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Posts Tagged ‘Scholarly Publishing’

Scholars Seek Better Ways to Track Impact Online

Posted by Editor on February 3, 2012

By Jennifer Howard

In academe, the game of how to win friends and influence people is serious business. Administrators and grant makers want proof that a researcher’s work has life beyond the library or the lab.

But the current system of measuring scholarly influence doesn’t reflect the way many researchers work in an environment driven more and more by the social Web. Research that used to take months or years to reach readers can now find them almost instantly via blogs and Twitter.

That kind of activity escapes traditional metrics like the impact factor, which indicates how often a journal is cited, not how its articles are really being consumed by readers.

An approach called altmetrics—short for alternative metrics—aims to measure Web-driven scholarly interactions, such as how often research is tweeted, blogged about, or bookmarked. “There’s a gold mine of data that hasn’t been harnessed yet about impact outside the traditional citation-based impact,” says Dario Taraborelli, a senior research analyst with the Strategy Team at the Wikimedia Foundation and a proponent of the idea. Read the rest of this entry »


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College & Research Libraries Goes FULLY Open Access

Posted by Editor on March 16, 2011

from the C&RL Editor, Joseph Branin:

“In spite of economic uncertainty, I am pleased that ACRL has endorsed full open access in practice for its primary research journal. The intellectual value of open access, I believe, justifies its cost. Now the content of our journal will be freely available online to all around the world. Those of us involved in the production of College & Research Libraries applaud its move to open access, but we are well aware of the financial challenges we face with our scholarly journal.”

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Librarians and Wikipedia

Posted by Editor on January 12, 2011

January 12, 2011 – 11:24am — birdie on LIS News

Wikipedia, according to Wikipedia, is “a free, Web-based, collaborative, multilingual encyclopedia project.” But the reference librarians we checked with would want a second source on that.

“Personally, I don’t rely on Wikipedia, because of people’s ability to go in and edit anybody’s text and change the history,” says Karen Sharp, senior librarian and webmaster at the Wayne Public Library.

Wikipedia, which comes (according to Wikipedia) from the Hawaiian word “wiki” — “quick” — joined to the “pedia” from “encyclopedia,” was launched 10 years ago this Saturday by founders Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger.

Since that time, reportedly 365 million readers have pored over 17 million articles – all written by volunteer contributors – on subjects ranging from Aachen (“spa town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany”) to zymology (“scientific term for fermentation”).

Wikipedia has profoundly changed the way most of us gather information. It may have had less effect on the people whose job it is to look things up: reference librarians. Yes, they’ll use it sometimes, they told us. But with misgivings, and never as a sole source.

“We use it as a backup,” says Sharon Castanteen, director of the Johnson Free Public Library in Hackensack, who has a background in reference. “We’ll start with that, get some ideas from it, but we won’t trust it 100 percent.”

North Jersey has the story.

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Chicago Collaborative ‘Rules of Engagement’

Posted by Editor on October 7, 2010

By T. Scott Plutchak, here

It occurred to me while Liz and I were meeting with our Elsevier reps the other day that part of the reason that my perspective on publishers and publishing is so different from so many of my colleagues is that while I spend far more time with publishers than most librarians, almost none of that time is spent with sales & marketing people.   When Steven Bell, who writes prolifically about library matters had the opportunity to spend some extended time with publisher representatives, the encounter surprised him. But, as he says, “My interaction with scholarly publishers has consisted primarily of short conversations at library conference booths.”  This really has to change.

The Chicago Collaborative (CC) was designed to foster the kinds of conversations that can surprise both librarians and publishers when we sit down to talk about the issues that we have in common and quit thinking of each other primarily as buyers and sellers.  And in the five meetings that we’ve had so far, it’s been extremely successful at that.  At the end of each day there’s been a palpably giddy sense in the room.  We’re all learning so much and there is a growing sense of how much we can accomplish when we work together, rather than being at odds.

But up to now, the library community has been represented exclusively by members of the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL).  (All of us are members of MLA and some of us are members of ALA or come from ARL institutions, but with the CC we’re there as AAHSL reps.)  I’ve been pretty insistent all along that eventually this needs to expand.  The issues that we’re trying to address are of concern to all librarians, not just those with a biomedical focus. Read the rest of this entry »

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Open Access and the Library’s Missing Mission

Posted by Editor on August 19, 2010

By Barbara Fister August 18, 2010 9:15 pm, in

Dorothea Salo has an interesting post at the Book of Trogool. She wonders about the mission of academic libraries, and about one paradox in particular: Can libraries support the open access movement by reallocating funds from paying for content to providing support for open access publications, or does that somehow go against the library’s mission to support its local clientele?

