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European Documentation Centres: what are they for, what is their future?

Posted by Andrew Dunn on 9 June, 2015

Notes from European Documentation Training: Brussels June 2015

European Documentation Centres were set up to allow the citizens of the EU to participate in a debate about the EU. Their mission was to promote teaching and research of the EU and to make information on all aspects of the EU – from the economy to the environment to health – available to the wider public. Their role was not so much to provide information as to facilitate communication and their establishment was seen as good policy rather than an obligatory function of the European Union.

However, even as far back as 1985 it was calculated that an EDC cost the EU between €10k and €12k a year. In recent years, faced with every decreasing and restrained budgets, the EU has distributed more communications online and less via the medium of print, leaving EDCs with closed or very slow growing collections and a falling number of users.

The delegates at the EU documentation training event were asked to advise the newly-formed pan-European working group on the future of EDCs on ways to take the EDC forward. Over the course of 2 hours of discussions the following points were raised:

EDCs have to face the digital reality. Lots of their documentation is online, fewer and fewer print documents of significance are being sent out by the EU. Users are by-passing EDCs and going straight to Google to find EU documentation.

However, EU documentation is available from a myriad of sources. Refined and sophisticated searches are possible on these platforms though usability is not necessarily intuitive. EDCs will still have a role then in the future but the emphasis will be more on training users in online discovery. Delegates at the training event were unanimous in calling for EDCs to remain a discreet, physical space where people can seek out support in information retrieval and some still saw a role for print documents in that physical space; others envisaged a more world café type set-up with computers available for online access to information.  It has to be stressed though that some historic documents are still not online – digitisation of COM Docs, for example, has only reached the 80s so print is still essential in some cases.

All agreed EDCs need to work on promotion to increase visibility and attract users back to use our services. There was also a widely-supported call for EDCs around Europe to work more collaboratively to create a network in which to share best practice and to make open-source training materials for end users.

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Posted in Offical Publications, Open Access, Subject Support | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Implementing Finch (29 November 2012)

Posted by Helen on 13 December, 2012

This conference was hosted by the Academy of Social Sciences and looked at the implementation of the recommendations of the Finch Review for Open Access publishing in the UK.I attended the first day of the conference which focused on the impact for those involved in the arts, humanities and social sciences. It was an informative day and it was particularly interesting to hear the sharp differences in opinion voiced by PVCs, administrators, librarians and individual researchers.

A full report by the Academy with photos, presentations and video will shortly be available at http://www.acss.org.uk/  but I have included a few short summaries of the key speakers below.

Janet Finch
The authors of the Finch report were an independent group commissioned by government. The Government had a clear objective of what they wanted to achieve and the group were asked to advise on this. They were not there to debate whether change was necessary or advisable. It was not part of their remit to look at data, only peer reviewed publications (journal articles). It was seen as a moral imperative that if the tax payer pays, the tax payer should be able to access the research.

The main recommendation of the working group was a mixed economy between subscription journals and ‘author pays’ for foreseeable future. The balance should shift over time. The Finch report did not say that we should immediately move to gold open access, simply that policy should be set in this direction. It was envisaged that University presses will have an increasing role in the future. The transition should be gradual to avoid destabilisation. Disciplines will have to move at different speeds to accommodate these changes. Positive engagement is needed, particularly in the Arts & Humanities.

It was envisaged that University presses will have an increasing role in the future. The transition should be gradual to avoid destabilisation. Disciplines will have to move at different speeds to accommodate these changes. Positive engagement is needed, particularly in the Arts & Humanities.

Paul Hubbard (Head of Research Policy, HEFCE)
Academic publishing is at a crossroads. In the print age the subscription journal had an important role to play but it is no longer necessary.  The business model will have to change. HEFCE are very keen on institutional repositories because they ensure sustainability and cement the notion that it is the job of the research community to look after their output.

It was suggested that for REF 2020 items should be as freely available as possible, with regard to practical constraints and to requirements and policies of other research funders. Considerations for REF 2020 would include the format of the text and the level of open access (likely to be gold). Due time would have to be allowed for compliance, monitoring and verification. It was emphasized that none of this had implications for REF 2014.

Charlotte Waelde (Professor of Intellectual Property Law, Exeter)
It was hoped that copyright would play a small but key part in the open access landscape, but in fact it has no part. The law of copyright is not an impediment to the Finch implementations. But attribution is still vital as is respecting the integrity of the work. It was deemed vital to get the chain of permissions correct so third parties can use with confidence. CC BY is suggested as the best Creative Commons licence to use in the Finch report. CC BY means that credit is required for the author, moral rights are not affected, and the content can be shared, remixed, and used commercially. This enables broadest possible use by third parties.

Jude England (Head of Social Sciences, The British Library)
She discussed the implications of Finch for libraries but emphasized that the Finch report sits within the changing information landscape. The focus of her talk was on libraries of the future and what they will need to do to adapt. The role of libraries has changed, as has the physical appearance. There is now more collaborative space, longer opening hours, and more electronic provision. In terms of the growing areas of data management, rights and permissions management, and open access, it was crucial that libraries should provide training for staff and students in what all of this means.

The speed of transition from print to digital was discussed and it was suggested that by 2017 no print-only journals would exist and only a small percentage would exist in parallel with digital editions. How will libraries cope with the huge digital storage requirements?

Open Access was viewed as eventually resolving the issues of access, permissions, authentication barriers, subscriptions etc. that libraries always have to think about. In an open access future librarians would need to advise and help with discoverability. It was envisaged that OA would reduce the importance of libraries in developing institutional collections but increase role of managing the institutional repository. Libraries would increasingly need to work together to share functions and resources. Librarians would play a significant role in helping students understand the new landscape.

Lynne Brindley (Former Chief Executive, The British Library)
The Finch report was described as a ‘tour de force’ and praised for raising consciousness of open access. It was acknowledged that the path to implementation was contestable and that it was vital to make the transition without imploding the system.

