Sunday, May 31, 2009

U. California Libraries Send Open Letter to Licensed Content Providers

On 26 May, 2009 the University of California Libraries sent an Open Letter to Licensed Content Providers concerning the major fiscal challenges affecting higher education in California.


The University of California Libraries ask all information providers with whom we negotiate content licenses to respond to the major fiscal challenges affecting higher education in California in a spirit of collaboration and mutual problem-solving. We expect to work with each of our vendors at renewal to develop creative solutions that can preserve the greatest amount of content to meet the information needs of the University of California’s students, faculty,
and researchers.

The economic crisis affecting libraries is particularly acute in California, which as of this writing (May 2009) is forecasting a $21 billion state budget shortfall for 2010 despite previous efforts to close a $42 billion budget gap in 2009. As a state-supported institution, the University of California has experienced significant budget reductions in fiscal year 2009, with more reductions to come. Coupled with the typical inflationary increases for scholarly publications, the erosion of library buying power will have a profound and lasting impact on all of the UC libraries. We welcome all innovative proposals for managing through these difficult times.

Click for the full letter

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

First Humanities Department to Mandate Open Access -- University of Oregon Department of Romance Languages

Peter Suber's Open Access News site reports that faculty members of the University of Oregon's Department of Romance Languages have chosen by unanimous vote to require that faculty provide electronic copies of their publications for self-archiving in the University of Oregon institutional repository, UO Scholars' Bank. This is the first open access mandation by a humanities department in the world. Waivers must be requested.

From the mandate text:
Every Romance Language tenure-track faculty member is required to self-archive in UO Scholars’ Bank a postprint version of every peer-reviewed article or book chapter published while the person is a member of the Romance Languages faculty. The URLs of these postprints will be included in all materials submitted internally to the Romance Languages Department for purposes of review and promotion.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Digital Scholarly Communication: A Snapshot of Current Trends.”

Nancy L. Maron and K. Kirby Smith, Strategic Services Analysts, Ithaka, recently published the brief report “Digital Scholarly Communication: A Snapshot of Current Trends.” They state that the internet has made possible and facilitated numerous innovative types of digital scholarly resources and has introduced scholarly communication that reaches end users directly while diminishing in many cases the role of the academic library as an intermediary. The report aimed “to highlight interesting examples of digital scholarly resources, their contribution to the scholarly process, and the organizational and business models that help them survive and thrive.” The authors examined eight types of digital scholarly resources: E-Only Journals; Reviews; Preprints and Working Papers; Encyclopedias, Dictionaries, and Annotated Content; Data Resources; Blogs; Discussion Forums; Professional and Academic Hubs.

The report’s summary of findings:
--Digital innovations are taking place in all disciplines.
--Digital publishing is shaped powerfully by the traditions of scholarly culture.
--Some of the largest resources with greatest impact have been in existence a long while.
--Many digital publications are small, niche resources.
--Although many of the digital scholarly resources are primarily text-based, there are also examples that incorporate multimedia technology and networking tools to create new and innovative works.
--Establishing credibility is not easy, but is of critical importance.
--Achieving sustainability—especially for those resources with an open-access mandate—is a universal challenge.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Evolving Google Library

....from Inside Higher Ed

To some, Google's mammoth book digitization project with university libraries is the ultimate combination of technology and scholarship, potentially making millions of volumes available to audiences that could never visit major research libraries in person. To others, the project represents a dangerous centralization and corporatization of content.

Complicating the debate (and obviously there are many viewpoints somewhere in between) has been an uncertainty about how Google would make the new library available. On Wednesday, Google and the University of Michigan announced new details -- and while the plan for pricing was still vague, the basics of the model became more clear.

See full story

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What Is the Impact of Open Access?

A website devoted to exploring the advantages offered by open access has a bibliography of studies examining the possible relationship between open access and one of the more highly regarded (but also criticized) measures of an article's significance, the impact factor. According to the website, "Recent studies have begun to show that open access increases impact. More studies and more substantial investigations are needed to confirm the effect . . . " According to the bibliography's editor, Steve Hitchcock, University of Southampton, UK, "This chronological bibliography is intended to describe progress in reporting these studies; it also lists the Web tools available to measure impact. It is a focused bibliography, on the relationship between impact and access."

Because of the radical difference between electronic and print media, impact may eventually be measured in ways quite different from the traditional method. For a provocative blog post about some of the issues involved, see Ologeez Founder joins Mendeley / Changing the Journal Impact Factor. Mendeley is an example of a software company exploring new approaches to enhancing research and identifying research trends. According to Mendeley's blog, "Mendeley is free social software for managing and sharing research papers. It is also a Web 2.0 site for discovering research trends and connecting to like-minded academics."

Monday, May 11, 2009

ERIC's Microfiche Digitization Project

Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) recently released a press announcement regarding its immense project to digitize as many as possible of the 340,000 ED microfiche documents added to the ERIC database from 1966 to 1992. Its 55% success rate so far is very significant and advances greatly Open Access in diverse spheres of Education:

The full scope of the digitization project encompassed scanning the legacy microfiche collection of nearly 340,000 documents added to ERIC from 1966 to 1992, and reaching out to thousands of individuals and organizations who submitted these documents and hold copyright to them. This massive effort resulted in more than 55 percent of documents released online. This outcome is notable in light of the challenges associated with locating document submitters from up to 40 years ago. ERIC users now have full-text access to nearly 192,000 digitized microfiche documents because copyright holders have granted ERIC permission for digital release, or in other cases, it was determined that the documents are in the public domain. The opportunity remains for copyright holders to help ERIC expand access to their materials. National Archive Publishing Company (NAPC), ERIC’s partner in this major initiative, is still accepting permissions to release documents online. ERIC cannot assume permission, due to the specific language of the original permission forms and the technology available at the time of indexing. Interested copyright holders may reach NAPC by completing a contact form or calling their toll-free number. For more information, see

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

"Know Your Rights: Who Really Owns Your Scholarly Works?"

The Scholarly Communication Program of Columbia University Libraries/Information Services has recently made available the video “Know Your Rights: Who Really Owns Your Scholarly Works?” (thanks to Charles Bailey’s posting on DigitalKoans).

This is the announcement accompanying the video:

In this panel discussion, experts on copyright law and scholarly publishing discuss how scholars and researchers can take full advantage of opportunities afforded by digital technology in today's legal environment, and suggest ways to advocate for positive change. The panelists are Heather Joseph, who has been Executive Director of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC); Michael Carroll, Visiting Professor of Law at American University's Washington College of Law and a founding member of the Board of Directors of Creative Commons; and Director of the Columbia University Copyright Advisory Office Kenneth Crews, whose research focuses on copyright issues, particularly as they relate to the needs of scholarship at the university.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

May Issue of SPARC Open Access Newsletter

The latest issue of Peter Suber's SPARC Open Access Newsletter has just been posted: