Wednesday, August 21, 2013

New Location

This blog has moved to a new location:

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Open Access To Research: An Ideal Complicated By Reality

The article "Open Access To Research: An Ideal Complicated By Reality" appeared in Forbes on 29th July. Though the authors support open access and the new Obama-administration policy, details of which are to be announced in August, they point out that some kinds of research conducted at university, “primarily government-funded classified research and some industry-sponsored research—do not always appear in scientific publications and are sometimes at odds with the ideal of transparency and open communication of knowledge”. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Debate over Dissertation Embargoes

Last week the American Historical Association issued a statement recommending that University policies allow extended embargo periods for history dissertations in order to give adequate time for their authors to publish.
Debate on this issue has been swirling in scholarly communication circles for some time, reflecting and probably causing, a fair amount of anxiety among students. Often the debate is fueled by misinformation.
On Thursday the Harvard University Press blog included a very evenhanded post on the issue.
For the full flavor of the opinion, please read the whole post, but below are a few important points:

"Most people involved in this discussion likely understand that a publication-ready dissertation is a rare thing. Generally speaking, when we at HUP take on a young scholar’s first book, whether in history or other disciplines, we expect that the final product will be so broadened, deepened, reconsidered, and restructured that the availability of the dissertation is irrelevant.  ....
 HUP Assistant Editor Brian Distelberg, for instance, notes how a project’s discoverability can be the means by which his interest is sparked:
I’m always looking out for exciting new scholarship that might make for a good book, whether in formally published journal articles and conference programs, or in the conversation on Twitter and in the history blogosphere, or in conversations with scholars I meet. And so, to whatever extent open access to a dissertation increases the odds of its ideas being read and discussed more widely, I tend to think it increases the odds of my hearing about them
 In this whole discussion, academic publishers tend to be characterized as a strangely passive lot, sitting back, keeping the gate, waiting for scholars to come to us and meet our terms for entry. If that was ever the case, it certainly is no longer. An enormous part of a university press acquisitions editor’s job is to be out scouting for new voices, new ideas, and new inquiries. And as Distelberg notes, much of that scouting takes place online, where these conversations are happening. If you can’t find it, you can’t sign it."

Monday, July 22, 2013

Transcribe Bentham: A Participatory Initiative

Transcribe Bentham
is a collaborative transcription initiative whose goal is to digitize and make available digital images of the unpublished manuscripts of Jeremy Bentham (1748 – 1832), the utilitarian philosopher. The project is based at University College London. There are 60,000 papers written by Bentham in UCL’s library but several thousands of these papers, potentially of immense historical and philosophical importance, have yet to be transcribed and studied. By transcribing this material for the first time, two important tasks will be accomplished:
Anyone can participate in this project. "You do not need any specialist knowledge or training, technical expertise, or historical background: just some enthusiasm (and, perhaps, some patience)."

Volunteers are asked to encode their transcripts in Text Encoding Initiative (TEI)-compliant XML. The project managers realize that this may seem off-putting to some volunteers. Accordingly, in an attempt to make the addition of mark-up as straightforward as possible they have created the ‘Transcription Toolbar’. Instead of typing the tags oneself, simply clicking on a button will generate the required piece of mark-up.

For more information  see the Transcribe Bentham website.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Fred Friend on the state of Open Access: Where are we, what still needs to be done?

Richard Poynder interviews Fred Friend "on the state of Open Access: Where are we, what still needs to be done?"

Friend has little time for hybrid journals:
The concept of hybrid subscription/APC-paid gold OA journals looked attractive when they first appeared but the model has not been implemented widely. Even ignoring suspicions of “double-dipping”, the model has suffered from the flaws in both the subscription and APC-paid models. Rather than overcoming the flaws in the subscription model, hybrid journals have added to those flaws the flaws in the APC-paid model. 
In principle hybrid journals could have assisted in a transition to an individual-article publishing model, but the continuing publisher accounting model by journal title rather than by individual article has rendered hybrid journals ineffective as a mechanism for change. Journal titles are a convenient way of grouping related articles but are not a good basis for cost-effective business models.  
Friend's expectations for OA in 2013:
Obviously more growth in OA content and commitment, but perhaps even more important are the stories we are beginning to hear of the value of sharing research and teaching resources freely across the world. 
Open access is good in itself, but the real benefit from the ability of researchers, teachers and learners to share content without financial, legal or technical barriers lies in the intellectual, economic and social growth which results from that sharing. 
Click here for the complete interview.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The British Library's Renaissance Festival Books

Festival: Entry of Ernst, Archduke of Austria, into Antwerp (14 June, 1594)
Page details: Illustration View of the procession making its way through the countryside towards Antwerp. 

The British Library has digitized 253 Renaissance festival books (selected from over 2,000 in the BL's collection) that describe the magnificent festivals and ceremonies that took place in Europe between 1475 and 1700 - marriages and funerals of royalty and nobility, coronations, stately entries into cities and other grand events. The books are presented in their original languages, and include bindings, preliminary material, title pages and dedications. The texts are fully searchable using a wide range of search terms, covering such areas as participants (named in the titles of the books), places, topics, bibliographical details, and elements of the visual and performing arts.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Images of Works of Art in Museum Collections: The Experience of Open Access; A Study of 11 Museums

The Council on Library and Information Resources recently published the report Images of Works of Art in Museum Collections: The Experience of Open Access; A Study of 11 Museums. Authored by Kristin Kelly, the report was prepared for The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The following museums are included in the study:
• British Museum, London
• Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis
• J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
• Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles
• Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
• Morgan Library and Museum, New York
• National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
• Victoria and Albert Museum, London
• Walters Art Museum, Baltimore
• Yale Center for British Art, New Haven
• Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven
From the Report's Executive Summary:
This report describes the current approaches of 11 art museums in the United States and the United Kingdom to the use of images of works of art that are in their collections and are in the public domain. Each approach is slightly different. By presenting the thought processes and methods used in these institutions, this report aims to inform the decision making of other museums that are considering open access to images in their collections. 
Following are the key findings presented in this report: 
• Providing open access is a mission-driven decision.
• Different museums look at open access in different ways.
• Internal process is important.
• Loss of control fades as a concern.
• Technology matters.
• Revenue matters less than many institutions think it does.
• Change is good.