Gold OA means that publishers receive the revenues from authors rather than those who read the articles. Research articles are freely accessible and conditions around reuse are minimal.

Green OA is seen as the only true route for many OA advocates. Articles in post-print version are made available in institutional repositories subject to embargoes.

How does this apply to arts and humanities? The focus of Finch was journal articles but they do not represent the highest volume of research output for the arts and humanities. Research monographs must be included in the wider debate, as must the peer review process.

Lynne discussed four key areas:
1.    Institutional publication funds. How is the mechanism for allocation going to work in the individual university? Who is going to decide and how transparent will this process be? Will the library budget be raided?
2.    Learned societies. If the subscription model goes, what happens to the other activities of the society? They would need adequate time for adjustment.
3.    Big commercial publishers. Does the Finch report hand publishers victory on a plate? Will we be paying twice? Paying journals up front (APCs) feels like a defeat for green OA advocates.
4.    Libraries. Opportunities and threats. They have long played a role in licence negotiations and are now involved in institutional repositories. How sustainable will repositories be in the new environment? Services will have to develop to support the publication fund.

She concluded by saying that it is disappointing that there is no implementation plan because the report has given an impetus to progress. A more extended period for awareness raising would be ideal.

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eMRSG Meeting

Posted by selinalock on 17 September, 2012

 

I had lunch with Katie Fraser overlooking the lake at the University of Nottingham.

On Tuesday 11th September Helen Steele & I visited the University of Nottingham for the East Midlands Research Support Group meeting.

The first half of the meeting was about the creation of online learning resources for researchers (presented by Wendy Stanton & Helen Young), which you can find out more about on the eMRSG website. Some of the interesting points the group found when creating the online resources and talking to researchers were:

  • Researchers prefer online tutorials to be 10-30mins and include visuals, links, quizzes and screencasts.
  • They also prefer peer support, which was not an option for the current online tutorial project.
  • Skills they rated highly and think researchers should develop = literature search planning, assessing quality information and in-depth knowledge of published literature.
  • Tutorial creators thought they would need to present a balanced view – researchers wanted to know how to advance their career in three amazing leaps.
  • Tutorial creators thought they should include high level content such as ‘how to start a journal’ but many researchers were bemused as to why anyone would want to do that!
  • Calling the tutorial ‘Promotion of Research’ was perceived as too aggressive so changed to ‘Dissemination of Research’
  • Content more important than aesthetics – both were important.
  • The ‘Dissemination of your Research’ tutorials are now available under a creative commons license.

The second half of the meeting was a discussion of what the various libraries represented were doing to support research and the future of the group.

Keighton Auditorium, University of Nottingham

Main themes of research support were:

  • Work closely with Graduate School, Research Office, Staff Development/Learning Development.
  • Blogs, websites or Blackboard sites to bring scattered resources together as a one stop shop for research support within institutions.
  • Research Data Management – big theme for the future, how to support, where funds are coming from, working closely with IT Services etc.
  • Looking at different ways of engaging researchers – training sessions, Elevenses, attending appropriate committees, blogs, social media.
  • Mapping training and support on to the Researcher Development Framework.
  • Library support costed into research bids e.g. systematic reviews
  • Institutional repository data and REF.
  • OA publishing – how Finch Report will affect things – how/where OA funds placed and managed – what about institutions not receiving extra funds from Government?
  • Modules or moderated courses on information literacy and research skills for PGRs.
  • How to measure impact of training provided.
  • Contacting new staff/researchers on arrival (if possible).
  • Reference Management training and support.
  • Some libraries (like our new team at Leicester) have staff specifically responsible for research support, others it is part of the remit for all subject librarians.
  • Catalogue of Research Equipment (across the M5 group, as announced today here at Leicester) – could the equipment catalogue be linked to research data and research publications? (Loughborough investigating this).
  • Research Support Space within the library.
  • Challenges = time, resource, funding, do we know what researchers really want/need?

It was a really useful afternoon and everyone in attendance agreed that it would be useful to have a few meetings every year and keep in touch regarding developments to research support within the East Midlands. The next meeting will be hosted here at the University of Leicester in March, provisionally on Open Access Publishing Funds and the affects of the Finch Report.

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UKSG Introduction to Open Access Day

Posted by selinalock on 25 July, 2012

UKSG OA DAY
Another belated event report as I attended this in May. Recent events, such as the UK Government taking on most of the Finch Report recommendations (e.g. to make publically funded research results open access by 2014) have taken over the Open Access (OA) discussion. However, I think many of the points made below are still relevant:

Review of the traditional commercial pricing models for accessing electronic content  
James Pawley, Regional Sales Manager, SAGE Publications

-James started with a historical reminder of why people publish in the first place – the same reasons as the first journal ‘Philosophical Transactions’ was published by the Royal Society.

– To share knowledge while providing evidence for, and getting credit for your discoveries. – in the past this might get you patronage, now it might get you finding…

– The publishing ecosytem has developed since the introduction of ejournals in the 1990s and now the main competitors for publishers are Amazon & Google as these raise user expectations.

– Business costs – editorial board (to ensure scope, quality, prestige), platforms & discoverability tools – electronic publishing is not cheaper than publishing in print due to the metadata, user platform, citation tools, stats provision etc.

– Publishers need to be at cutting edge to keep submissions and quality high.

– E is also not cheaper than print due to VAT regs, complicated subscriptions models and being governed by different contract law to print.

What is Open Access and how does it differ?  
Charlie Rapple, Associate Director, TBI Communications

– Religion, politics & money – affects OA & for some OA is a religion!

– OA is young in publishing terms so not enough data yet to assess how viable a business model & data available is biased.

