Tuesday, January 29, 2013

New: Open Library of Humanities

From The Chronicle of Higher Education: Project Aims to Bring PLoS-Style Openness to the Humanities

Several recent publishing ventures and platforms, including the Open Humanities Press and Anvil Academic, are investigating how to bring more open-access journals and monographs online. A brand-spanking-new nonprofit organization, called the Open Library of Humanities, aims to create a humanities-and-social-sciences version of the successful Public Library of Science, or PLoS, which in the past decade has established itself as a major presence in open-access, peer-reviewed scientific publishing. Like PLoS, the Open Library of Humanities, or OLH, will be peer-reviewed.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Library Copyright Alliance Comments on Orphan Works

The Library Copyright Alliance, a group of three national library associations representing over 100,000 United States libraries, has filed comments on the Copyright Office notice of inquiry regarding Orphan Works and Mass Digitization.
In the past the LCA has supported legislation on the issue of orphan works -- works whose copyright owner cannot be readily determined or contacted for permission to digitize the work. The new comments take quite a different tack and indicate a new confidence in the strength of fair use:

LCA welcomes this opportunity to comment on the Copyright Office’s October 22, 2012, Notice of Inquiry concerning Orphan Works and Mass Digitization. LCA has a long history of involvement in this issue. It provided extensive comments to the Copyright Office during the course of the Office’s study that led to the Office’s 2006 Orphan Works Report. LCA also actively participated in the negotiations concerning the orphan works legislation introduced in the 109th and the 110th Congresses. Although LCA strongly supported enactment of these bills, significant changes in the copyright landscape over the past seven years convince us that libraries no longer need  legislative reform in order to make appropriate uses of orphan works. (emphasis added)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Open Access to Data for a New, Open Science

In their December 2012 article, "Open Access to data for a new, open science," in European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (Europa Medicophysica) E. Giglia and A. Swan discuss the increasing importance that authors provide access to their data in their scholarly publications.

The Internet has dramatically changed both the way we do and share research and the way we access and preserve information. 
In a print-on-paper age all you could publish was a summary of a research or experiment, in the form of a scientific article. The web now allows us to make public the whole dataset of raw data which stand behind the research or the experiment: we are in the transition between “scientific articles” and “scientific records”, which contain more. New concepts like “nanopublications” or “enhanced publications” were born; more and more journals such as Nature Genetics require authors to publish data alongside the article; and open databases are more and more common. . . . 
Open data are the pillars of open science, which many scientists have long been campaigning for. This paper is aimed at presenting the benefits of open access to research data, for science itself, for researchers, for citizens, for enterprises, for society as a whole. . . .

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mandated Data Archiving Greatly Improves Access to Research Data

The article "Mandated data archiving greatly improves access to research data" by Tomothy H. Vines et al. in the current issue of The FASEB Journal makes a number of interesting points about the value of mandating.

The data underlying scientific papers should be accessible to researchers both now and in the future, but how best can we ensure that these data are available? Here we examine the effectiveness of four approaches to data archiving: no stated archiving policy, recommending (but not requiring) archiving, and two versions of mandating data deposition at acceptance. We control for differences between data types by trying to obtain data from papers that use a single, widespread population genetic analysis, STRUCTURE. At one extreme, we found that mandated data archiving policies that require the inclusion of a data availability statement in the manuscript improve the odds of finding the data online almost 1000- fold compared to having no policy. However, archiving rates at journals with less stringent policies were only very slightly higher than those with no policy at all. We also assessed the effectiveness of asking for data directly from authors and obtained over half of the requested datasets, albeit with ~8 d delay and some disagreement with authors. Given the long-term benefits of data accessibility to the academic community, we believe that journal-based mandatory data archiving policies and mandatory data availability statements should be more widely adopted

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A New Open Access Journal from the American Psychological Association

The American Psychological Association is preparing to launch Archives of Scientific Psychology, its first open access journal. The Archives of Scientific Psychology will have the following five unique characteristics:

  •  The articles are free; anyone with internet access will be able to read them.
  •   Following APA’s Journal Article Reporting Standards, the authors of each article will provide a complete description of the methodology that they used when conducting their research.  
  •  The article authors will be making their data open to the public; it will be available from APA or another approved repository. Other researchers will be able to use this data if they obtain permission to do so from the article authors. 
  •  Each article will have two versions of an abstract and methodology section.  One version will be geared towards the layperson, the other towards the scholarly community.
  •  Both the article and the comments made by reviewers who took part in the peer-review process will be published online.
The American Psychological Association is launching this journal in response to the way social workers and psychologist make decisions about social services.  There is now a professional impetus for those in the helping professions to base treatment and intervention decisions on the best available research. This means that professionals are more carefully evaluating research articles, and having access to the data that underlies the research in the article helps the professionals assess the quality of the information.
What else makes this new journal unique? The publication process for journal articles can be a lengthy one, and it is not uncommon for there to be more than a six-month span between the submission of a paper and its’ actual publication date.  This inevitably delays the pace in which critical information can reach the public. The editors of the Archives of Scientific Psychology post new articles on a weekly basis, and they are committed to publishing articles within two weeks of their final acceptance.

The American Psychological Association expects to begin publication of the Archives of Scientific Psychology in early 2013. It will span all psychological disciplines.

Cooper, H. & VardenBos, G. (2012). Archives of Scientific Psychology: a new journal for a new era. Retrieved from: http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/features/ARC-Editorial-090712.pdf

For more information about this new publication, please visit: http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/arc/index.aspx

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The future of libraries

My subscription to the Berkman Buzz alerted me to the New York Times Room for Debate Series on the future of libraries.
John Palfrey comments on the series, and here are some observations I particularly like:

Why is this even a “debate”?
It’s a debate because too many people think that we don’t need libraries when we have the Internet. That logic couldn’t be more faulty. We actually need libraries more (as Luis Herrera points out) now that we have the Internet, not less. But we have to craft a clear and affirmative argument to make that case to those who don’t work in libraries or focus deeply on their operations. Librarians have to make a political and public case, which is too rarely being made effectively today.
The future of libraries is in peril. Librarians and those of us who love libraries need to make an affirmative argument for investments in the services, materials, and physical spaces that libraries comprise. This argument must be grounded in the needs of library users, today and in the future. The argument needs to move past nostalgia and toward a bright and compelling future for libraries as institutions, for librarians as professionals, and for the role that libraries play in vibrant democracies.
Palfrey outlines ten steps libraries should take to remain vibrant. My favorite is number 8:
Library spaces should function more like labs, where people interact with information and make new knowledge.
He concludes:
The argument that libraries are obsolete in a digital era is faulty. But those of us who love libraries need to make the case for why that’s so. This case has everything to do with libraries finding compelling ways to support education, helping people to learn, thrive, and be the best civic actors we can be. We have to recreate the sense of wonder and importance of libraries, as public spaces, as research labs, as maker-spaces, and as core democratic institutions for the digital age.