I should back up a moment and define some terms. Most academics are now familiar with the Open Access movement, an effort to make scholarship free to all rather than intellectual property owned by publishers and only available to those who can pay for it or are affiliated with institutions that will purchase it on their behalf. Many libraries have supported open access by providing the technical infrastructure and human support for archiving materials in institutional repositories. These local archives make various kinds of digital publications created by the institution’s faculty, staff, and students available to the world. Salo, author of a famous article about why institutional repositories fail to thrive (with the memorable title, “Innkeeper at the Roach Motel“), has challenged libraries to be more strategic about repositories, rather than operate on the “build it, and they will come” philosophy. We know from experience that doesn’t work.

She is frustrated when she hears librarians say that if they had to cancel a journal to put funds into open access, they would be betraying their clientele, because the library’s mission is to serve their community, not the world. The political reality is probably more of a hurdle. Canceling a journal to support a new initiative will cost a library significant social capital, even if the journal is rarely consulted. But many journals are now bundled into “big deals,” so canceling a single journal isn’t even an option. It’s all or nothing, even if most of the journals in the big bundle are of no interest to anyone at a given institution.

These Big Deals are a huge headache. True story: we recently faced a $12,000 increase in cost for one journal database when its publisher decided in the middle of an academic year to discontinue a Not So Big Deal. We had to go with the Giant Economy Size Deal that cost close to $40 K or cancel our subscription entirely. We asked what it would cost to subscribe to just the handful of journals we really needed. They came back with a quote of $90 thousand. I am not making this up. Since we really needed those journals, we ended up with the Giant Economy Size Deal, even though we really couldn’t afford it.

The fact is, in the Big Deal era we aren’t really using our resources to build a collection around what our local community needs. We’re accommodating those expressed needs by subscribing to journals we don’t want or we’re buying one article at a time for users, with the library getting nothing out of the transaction but the bill. The most recent Ithaka survey of faculty confirms that libraries are increasingly being seen as the purchaser of information, but not a communal resource or a cultural institution. We are in danger of becoming no more than a purchasing office for disposable goods.

Salo questions the short-term wisdom of building an institutional repository, then starving it of staff and adding to it only things that are easy to acquire but which won’t help solve the financial crisis caused by escalating journal prices. As she puts it, “we can keep feeding the same broken system in hopes it will become less broken. … Or we can place some longer-term bets, with the explicit understanding that some of them will turn up losers.” Her conclusion: “I’d rather place the longer-term bets, myself.”

I agree. It’s hard to take any access away from our students and faculty. But hey, they’re used to it. At my college, we’ve had to sit down with the departments three times in the last ten years to decide which journals to cut. That’s what happens when your budget doesn’t keep up with increasing prices and you’ve already cut all the fat.

The fact is, we’re no longer in control of our mission. We can’t tailor our collections to the specific needs of our clientele; publishers won’t let us. Rather than wait for the whole thing to come crashing down around us, we need to take a good look at where we’re putting our resources. Right now a huge percentage of our library budgets go to renting temporary access to walled gardens planted by publishers who decide what grows there. This is not sustainable. It’s not a responsible use of resources. We need to work with those who create knowledge to find a model that serves all of our needs and not just locally, but globally.

I’m looking at you, faculty. Are you ready to help us figure this out?

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The End (or Future) of Publishing ?

Posted by Editor on March 16, 2010

Interesting, eh?  Read more here:

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Journals Going Digital Only–Lessons for Librarians AND Faculty!

Posted by Editor on July 14, 2009

from the Krafty Librarian at

July 14th, 2009

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently published an article about the American Chemical Society ending the print editions and begin producing only online journals for all but three of their journals.  It was a financial decision.  “Printing and distribution costs now exceed revenues from print journals,” according to a story in Ars Technica which The Chronicle sites.

On the biomedical side of things BMJ was one of the first journals to use the online version as their official version instead of the printed version.  BMJ’s “continuous publication” means that all articles appear on before being included in an issue of the print journal. While this has caused some among readers and librarians, it is clearly a just the beginning of what is soon to come.