– Have to make your own mind up & keep an open mind…

– Green & Gold levels – green = self-archiving/OA repositories, gold = publisher version is OA or hybrid solutions

– OA is not… non-profit, the death of peer review (though may undertake it in a different way), not embraced by majority of academics at this point (it is not a priority for them – they want speedy publication, high impact etc), a panacea that will create savings everywhere (costs just move to a different place), not the only answer to the problems of scholarly publishing

– Benefits of OA – human genome project (funding this & making it OA had an enormous economic & research impact), some evidence for higher citations (but would that be true if everything OA?), might save money (but might just move costs elsewhere)

– Viable funding model? Author funding – shifts costs but costs still there, Membership funding – OA membership fees will be an easy target for cost cutting.

– Politicians getting involved – politicised: makes is harder to discuss in a sensible manner but has got OA on the agenda

– I want to break free! Current promotion system for academics is driven by publishing in high impact journals – if this doesn’t change then academic publishing won’t change.

– Don’t want to lose the skills, knowledge and value that publishers add – throwing the baby out with the bath water?

– Library skills may need to change in an OA world? Become repository managers instead of content purchasers?

OAPEN-UK  
Exploring open access scholarly monographs in the humanities and social sciences
Caren Milloy, Head of Projects, JISC Collections

– Arts & Hums project looking at scholarly monographs

– Needs to be talked about as it often ignored in favour of STEM journal OA

– Been a decrease in print monograph sales to libraries – so less published – concern for AHSS researchers in terms of getting their research disseminated

– Pilot – 5 publishers, submitted matched pairs of monograph titles, steering group chose titles to include, one of the pair in control group & one in experimental group, 58 titles. Control group made available as standard by publisher & experimental group made available OA under CC license (PDF version for free) through OapenUK library – can be put into institutional repositories etc as well & in Google books

– Key areas identified across focus groups:

– Metadata (needed for discoverability, auditing, who creates it? who maintains it? what is needed for OA? is it put into the supply chain, and whose version? most find things by searching so metadata vital)

– Versioning, preservation & archiving (CC commons license means people can re-use, mash-up – researchers felt threatened by this option & wanted preservation of their original version. who preserves & archives? )

– Methods of delivery (where should it be available? central platform, or anywhere? format & functionality?)

– Usage (collection of data & standards for that data – vital for assessing value & impact & for researchers to know)

– Quality & prestige (perceptions of brand, reputation, quality & maintaining excellence. High concern about the quality of monographs being lowered)

– What do authors want? (Researchers say they want prestige, while publishers thought authors wanted financial reward)

– Copyright

– International issues (territories & markets)

– Changing roles (what stays, what goes – authors value the marketing from publishers. Authors do not want to do own marketing)

– Impact on processes (policies, mandates & behaviour)

– Ways of Making OA profitable, Risk, Funding

– oapen-uk.jiscebooks.org

Repositories Support Project  
The work of the RSP in supporting repository development in the UK
Jackie Wickham, Open Access Adviser , University of Nottingham

– Supports public access to public funded data – serves UK Higher Education

– OA repository benefits for institutions – showcase for research output, marketing mechanism, REF/research management, complying with funding mandates, management & preservation of assets, encourages collaboration.

– Benefits for academics – in principle academics support OA, but not in practice due to pressure for high impact publishing, faster dissemination, wider readership, increased citations.

– Benefits if they do deposit in repositories = compliance with funding mandate, secure storage environment, personalise services (stats on downloads, personal profiles/bibliographies as webpages etc)

– Study by Swan, A suggested OA citation advantage (but people disagree with the rigour of these studies!)

– Creative arts research – repositories for arts material can help with visibility & preservation

– RSP based at Notts Uni – offers advice, visits to institutions to support installations, advocacy, evaluations, telephone & email service, advocacy materials & briefing papers on website, buddy scheme, events programme, webinars, embedding repositories project to look at how this can be done (see website), skills training,.

BioMed Central (+ SpringerOpen)  
Bev Acreman, Commercial Director, BioMed Central

– OA Journals = Journal publishing just a different business model.

– Business model – article processing charge APC (also membership, digital sales, events etc)

– BMC offers several package options = prepaid funds, supporter fund (discount on APC), shared support split between author/institution.

– Hindawi = flat rate fee based on size of institution

– PloS = flat rate fee based on size of institution

– Subjects BMC support the authors are used to paying page rates & often built into research bids

– New journal – peerJ are offering a $99 life membership compared to the $1-3k APC of other OA publishers.

– SCONUL survey 2011 – 13% institutions manage OA payments centrally

– 2014 REF – 20% weighting to societal & economic research impact – easier to show if OA as research open to re-use & sharing

– Why funders support OA? Public access to funded research, wide dissemination, APCs are expected as part of research process, some have a charitable remit e.g. Wellcome Trust

– APCs waive fees to low-income countries but all authors can apply for a waiver e.g. lone researcher outside institution

– Growth in fee waived APCs e.g. Pakistand, Eygpt researchers

– Costs – pay academic editors, societies, writing workshops in China (China now has mandate for researchers to publish in western journals) & developing world, customer service, targeted digital marketing, sales team, editorial office & office systems, IT development

– Common misconceptions:

– Will publish anything = No, need to ensure quality & credibility & keep impact high

– All OA equal = no, there are certain companies who sign up to code of conduct, be wary of those that haven’t.

Nature Publishing Group  
David Hoole, Director of IP Policy and Licensing, Nature Publishing Group

– OA at Nature – focusing on it for business development but not something that’s easy to transition to.

– Recognise there is a shift in the balance of rights back towards authors – no longer ask for copyright, just exclusive publication rights.

– 2009/10 started turning most academic journals hybrid & more fully OA journals = sister journals to existing journals.

– Nature Communications born/launched in 2010 as hybrid – Nature branding with OA policy

– 2011 Scientific Reports – seen as competitor to PLoS one

– High rejection rate so looking at what can be done for good research that’s not appropriate for their top journals & efficient use of editorial teams.

