Wednesday, September 30, 2009

DRIVER: Digital Repository Infrastructure Vision for European Research

DRIVER is an EU-funded initiative linking thousands of European digital libraries and archives in one of the largest efforts of its kind. At this time it houses over 1 million open access scientific/research documents drawn from journal articles, dissertations, books, and lectures reports and harvested from over 200 institutional and subject-specific repositories. Some 25 languages are represented. The DRIVER project is seen as still in its infancy: it establishes a working vision for future sharing of this type, aiming toward a virtual "United Nations" of repository information. (Repositories in China, India and South America have already expressed interest.) Rapid growth is anticipated due to both its technological innovation (D-NET open source software) and its forging of cross-border connections. Its Guidelines for repository managers should promote greater interoperability between different systems.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Implementing ETD Submission at Boston College

Bill Donovan, BC Libraries' Digital Imaging Librarian, recently gave the presentation, "Implementing ETD Submission at Boston College", at ETD 2009, the 12th International Symposium on Electronic Theses and Dissertations at The University of Pittsburgh. The abstract of Bill's presentation:
In June 2007, dozens of dissertations were lost en route from Boston College (BC) to ProQuest (PQ). From then on, we have shipped no more paper. Today, an online submission system provides electronic copies to both ProQuest and to BC’s Open Access repository. This presentation recounts what was required to make eTD@BC a reality.

BC graduate students used to submit two paper copies of their theses: one for the Archives, the other for shipping to PQ. This workflow had to change. Theses would be digitized in-house; PDFs would be uploaded. Information that students had filled in on their PQ forms would be entered manually. This workflow was labor intensive; clearly, an online submission system was needed as soon as possible.

In late 2007, a working group of library staff was formed to plan a staged transition that would ensure both preservation and access, to specify the transition stages and their timing, to allay concerns of faculty or deans, and to safeguard the integrity of the system. Importantly, we needed to educate our stakeholders regarding the benefits of an online submission system, especially when coupled with Open Access.

Starting off with an environmental scan of other universities’ ETD programs as guidance for our planning, we also began taking measures to improve the workflow, such as asking for theses on CD-R. Administrators in BC’s six schools were invited to collaborate with us. With the plan taking shape, we solicited feedback from faculty and school administrators. Concerns ranging from the very general to the very specific had to be addressed.

We are now conducting a new and improved set of eTD@BC workshops to help graduate students succeed in their online submission. While not without challenges, online ETD submission is becoming the norm at BC. Distributed digital preservation is our next step.
Click for the full-text of the presentation and for the accompanying Powerpoints slides.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Presidents of 57 U.S. Liberal Arts Colleges Support FRPAA

In an open letter (23 September, 2009) the Presidents of 57 U.S. liberal arts colleges declared their support for FRPAA, the Federal Research Public Access Act (S. 1373). This is an important letter that aptly observes: "Adoption of the Federal Research Public Access Act will democratize access to research information funded by tax dollars. It will benefit education, research, and the general public. We urge the higher education community, American taxpayers, and members of Congress to support its passage into law."
As liberal arts college presidents, we are writing to express our strong support for S. 1373, the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2009, which has been introduced into the U.S. Senate by Senators Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and John Cornyn (R-TX). This bill would require federal agencies whose external research budgets exceed $100 million to develop policies that would ensure public access via the Internet to their funded research.

Liberal arts colleges are important components of our nationʼs scientific and scholarly productivity. Studies have shown that our institutions are highly effective in producing graduates who go on to obtain Ph.D. degrees and become productive researchers. Our faculty actively pursue research, much of it with government funding, and often working in partnership with talented undergraduates. Unfortunately, access to research information paid for with tax dollars is severely limited at our institutions – and indeed at most universities. Academic libraries simply cannot afford ready access to most of the research literature that their faculty and students need.

The Federal Research Public Access Act would be a major step forward in ensuring equitable online access to research literature that is paid for by taxpayers. The federal government funds over $60 billion in research annually. Research supported by the National Institutes of Health, which accounts for approximately one-third of federally funded research, produces an estimated 80,000 peer-reviewed journal articles each year. Given the scope of research literature that would become available online, it is clear that adoption of the bill would have significant benefits for the progress of science and the advancement of knowledge.