Advertising dollars, subscriptions, and even article submissions are all affected in some way as the switch from the printed issue to the online issue happens within the publishing industry.  In some areas there are great opportunities and promise with an online article such as the multitude of ways that data, images, sound, etc. can now be better represented.  But for every growth opportunity there will be some growing pains….

As we move away from the printed issue librarians and readers will need to wean themselves off of page numbers and rely upon the doi for citation and reference purposes.  It is a little awkward but doable.  One big hurdle we librarians must start to deal with is archives.  If a journal goes all online such as the American Chemical Society journals, there is no printed issue subscription to hold in archives on our shelves.  The debate about keeping the print copy for just in case circumstances becomes pointless if there is no print edition to keep.  ILL issues need to be ironed out a little better.  It is common fair use policy to ILL a copy or scanned image of the printed article to another library via email or Illiad.  Things get murky when dealing with the online copy.  Some journal publishers have adopted the same fair use policies for their online editions as they have for the printed editions.  Other publishers have far more restrictive policies on fair use and ILL of the online article.  A great many publishers do not have any policies regarding ILL and their online articles.

Finally we as librarians need to start looking at ourselves and our libraries to see how we are set up to handle the transition.  We are already beginning to see some of this in the shifting perception of the library as a repository of information to an information services provider. As librarians we need to evaluate how we personally are ready for this kind of shift.  Do we know our IP ranges?  Are we aware of the journals that have wonky ILL policies for online editions?  Do we have access methods established (A-Z, LinkOut, etc.)?  Do we have education and elevator speeches ready to help some of our patrons?  How are we doing in ”training” our administration to not be fooled into thinking that just because it is online it is cheaper or free?  There are other issues and challenges to consider, these are just a few that I can easily think of and describe….see entire posting here:

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From the CHE: For Advice on Publishing in the Digital World, Scholars Turn to Campus Libraries…

Posted by Editor on November 19, 2008

“Rapidly changing” is the term most often used these days to describe the landscape of scholarly communication. Scholars have to clear new and higher hurdles as they bump up against copyright and fair-use issues, open-access mandates, and a baffling array of publication and dissemination models.

How much of his own published work can a scholar post on a personal Web site without raising his publisher’s ire? How much of someone else’s work can he use in his course pack without trampling on fair use and risking a fine or legal action? How does a researcher upload her work to her institution’s repository, and are there consequences if she opts out? Those are just some of the questions that professors may find themselves tripping over.

Where can researchers find a guide to lead them through this 21st-century obstacle course?

The library, of course…

See entire article at:

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Impact of Open Access Publishing of Society Journals…

Posted by Editor on September 10, 2008

Something to think about from the Publishing Archeology site: 

What if the Society for American Archaeology were to make its journals Open Access?


What would be the positive and negative impacts if the SAA were to transform its scholarly journals (American Antiquity, “AA;” and Latin American Antiquity, “LAA”) from Toll Access to Open Access (“OA”)? This entry is a thought experiment whose purpose is to stimulate thinking about OA issues. I’m sure there are relevant factors that I am unaware of or can’t think of right now.

Positive Impacts

  1. Improved quality of articles and book reviews.
  2. Vastly increased access to the journal.
  3. Faster publication of articles and the reduction of backlogs.
  4. Journal web sites.
  5. An opportunity for journal reorganization….

Negative Impacts

  1. Loss of subscription revenue.
  2. Potential death of the printed versions of the journals….

The entire posting is at:


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ARL Offers Learning Opportunity — Scholarly Communication Outreach: Crafting Messages that Grab Faculty Attention

Posted by Editor on August 29, 2008

To be held March 11-12, 2009 in Seattle

  • Librarians supporting scholarly-communication programs want to know how to identify issues that will resonate with faculty at their institutions and how to present those issues in ways that generate positive engagement with faculty. If this describes your situation, you won’t want to miss the new ARL/ACRL Institute on Scholarly Communication workshop “Scholarly Communication Outreach: Crafting Messages that Grab Faculty Attention,” March 11–12, 2009, in Seattle, Washington.
  • In the tradition of other Institute events, this workshop will emphasize active learning and hands-on work by participants, both individually and in groups. Throughout the workshop, participants will have structured opportunities to reflect on how to apply what they are learning to their own institution’s outreach activities, to share information and test ideas, and to begin planning for future outreach.

More info about the workshop here:

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