– Nature & Nature Research journals are not OA due to the amount of money that is spent on editorial duties rejecting manuscripts (90% rejection rate) – if introduced APC rates would be phenomenal.

– APC for Nature Communications ~£3k – still a 60-70% rejection rate.

– Large amount of editorial input in Nature titles e.g. redrawing of diagrams & restructuring of articles which adds huge amount of value.

– Their OA journals are small & targeted – they are launching new OA journals instead of subscription titles.

– Scientific Reports – all areas of natural sciences, peer-reviewed, 100% OA, rapid dissemination (less editorial input/added value), external editorial board (no other Nature journals have this), online only.

– Should sub prices lower to reflect the amount of OA? APCs don’t generally make up for the loss of revenue if subscription prices are lowered.

– Top tier, high impact journals – high editorial cost as every submission read, high circulation – cannot transition to APC model – APC would be £20-30k per article!

– Nature is 143 years old & does its job well, especially in communicating with the media & dissemination.

– Genome articles in Nature titles are OA because of human genome project being OA & authors insisting on it & have CC licenses for those articles.

– Encourages green self-archiving – can opt-in on many titles for submission to PubMed Central – self-archive after 6 months post publication.

Managing Open Access in the library  
Wendy White, Head of Scholarly Communication, University of Southampton

– At Southampton OA repository is designated a core system – good for institutional support but tends to put academics off.

– Not just about the library – also need IT, legal, research services, faculty admins etc

– Requirements & Encouragements (carrot & stick) – requirements to deposit where permitted by publisher, emphasis on author involvement over compliance, University mandates will not win people over, funder mandates then funders need to work with repository staff and academics, focus on author benefits.

– Cost & sustainability needs to be considered in future

– Repositories good at making available grey lit e.g. reports, conference papers, theses, art items

– Downloads & uploads – people want to know how often their work downloaded, need stats, RSS & twitter alerts – marketing & discoverability, Google analytics. Even amount of uploads – don’t want big deadlines & backlogs.

– Adding value & support – need to be part of researcher workflow so provide tools to make things easy – lots of ways of importing & exporting between systems.

– Adding value by gaining expertise – guidance on copyright & versions, quality assurance for metadata, engaging with researchers about developments in OA etc, linking the repository to other relevant services & uses in the Uni & professional development for library staff so they can communicate with researchers.

– Individual & group support – training for PGRs and research community, embedded where possible, bespoke session for Depts, session for copyright for teaching materials & OA educational objects, one-to-one support, enquiry service, support for new staff – does require resources.

Managing Open Access fees  
Chris Middleton, Head of Academic Services, Information Services,
University of Nottingham 

– Centrally managed fund for OA fees – challenges & admin issues:

– Drivers for institutional funding is the benefits of OA & the funder mandates.

– Notts have policy for OA e.g. deposit and encouraging OA publishing – need to back up with appropriate funding.

– Research income can be channelled to OA fund – build into research grant application e.g. in the indirect costs in the funding bid (retrospective – institution has to pay and then claim back – quite a complicated and not transparent in funding guideline)

– Notts OA fund is managed by research office but advocated by library

– Nottingham – had fund since 2006, which includes advocating the use of Wellcome Trust money

– Embedded in Faculty Team librarians remit when talking to researchers

– Total number of requests over 5 years = 615. From 27 requests 2006-7 to 262 in 2010-11

– Total costs = £714,244

– Average cost per article = £1,216. Highest = £3,095 (Elsevier/Springer) & Lowest = ~£200

– Mainly medicine & life sciences

– Apart from BMC then only 9 publishers received 10 or more payments (70 publishers overall)

– Biggest challenge = future publishing = costs high

– Changes might come from Research Councils, REF, repositories, future publishing models?

– Challenges of advocacy = OA and high impact are mutually exclusive, lack of awareness of funding options, stigma associated with “vanity publishing” (paying to publish), OA seen as not as high quality

– Repository & central fund is managed within existing staff resource, which is a strain.

Panel Discussion

– Lots of interest in how to set-up a central fund, do you fund first author or any author, split between several institutions if multiple authors? What’s the best value OA model if subscribing as a membership – may depend on area of publication & rate of publication. How to make sure the right fund is used e.g. central fund or Wellcome fund. Nottingham fought hard to say central fund should be funded from research money as it’s a research related cost (not from library journals fund).

Posted in Meetings, Open Access, Research Support | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

LRA Top Accessed Items: January 2012

Posted by gazjjohnson on 14 February, 2012

  1. Social inclusion, the museum and the dynamics of sectoral change (Sandell, Richard) (2381/52)

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Top LRA Items for November 2011

Posted by gazjjohnson on 5 December, 2011

Here are the most accessed items on the LRA in November 2011

  1. Financial Development, Economic Growth and Stock Market Volatility: Evidence from Nigeria and South Africa Ndako, Umar Bida
  2. High Performance Work Practices: Work Intensification or ‘Win-win’? Sparham, Eimer et al
  3. The propagation of VHF and UHF radio waves over sea paths Sim, Chow Yen Desmond
  4. Social inclusion, the museum and the dynamics of sectoral change Sandell, Richard
  5. Facebook, social integration and informal learning at university: ‘It is more for socialising and talking to friends about work than for actually doing work’ Madge, Clare et al
  6. Ethics and Plagiarism – helping undergraduates write right Willmott, Christopher J.R. et al
  7. Introducing undergraduate students to scientific reports Willmott, Christopher J.R. et al
  8. The List of Threatening Experiences: a subset of 12 life event categories with considerable long-term contextual threat Brugha, Traolach S. et al
  9. Measuring the efficiency of European airlines: an application of DEA and Tobit Analysis Fethi, Meryem Duygun et al
  10. Optimal Number of Response Categories in Rating Scales: Reliability, Validity, Discriminating Power, and Respondent Preferences Preston, Carolyn C. et al

An interesting split with the top half of the table being mainstays from recent months, but with the lower half all being new materials. Notably the articles by Chris Willmott (et al) had been actively marketed by the academic this month, with links back to the LRA as the primary access route. Notably, fewer theses than in recent months are also seen in the table.