S. 1373 would build on a number of established public access policies that have been adopted by government agencies in both the U.S. and abroad. The National Institutes of Health has implemented a very successful comprehensive public access policy, as required by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2007. All seven of the Research Councils in the United Kingdom have public access policies as do the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The bill is also consistent with the growing number of institutional open access policies that have been adopted at universities such as Harvard, MIT, and the University of Kansas.

We are supportive of the Federal Research Public Access Act because it has been crafted in a way that provides ample protection for the system of peer review. It allows for a window of up to six months before final peer reviewed manuscripts resulting from publicly funded research are made openly accessible on the Internet. In addition, it leaves control of the final published version of articles, which is generally used for citation purposes, in the hands of publishers.

Adoption of the Federal Research Public Access Act will democratize access to research information funded by tax dollars. It will benefit education, research, and the general public. We urge the higher education community, American taxpayers, and members of Congress to support its passage into law.

Full-text of letter with signatories.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Monograph's Future as Humanities Scholars See It

An article about a study described as "the first in-depth study of the role, value and future of the monograph from the viewpoint of the scholar" appeared in Aslib Proceedings earlier this year. * The study used a qualitative methodology by gathering information from 17 scholars during interviews. There was general agreement among the interviewees that despite decreasing numbers of titles being published, print scholarly books are still essential means of scholarly communication. Topics covered were funding, self-publishing, e-books, and archiving. The five authors of the study are faculty members of the Centre for Information and the Evaluation of Research (CIBER) and School of Library, Archive and Information Studies (SLAIS), University College London. From the summary of findings:
The monograph continues to be of great value in the arts and humanities field, and is seen as essential for career progression. Much concern was expressed about the decline in quality of this and other forms of writing . . . . Reservations were expressed about moving towards digital versions of the monograph, although print-on-demand was considered to be a viable option to enable the continuing publication of specialist works.
*Williams, Peter; Stevenson, Iain; Nicholas, David; Watkinson, Anthony; Rowlands, Ian. "The Role and Future of the Monograph in Arts and Humanities Research." Aslib Proceedings: New Information Perspectives, 61, 1 (2009): 67-82.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Futurity -- News from Leading Research Universities

The website was formally launched on September 15. Essentially an Open Access online research magazine, Futurity will aggregate and highlight news about the latest discoveries in such areas as science, engineering, the environment, health, and so on. Futurity, hosted at the University of Rochester, is produced and funded by a consortium of 35 leading US and Canadian research universities, all members of the Association of American Universities. Futurity provides an interesting rationale for its creation:
The way people share information is changing quickly and daily. Blogs and social media sites like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook are just a taste of what’s to come. It will be easier than ever to share content instantly with people around the globe, allowing universities to reach new audiences and engage a new generation in discovery.

Equally significant has been the recent decline in science and research coverage by traditional news outlets. For decades, universities have partnered with journalists to communicate their work to the public, but that relationship is evolving. At the same time, research universities are among the most credible and trusted institutions in society, and now have the ability to deliver their news and information directly to readers without barriers or gatekeepers.

In an increasingly complex world, the public needs access to clear, reliable research news. Futurity does the work of gathering that news. Think of it as a snapshot of where the world is today and where it’s headed tomorrow. Discover the future.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cornell Open-Access Publication Fund

Five universities -- Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, MIT, and the U. of California at Berkeley -- are participating in what is termed the Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity. This is an agreement by the five institutions to pay reasonable publication charges for articles written by their faculty and published in fee-based open-access journals when other funding sources are not available. From Cornell University's 15 September, 2009 announcement:
Cornell University Library and the Office of the Provost are contributing $25,000 each for a pilot program to pay publication fees in open-access journals for Cornell faculty, researchers, staff and students.

Most scholars receive no compensation for research papers they contribute to journals. But high subscription costs that pay for peer review management, editorial services and production can limit access to research. The current shift from the traditional print model of scholarly information dissemination to low-cost digital distribution has the potential to remove all access barriers to research.

