1) individual action: ‘what can one person do?’; 2) local coordinated action: ‘how can one group or institution effect change?’; and, 3) collective action: ‘how can libraries work together to provide sustainable alternatives?’

Citation:Community Aligned Service Providers – ALA Midwinter 2018 ACRL/SPARC Forum Bowley, C. (2018, February 10). . Retrieved from osf.io/preprints/lissa/8wn5p

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From Wikidata to Scholia: creating structured linked data to generate scholarly profiles

Authors: Mairelys Lemus-Rojas, good

Abstract: Wikidata, the newest project of the Wikimedia Foundation, has been increasingly attracting contributors from all over the world. Wikidata is a free knowledge base that stores multilingual structured linked data. At the IUPUI University Library, we are working on a project where our goal is to provide a presence in Wikidata for our faculty members. As we will demonstrate, adding data about our faculty will enable us to generate scholarly profiles for them. For the pilot project, we selected 18 faculty members from the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. The School of Philanthropy, located in the IUPUI campus, is the first school dedicated solely to philanthropy education and research. The school and its faculty also provide many widely used works of scholarship. We approached this project by using Wikidata as the repository for all the data associated with the faculty members. We created entries (namely Items in Wikidata) for the selected group of faculty, their co-authors, and all their published articles with DOIs. To create entries for the articles, we used a tool that allows users to enter either a DOI, PMID or PMCID and generates the Items directly in Wikidata. We then used Scholia, an open source application, to generate the scholarly profiles. Scholia queries Wikidata and presents the user with aggregated and graphically-displayed information. It also enables us, for example, to learn more about our faculty members’ collaborators and scholarly interests. In addition to demonstrating our methods for contributing content to a structured linked data knowledge base, this presentation will share the potential benefits and challenges for libraries to consider. Libraries have both the expertise and data sources to take a leading role in contributing to and promoting open knowledge projects for their communities.

Citation: Lemus-Rojas, M., & Odell, J. (2018, February 16). From Wikidata to Scholia: creating structured linked data to generate scholarly profiles. http://doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/GXQ8D

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A landscape study on open access and monographs: Policies, funding and publishing in eight European countries

Author: Eelco Ferwerda, Frances Pinter, and Niels Stern

Abstract: Knowledge Exchange is continously active in promoting Open Access by bringing together Open Access experts from all six KE-countries. This study was initiated by Knowledge Exchange and financed by Knowledge ExchangeFWFCRIStin and Couperin, and together with the skilled expertise of Eelco Ferwerda, Frances Pinter and Niels Stern, we can now publish the biggest landscape study on the conditions and potentials for Open Access books yet.

The field of OA monographs is still in its early evolution and therefore 73 in-depth conversations were conducted to understand the different developments among three stakeholder groups: Publishers, funders and libraries. The importance of author attitudes, scholarly reward and incentive systems is also raised throughout the study by numerous interviewees.

Our study shows that although the main OA policies do not include monographs, conversations about OA and monographs are surfacing and are expected to be accelerating over the next few years.

The general explanation for monographs not being included in policies is the global focus on journal publishing and the perception that monographs are more complex to deal with than journals. Some also point to a lack of demand yet from authors.

In general, OA book publishers will comply with gold OA policies from funders and institutions. This is not the case for green OA. It appears that the current self archiving policies from publishers for books are largely restricted to book chapters.

The report also points towards the fact that funding schemes for books are lagging behind schemes for articles and their availability to fund the publishing process is somewhat ad hoc across the countries we’ve surveyed. Nevertheless the authors are ‘cautiously optimistic’ about the prospects for OA and monographs.

The report creates an overview of both the OA monographs policies, funding streams and publishing models for all eight countries for the first time. This is used to point towards areas of future efforts.

Citation: Eelco Ferwerda, Frances Pinter, and Niels Stern. (2017). A landscape study on open access and monographs: Policies, funding and publishing in eight European countries.  Knowledge Exchange. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.815932.

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Changing publishing ecologies: A landscape study of new university presses and academic-led publishing

Authors: Janneke Adema and Graham Stone, with an introduction by Chris Keene

Abstract: In this report, we have captured the current landscape of new university presses (NUPs) and academic-led presses (ALPs) emerging within the UK. Taking different approaches for these two types of press we have captured the take-up, reasoning and characteristics of these initiatives, as well as future plans. The report concludes with a series of recommendations to help support and foster new developments in this space, to share best practice and collaboration and to identify the tools and services that will facilitate further innovation.

Citation: Janneke Adema and Graham Stone. “Changing publishing ecologies: A landscape study of new university presses and academic-led publishing.” JISC.

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More than a House of Cards: Developing a Firm Foundation for Streaming Media and Consumer-Licensed Content in the Library

Author: William Cross

Abstract: This article will introduce traditional library practice for licensing multimedia content and discuss the way that consumer-licensing and streaming services disrupt that practice. Sections II and III describe the statutory copyright regime designed by Congress to facilitate the socially-valuable work done by libraries and the impact of the move from ownership to licensed content. Collecting multimedia materials has always presented special legal challenges for libraries, particularly as licensed content has replaced the traditional practice of purchasing and circulation based on the first sale doctrine. These issues have grown even more complex as streaming services like Netflix and Amazon and video game downloads through services like Steam have come to dominate the landscape. Section IV will describe the way that consumer-licensed materials, which not only remove the ownership that undergirds library practice, but also the ability to negotiate for library use, imperil the congressionally-designed balance. Section V will present a path forward for libraries to develop robust, cutting-edge collections that reflect a sophisticated understanding of the contractual and copyright issues at play.

Citation: Cross, W. (2016). More than a House of Cards: Developing a Firm Foundation for Streaming Media and Consumer-Licensed Content in the Library. Journal of Copyright in Education and Librarianship, 1(1), 1-24. DOI: 10.17161/jcel.v1i1.5919

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