Don’t forget you can follow all the new additions to the LRA on twitter – UoLLRA.

Posted in Leicester Research Archive, Research Support | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

6000th Record added to the LRA

Posted by gazjjohnson on 25 February, 2011

6000 AwardCupSound the fanfares!  I’m delighted to announce that we’ve added the 6,000th record to the Leicester Research Archive this week. 

Since the LRA is currently growing at around 1,600 items a year thanks to the hard work of Rob, Margaret and Valérie I’d expect we’ll easily see the 7,000 record this year (and with the implementation of the IRIS project perhaps even the 20,000th record!)

Posted in Leicester Research Archive | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

USTLG Winter Meeting 2

Posted by selinalock on 8 December, 2010

This follow on with my report of the USTLG Winter Meeting.

Finding the known unknowns and the unknown knowns, Yvonne Nobis, University of Cambridge.

  • Talked about their development of the http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/scienceportal/website aimed specifically at researchers (which I know some of our researchers rather like the look of!)
  • Researchers often don’t known what they’re looking for: unknown unknowns, as research skills might need updating, looking for something outside their field or don’t know where to begin.
  • Scientists don’t tend to use the Cambridge libraries (over 100 of them so confusing system) and they want everything electronically so looking for a way to meet their needs.
  • Found most visitors to the science library are those looking for historical (print) information, or students wanting a place to study.
  • ~95% journal are online and ~95% of monographs are still print only.
  • In response to this they will now scan on demand from their own collections for Cambridge researchers (currently a free service as charging would have copyright law implications).
  • As the staff would often need to retrieve these items from storage the scanning has not added too much extra effort.
  • Science librarians at Cambridge do a lot of training of early career researchers.
  • Science@Cambridge contextualises information within a subject area to help researchers start their searching.
  • Includes a federated search option where relevant databases have been chosen (to steer researchers away from just using Google Scholar as they don’t realise what scholar doesn’t index: unknown unknowns).
  • Trying to make resource discovery as easy as possible.
  • Have problems with making eBooks easy to access, especially individual titles on catalogue records.
  • Trialled using chat with subject  librarians but not really worked so looking at centralising enquiries more.
  • Training branded through College or Computing Services gets a better turn out than library branded training.

We use a similar idea to Science@Cambridge in our subject rooms, but could learn more from them when redeveloping our Rooms as part of our digital library overhaul? Hopefully using Summon in future will make resource discovery easier at Leicester

Lunch!

Obviously the most important part of any conference is the lunch provided. This time it was a good spread sponsored by Wiley Publishers, and in a very unexpected place…

USTLG Lunch in a Church!

Lunch in the Divinity School

USTLG Lunch 2

Citations Count! Experience of providing researcher training on bibliometrics, citations and Open Access publishing. Kate Bradbury,  Cardiff University.

  • Training in citation data in response to REF raising interest in bibliometrics, funders requesting bibliometric data, help deciding where to publish and to promote work. 
  • Training covers: WoS/Scopus/Google Scholar, looking for data in other sources (e.g. book citations, full text resources which include references), what each database provides e.g. impact factors, increasing citations, using open access publishing and repositories.
  • Format of training: 30 min talk and 1 hr hands-on using workbooks – activities such as finding impact factors, setting up citation alerts, looking at OA resource and using ResearcherID.
  • Also do shorter, tailored talks for Departmental meetings etc.
  • Sessions dones for subject librarians, staff development programme, specific schools/depts (e.g. Comp Sci, Engin, Psychology) and within seminar series.
  • Lessons learnt: avoid too much detail, stay up to date with new database features and REF, emphasis benefits to researchers, takes time to build interest in training, targeted sessions best, be flexible & adapt sessions to suit audience, be prepared for discussions about the validity and use of bibliometrics!
  • Stance taken: explain how to find information but leave it up to the researchers to decide if it is useful to them, including discussion of pros/cons of bibliometrics.
  • Types of questions asked:
  • How to pay for OA publishing?
  • Shouldn’t we just write controversial articles to up our citations?
  • What about highly cited, poor research?
  • My journals not indexed in WoS, how do I get citation info?
  • How to find book citation info?
  • What about self-citations? Will they be excluded from REF?
  • BMJ article said no observable citation advantage from OA publishing…
  • Can I import articles on in WoS into ResearcherID? (can do, but tricky)
  • What is a good H-Index to have?
  • Doesn’t H-Index just reflect length of career?
  • Where’s the best place to put an OA article?
  • I use a subject repository so why also use institutional repository?
  • I don’t want an early version of my work available…
  • What next in terms of training? – Continue with sessions, support subject librarians to run their own sessions, introduce Bristol Online Survey to collect feedback from attendees, respond to individual follow-up questions and do a separate presentation on OA publishing.

USTLG Lunch

Wiley Publishers: WIREs, Alexa Dugan.
Next up was our sponsor for the day Wiley talking about their new product:

  • WIREs = Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews.
  • Reference work meets journal review article –  a new concept in publishing.
  • Have been finding it difficult to find authors/researchers with enough time to devote to writing traditional reference works, especially as those works do not gain professional recognition .i.e. they are not indexed or cited.
  • WIREs is Wiley’s answer to this: invited content with high quality editorship, drawing on their research journal community ties (so like a reference work), but also managed to get them indexed in major databases and WoS so the authors can get recognition.
  • Each Review has a carefully thought out structure, which is kept up to date with a range of article types e.g. focus (news) articles, opinion pieces, basic reviews, advanced reviews etc.
  • Content is added every two months (so serial like a journal) & articles retain their title and DOIs for citation purposes.
  • One of their flagship titles: Climate Change Review has won several awards already.
  • FREE for first two years: wires.wiley.com
  • USTLG Conference

    Getting Interactive

Researcher@Library – becoming part of the research cycle, Katy Sidwell, University of Leeds.