"Open-access journals are scholarly journals that are available online to the reader without financial, legal or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the Internet itself," said John Saylor, associate university librarian for scholarly resources and special collections. "Successful, highly regarded open-access publishers include BioMed Central and Public Library of Science, and there are more every day."

To pay for their operating expenses, open-access journals look to sources of income other than subscriptions, such as foundation support, subventions, in-kind support and, increasingly, publication and submission fees (often called author fees). . . .

The Cornell Open-Access Publication (COAP) Fund will underwrite processing fees for scholarly peer-reviewed articles in open-access journals for which funds are not otherwise available. Cornell faculty, postdoctoral researchers, staff or student authors can apply for COAP funding of up to $3,000.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Edgar Allan Poe Digital Collection

The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin yesterday launched a Poe digital archive/exhibit entitled "The Edgar Allan Poe Digital Collection". This digital collection incorporates images of all Poe manuscripts and letters at the Ransom Center with a selection of related archival materials, two books by Poe annotated by the author, sheet music based on his poems, and portraits from the Ransom Center collections. Poe’s manuscripts and letters are linked to transcriptions on the website of the Poe Society of Baltimore.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Friday, September 4, 2009

Harvard's Institutional Repository Launched

Earlier this week Harvard launched DASH, its institutional repository. From the press release:
Harvard's leadership in open access to scholarship took a significant step forward this week with the public launch of DASH—or Digital Access to Scholarship at Harvard—a University-wide, open-access repository. More than 350 members of the Harvard research community, including over a third of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, have jointly deposited hundreds of scholarly works in DASH.

"DASH is meant to promote openness in general," stated Robert Darnton, Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and Director of the University Library. "It will make the current scholarship of Harvard's faculty freely available everywhere in the world, just as the digitization of the books in Harvard's library will make learning accumulated since 1638 accessible worldwide. Taken together, these and other projects represent a commitment by Harvard to share its intellectual wealth." . . . .

DASH has its roots in the February 2008 open-access vote in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. In a unanimous decision, FAS adopted a policy stating that
Each Faculty member grants to the President and Fellows of Harvard College permission to make available his or her scholarly articles and to exercise the copyright in those articles. In legal terms, the permission granted by each Faculty member is a nonexclusive, irrevocable, paid-up, worldwide license to exercise any and all rights under copyright relating to each of his or her scholarly articles, in any medium, and to authorize others to do the same, provided that the articles are not sold for a profit.
In addition, faculty members committed to providing copies of their manuscripts for distribution, which the DASH repository now enables. Authored by Stuart M. Shieber, James O. Welch, Jr. and Virginia B. Welch Professor of Computer Science and director of the Office for Scholarly Communication, the policy marked a groundbreaking shift from simply encouraging scholars to consider open access to creating a pro-open-access policy with an "opt out" clause. . . .

"The terms of use were drafted after a series of conversations with publishers about Harvard's open-access initiatives," said Shieber. "We wanted to give publishers the opportunity to articulate their concerns about Harvard's intended use of content in the repository, and we designed our repository and our practices as responsively as possible. We continue to welcome publisher input and engagement along these lines.

"Our long-term growth strategy for DASH is to integrate it so fully into other faculty tools that self-archiving just becomes second nature. When a Harvard author is updating their profile or the CV on their personal web site, upload-to-DASH will be there, and vice versa. All these loci for sharing information about publications will eventually synchronize with one another. This includes tools that store bibliographic information only, as well as those that provide open access to full text, such as the established subject repositories already used by many of our faculty to disseminate their work. Ultimately, DASH aims to provide as comprehensive and open a view of Harvard research as possible."

Open Access Checklist

Tilburg University has made available Alma Swan's Open Access Advocacy: A Checklist for Research Universities.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Op-Ed Piece on European Reaction to Google Book Settlement

Bill Echikson, an author of four books and senior manager of European communications in Google, recently published an op-ed piece in The Irish Times discussing the agreement made by Google with American authors and publishers that aims, if an American court approves, to allow US readers to search, preview and buy online access to potentially millions of out-of-print books that were scanned as part of Google Book Search. Echikson also ponders the European reaction, what he in fact calls "handwringing" and "concern", over this agreement.

Click here for the full-text of the article.