  • Leeds, like many of us, have managed to get a certain amount of library training embedded or offered to PhD students, but what about Academics and other Researchers?
  • Started to think about how to support researchers so thought about the life cycle of a research project:
  • Ides (pre-funding) – Planning (finding application) – Action (research/life of grant) – Dissemination – Application (of research knowledge/transfer) – back to beginning of cycle.
  • They got us to think about how we all support these stages of the cycle & feedback (using post it notes – a good bit of interactivity to wake us all up!).
  • What they (and from the feedback, others might do) are:
  • Ideas = library collections, current awareness & literature search training.
  • Planning =  Identify funding sources ^ support research bids (though in Leeds this only happens in particular areas as it’s labour intensive and unscaleable).
  • Action = PhD workshops, bibliographic management, lit search support, data management advice, user behaviour research, friendly space for researchers.
  • Dissemination = RAE/REF support, etheses online, institutional repository, publications database.
  • Application = intellectual property advice (Business officer), market research for knowledge transfer e.g. patents.
  • Hard for researchers to know about training – where/how to promote?
  • Created a website for researchers to bring together the various things available to them (need user needs analysis to find out what to put there).
  • Researchers wanted a website that was not solely library resources/focused, not tutorial but advice that could be dipped into at appropriate time, simple navigation, no login but not really basic advice – appropriate to their level.
  • library.leeds.ac.uk/researcher
  • Work in progress – need to clarify purpose, look at navigation issues, obtain feedback and roll out across other faculties.
  • Where now? – created Library Researcher Support Group to continue the work and look at how it fits in with the new Vitae researcher development framework.

A good day all round. The presentations from the day can now be viewed at the USTLG site.

Posted in Meetings, Open Access, Research Support, Service Delivery, Subject Support, Wider profession | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

All about OTTERS – a day on open educational resources

Posted by gazjjohnson on 3 September, 2010

Today I went down to the BDRA to attend a day on the OTTER project and OERs (open educational resources/repositories).  Educational object repositories are a little to the left of my working experience, so this was a great opportunity to find out a little more.  The aim of the day was to give an overview of OTTER and OERs in a broader sense.

We began by seeking to define what an OER was – something that could be reused, re-purposed, freely available, and discrete (not embedded within an environment).  The primary concerns over using them are currency, sustainability and quality control.  IPR/licensing to use/reuse is also an issue – especially third party rights of contents embedded within items.  Interestingly there is a lot of use of these objects by Leicester students for their revision, not simply those produced at Leicester.  Noted that MIT with their Open Courseware have been leading in this field for at least 12 years.

(Incidentally my favourite learning object is on  Kongregate – a game that teaches cellular physiology.)

OTTER is mounted on PLONE, and of course JORUM Open is more well known – as this links to OERs in all kinds of teaching environments. OTTER over-delivered on their target credits material – almost 500 credits worth of material.  Also the CORRE framework for creating and evaluating OERs.

CORRE

We started looking at Content gathering, and IPR/ownership questions were noted – the Uni generally owns copyright in OERs created here, but it was noted there are some cases where this might actually not be as cut and dried.  So OTTER worked with people where this wasn’t going to be a problem.  Even after the gathering there were questions over IPR and that some depts seemed to misunderstand what had been agreed to be supplied.  To get around this the BDRA devised a memorandum of understanding that was an agreement as to what partner depts would supply.  Noted that knowledge of copyright, let alone creative commons was poorly understood by the academic community and that education in this respect is needed.

Next is the Content screening – need to do some assessment of the content before you can decide that it is suitable for conversion into a OER.  OTTER used indicative questions to perform this analysis.  Interesting points about transnational issues over language and spelling were raised.  The amount of local references within OERs was an issue too – OTTER thought it was better to remove them and make them more generic, although other institutions didn’t always agree with this viewpoint – saying users could see past the local references to the reusable model underneath.

Then there is Openness – and the difference between creative commons and copyright.  In South America for example if it’s on the Web the normal assumption, even in the academic sphere, is that it is public domain and rights free.  The question of significant change to create a new object (and how much work is needed to demonstrate this) was raised.  Noted, like the LRA, that OTTER was very rigorous with copyright unlike some of the other projects – and had a series of indicative questions to be asked before an object could be progressed (developed with the consultation of Tania, our Copyright Administrator)

Next transformation – which is about enhancing the existing teaching materials as it becomes a OER, effectively making it an object independent of other resources that can be used on its own.  It may require restructuring – en.g. a lecture may be designed to work in a certain context, but as an OER its structure will need to be re-examined.

Then we looked at formatting and standardisation, making sure that final file formats are appropriate and openable by as wide a range of end users as possible.  It is also about making sure that metadata, and embedded metadata within the OER is  appropriate.  This was a manual process.  There was quite a discussion around the use of iTunesU and YouTube as alternative locations for mounting some OERs, the advantage being the discoverability would be enhanced by their search tools and greater visibility to a broader audience.  however, in contrast downloading of some objects can be restricted on these services, unlike from your own OER where you can control this more.

Now in Sahm’s words we move into a fashion parade – or Reuse and Repurpose – thinking about the end users and how they will be using it.  So these are questions to ask the various groups, although you can use your own in-house team to go through the tool kit questions.  Noted how they validated the materials by running it past real user groups e.g. EMALinc event with librarians.

Finally there is Evidence – this is about the impact and what is the value to teachers and learners around the wold, how do we measure it?  Senior management is more interested in evidence of impact, but as a teacher you will be more interested in the anecdotal evidence from learners on how these resources have helped in their learning experience.  like the LRA they use Google Analytics to track the quantitative data.  However, after all this effort and only 9 people use a resource the question of “worth” arises.  Hard to demonstrate what people get out of it – or what they would have not got, had the resource not existed.  Talked about MIT taking 10 years to demonstrate worth of their Open Courseware site. Akin to libraries making many materials available that few people use – but if they weren’t there, it would have diminished someone’s learning experience.

Applying CORRE

At this point we closed for lunch. After lunch we looked at some demos of objects in the Leicester OER, including a video with some upside down bits.  Following this we applied the CORRE framework to our own teaching examples – in my group’s case Marta from SDSS’ session on evaluating evidence.  We touched on the need to redesign teaching session objects from the ground up, if they were to fit through the CORRE framework – as they stand there is too little context to make them work alone, or too much referencing to other materials.

Finally the day reflected on how OERs and designing for openness has impacted on the work of the BDRA.  In particular thinking about stuff they are designing with this in mind from the start; alongside designing for the student.  They ask themselves “Can we make it open and can we enhance visibility for ourselves and our work through making it into an open resource?”

——–

Overall this was an enjoyable and engaging day, and the chance to think about CORRE I think could have filled an entire day if we’d worked through it methodically.  Even though I don’t do that much teaching these days I found plenty to think about, and look forward to future engagements with the BDRA.

Slides will be available on the OTTER sige, along with the podcast from the day (with the odd audible comment from me on it).

Posted in Open Access, Projects, Subject Support | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Google Books & Libraries

Posted by gazjjohnson on 18 May, 2010

In the last couple of weeks Google Books has been something that’s been on the lips of myself and some of my colleagues. A confession, until last week I’d read a fair number of articles about it, but hadn’t actually pointed my browser towards it at all. No particular reason for not doing that, save for the face that I’d had no particular reason for doing that either. However, at first glance it is a very interesting site for the public and students alike that raise’s a few questions over how we, in the library, could/should be using it. And so like all good managers, I deputised one of my staff to find out more about it – and so my thanks to my Copyright Officer Tania Rowlett for the following notes.

US, UK & Downunder
It appears that Google books reached an agreement with the Association of American Publishers and the Authors Guild concerning the digitisation of their books, which essentially said the following in relation to books published in the US, UK, Canada and Australia:

  • In-copyright books could be previewed and purchased (unless the author/publisher ‘turned off’ the title) within the realms of fair use (a limited amount similar to our 5%/ chapter)
  • Out of copyright books will continue to be readable, downloadable and printable (which may be why it is more useful for Museum Studies/Archaeology/History documents)

HOWEVER, they also state that “Because this agreement resolves a United States lawsuit, it directly affects only those users who access Book Search in the U.S.; anywhere else, the Book Search experience won’t change. Going forward, we hope to work with international industry groups and individual rights holders to expand the benefits of this agreement to users around the world.”.

So, people accessing Google books from the US may be able to access more content than we [in the UK] can, but this should still only be within the above fair limits, which is supported by their statement: “whenever you can see more than a few snippets of an in-copyright book in Google Books, it’s because the author or publisher has joined our Partner Program and granted us permission to show you the Sample Pages View, which helps you learn enough about a book to know whether you want to buy it. This is something we do with a publisher’s explicit permission.

Overseas
In addition, Google books have not reached a settlement/agreement with other countries, and certainly France and Germany appear to be unhappy about the project, so books from other countries ‘may’ be available but may not remain so. Having said that, if an item is accessible, then it is likely to be so for the foreseeable future (I’ll keep everyone posted on developments), and might be a useful addition to the search process.

Information Librarian Support
What has been notable is when we look at some of the books on reading lists here at Leicester, certainly not all the books are available.  In addition even for those that are on Google Books there are sections and chapters that are missing.  Some of the books are even ones that we may well have access to in print or electronically by other sources too.  What it means for my team is something we will need to discuss in-house – should we for example start to check Google Books more as a resource for satisfying our DL and DS requests, or not?  There are a number of advantages certainly to the students (speed of resolution of requests for one) but how stable are the resources on there?  How frequently do they change?  And what steps are other higher education libraries taking towards embracing this swelling collection of accessible texts?

I might also add that there is also an information literacy component here, in that the students may need user and awareness training if they are to take to using Google Books as one of their regular resources.  Which again raises the question over the reliability of access.  It doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon, and so once again we may need to adapt to this new information frontier.

Posted in Copyright & Course Packs, Document Supply, Subject Support, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

JISC Conference: April 13th 2010

Posted by gazjjohnson on 15 April, 2010

Round the corner from the conferenceThis Tuesday I travelled down to the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in a very sunny Westminster to attend the annual JISC Conference.  This event draws a lot of senior people from across the educational sector; and it’s possible to run into more than a few VCs over coffee.  It’s also a rich opportunity to hear from the broadest cross section of educational computing projects.  What follows are my notes

 The day was introduced by Malcolm Reed and Chair of JISC then JISC Chair Sir Timothy O’Shea. Spoke about current value as well as what the impact the UK election and reduced funding means we as a sector will be dealing with.  The next 10 years will be difficult as the environmental impact as well as funding will impact on HE computing.  He highlighted an article in the Guardian (14/Apr/2010) on HE, commenting that it complemented the lively pre-conference debate 150 people yesterday led by JISC Vice-Chair.  Suggested to go back and have one key thing to implement.

Martin Bean, VC OU: The Learning Journey: From Informal to Formal

A packed hall of listeners

An anarchist at heart who sought to spark discussions and possibly put a few backs up; with imitable Australian bravado.  Distance education is on fire – because you cannot build enough brick and mortar institutions to keep pace with growth in HE; and thus need to look at alternative delivery modes.  Distance learning is growth area, as cannot build enough brick and mortar HEIs.  But 1/3 HE students are in private institutions – going to see a growth in private organisations providing this kind of educational role.

 Challenges for the custodians – need to educate citizens for new kinds of work.  STEM is key for a competitive workforce for the next 10-50-100 years for innovation.  Need to think about transformation of information into meaningful knowledge.  John Naisbitt book Megatrends was mentioned.  Learning in the workplace needs to become essential, and supported by HEIs more.

 Modern students need constant stimulation and hate complexity (among other aspects of their  desires) but does this mean we need to dumb down our degrees, or shouldn’t we adapt to the modern student expectations?  Is there nothing to be said for a proper old fashioned solid and complex education, I wondered  – where does that take us in terms of teaching critical thinking?

 What can be done to break down the barriers?  Multichannel.  YouTube and iTunes university – 342,000 downloads a week for the OU – in the top 10 in U channel; and most of that traffic comes from outside the UK, pay off is that many of their new students first encounter the OU in this way and are drawn in by the brand.  Informal learning, more cooperative environment and need for flexibility for educational institutions.  LLL need the ability to move in and out of HE formally and informally.  Comments that the D.E. Act is going to seriously interfere with this ability to evolve and use new patterns of education, research and training.

Living with IPR – the web, the law and academic practise

View out the window at lunchCharles Oppenheim opened with a passionate and scholarly dismantling of the appallingly poorly debated and rushed through Digital Economy Bill (now Act).  Then Jason Miles-Campbell (his sporran is a wifi hot spot allegedly) from JISC Legal spoke.  In the next five years there is unlikely to be changes to copyright protected items, you need to find an exemption. Gave an overview of the small changes in the law and clarifications under law for reuse of items.  Digital Economy act – what’s going to happen to institutions – some time to go to see if we are subscribers or ISPs as there will need to be case law.  Note that D.E. Act calls for a graduated response to infringement.  Talked about the Newsbin vs big media companies case.  Newsbin was indexing infringing material – in court case they were found to be infringing.  Court noted what we need to do to have an exemption for such a thing; Newsbin was effectively authorising infringement – encouraged copyright infringement by employing editors.  11 words effective of being substantial.  No good making a large amount of material available to staff, if they’re unsure if they can legally use it.  Patchwork licenses are a problem – different aspects of resources covered by different legislation.  May mean we need to ditch some resources that we won’t be able to use.  Need to make life easy, but we also need to be able to take risk decisions – e.g. like driving – there are times when 32mph in a 30 zone can be okay, but you have to make the judgement call.

Naomi Korn and Emma Beer, Copyright Consultants spoke next about orphan works- those where author is unknown or untraceable – they are significant barrier to public access, due to length of implicit copyright.  The internet is a major source of orphan works.  Items hundreds of years old can still be in © until end of 2039!  In a project 302 staff hours were spent to give only 8 permissions received for use in the British Library sound archive – massive staff effort to little effective impact.  EU Mile Project -registry of Image Orphan Works.  EU ARROW Project – accessible registries of rights information and orphan works.  One thing is clear dealing with orphan works even for major bodies and projects requires a lot of work and staff time, something that those of working in open access can be aware of.  In D.E. Bill Clause 43 tried to offer an exemption.  The D.E. Act means that for now you should only use orphan works within a risk management framework, as not clear quite what the impact of this will be.

Project OOER – best name of the day? #jisc10 Organising Open Educational Resources.  Barriers for sharing different levels of IPR awareness, licensing awareness etc.

 Open Access Session, Neil Jacobs (Chair)

Talked about the report authored by Charles Oppenheim et al late last year.  Moves to electronic only can help reduce costs in the scholarly communications sector.  Alma Swann gave an overview of the work looking at three models of repos gold, green, and role of repos as locations of quality assurance and publication – described by Alma as more futuristic.  Libraries do things differently, and this affected the model that they created.   Though unis increase in size the benefits don’t necessarily.  The Salford VC and Librarian of Imperial College spoke about how they’ve gone about making a strong case for open access, fiscally, at their institutions.

Community Collections and the power of the crowd, Catherine Grout

In a fascinating session looking at crowdsourcing and citizen science we heard from Kate Lindsay (Oxford, WWI Poetry Digital Archive) Arfon Smith (Oxford, Galaxy Zoo), William Perrin (Web innovator and Community Activist) and Katherine Campbell (BBC, History of the World) about 4 very different areas of community engagement.  From sourcing and augmenting first world war artefacts from across the country (including a roadshow – turn up and digitise!), though the power of Galaxy Zoo’s galactic classification project – which I’m proud to say I’m one of the thousands involved in.  What was clear from these two talks is the scale of what is achievable is amplified many, many times beyond what can be achieved through using more conventional team based approaches, and that the successes far outweigh the concerns over quality (indeed the “normalisation” of so many repeated analyses ala Wikipedia was touched on).

 William took a different approach building up a resource from the ground up, and using it as a focus for drawing a community together physically as well as virtually.  He showed some excellent examples of what you can do when a community develops a local Web resource rather than just one activist (I am reminded of the local Sileby village Website for an example of how NOT to approach this – locked down and run by a small clique).

For the twitter over view see here, here and here

Posted in Staff training, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies, Wider profession | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Ongoing Open Access Debate in the THE

Posted by gazjjohnson on 12 November, 2009

Good article in the Times Higher today on the open access debate.  Required reading I suspect for anyone with an interest in scholalry communication.  Especially impressed that Salford’s VC appears to be championing open access there, if there’s one thing repository managers still need today it’s vocal senior administrative member speaking out in support. 

I was writing my workshop for academics on open access that I’ll be running next month (2nd December) via our Staff Development Office, so this kind of overview is smashing.  It’s something I’ll certainly be using to support the session and pointing my participants towards reading.  Actually it might well form part of the hands on portion of the session, as I’m planning to really get the people there thinking about their own publishing habits and those of their peers in relation to OA.

It also gives the publisher’s side, which while dissmissive in part of some of the research on OA (I wonder if they’re so sneery about research they publish that doens’t impact on their business model?) remains of considerable interest.  It even draws in the funders as well.  As a clear and plain english overview it’s not bad at all.

Posted in Open Access, Wider profession | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »