Five Questions With… Claudia Holland

chollandClaudia Holland, Associate Professor & Scholarly Communication Coordinator, Mississippi State University Libraries
This is #2 in our series of get-acquainted posts among members of ASERL’s Scholarly Communication community.


Describe your current scholcomm position.

This year I was hired at Mississippi State University Libraries in essence to build a sustainable scholarly communication (SC) program. A few years ago, the library created six in-house SC committees (copyright, open access publishing, OER, IR, open data, & digital scholarship) to address institutional needs and expand services that the library offered. We’re currently defining priorities and integrating them into a new strategic plan–with populating our IR, establishing a data repository, and OER outreach priorities floating to the top. Copyright is pretty much a given no matter what.

What attracted you to scholcomm work?
I enjoy change and challenges, hallmarks of SC in general, I believe. I kind of fell into this “specialty” when I became the University Copyright Officer in 2008 at George Mason University, my former institution. I was happily working as a Liaison Librarian for the Sociology/Anthropology and Communication departments, but the library needed someone to take the copyright position. I said I was interested and that eventually fed into broader SC work. I was asked to chair Mason Libraries’ first SC team, which I led for four years until I was named Head of the Scholarly Communication and Copyright Office (all 1-½ of us). One of our most successful endeavors supported by the Dean was to establish an Open Access Publishing Fund. The fund enabled a lot of faculty conversations about open access. Our long term goal was to put the fund out of business insofar as possible because researchers would learn to build OA publication costs into their grant proposals rather than rely on the library for assistance. We tried to set up a research profiles service, but it was too labor intensive; plus, the open software we were using required more maintenance than we had time for and expertise in. But it was a great experience!

Scholarly communication work is a moving target in many ways. Just when you think you have a plan of action, something changes and you have to decide whether to stick with your original plan, integrate the new approach, or simply walk away. To me, making that call is the most difficult part of the job. Also, unless you have dedicated help from colleagues, working alone can be isolating and makes your projects much harder to advance.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
One of the most rewarding aspects of my work is collaborating with others to develop an idea into a successful program or service, and seeing evidence that this effort makes a positive difference in the lives of students and faculty in my university community and, hopefully, beyond. It sounds hokey but it’s real.

If you had a magic wand and could change one thing in the scholcomm ecosystem, what would it be?
Wow, this is a hard one; there are so many aspects of the ecosystem I would like to change. Some brief thoughts, unweighted:

  • I would like to see commercial academic publishers willingly cap profits at reasonable rather than extortionist levels.
  • I would like to see promotion and tenure processes for all disciplines modified to embrace openly-published scholarship and different forms of scholarship.
  • I would like to see all researchers feel personally driven (not mandated) to share their scholarship and data in open repositories.

If you were NOT a scholcomm librarian, what would you be?
If you mean work-related, I would either focus my efforts solely on OER advocacy and policy change at the state level, or return to my first academic love as a cultural anthropologist (I went into archaeology because I knew I could get a job with a Masters). I enjoy working with people no matter what I’m doing. We can learn a lot from each other; all we have to do is listen and observe.

If you mean non-work related, I would buy a good-size chunk of land somewhere I love and have several gardens and lots of critters. I would invite my closest friends and family to build their homes on this land and live the rest of my life exploring opportunities that crop up. 😉

Road Show Report: ORCID Workshop in Atlanta

orcid-logoOn September 8, 2017 as Hurricane Irma was approaching landfall and thousands of Floridians were packing into Atlanta to avoid its fury, our colleagues at Georgia State University Libraries hosted a one-day “road show” workshop led by ORCID, the researcher identification system (www.orcid.org). Despite the looming storm and the crowds that came with it, approximately 25 librarians from across the region attended the workshop, most from ASERL institutions.

Founded nearly five years ago, ORCID is a nonprofit organization that offers a free 16-digit identifier (“ORCID iD”) to academic authors and other contributors to research and scholarship. This iD number allows researchers to connect themselves with their works and affiliations so their outputs can be correctly attributed to creator(s) and aggregated and tracked throughout their careers. To date, more than 3.8 million ORCID iDs have been minted, and registration is growing at a rate of approximately 25,000 IDs per week. ORCID has produced a fun and informative video that provides an overview of their services: https://vimeo.com/97150912

ORCID iDs are provided at no charge, so how does a not-for-profit membership organization with a staff of 29 people scattered around the world support itself? In its early days, ORCID received initial support from loans from the scholarly communications community and later grant monies, including a significant endowment from the Helmsley Foundation (Leona Helmsley was not always the “queen of mean,” leaving all her fortune to her dog.) Today, ORCID is supported largely by libraries, research institutions, publishers, research funders and other players in the scholarly communications ecosystem that pay annual fees in exchange for real-time access to the ORCID database via Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)

ASERL members have access to deeply discounted ORCID Premium memberships via an agreement with the Greater Western Library Alliance. The discount provides five APIs for a cost of $4,000/year, more than 80% less than ORCID’s “list price” for Premium memberships that are paid by large commercial entities. Several other library consortia (LYRASIS, NERL, Big Ten Academic Alliance, etc.) offer similar discounts. (Note: ORCID’s services and pricing schedule is the same for libraries as for publishers and other commercial users, but only nonprofit organizations receive the deep discounts.)

To achieve full functionality of ORCID is far more complex than I initially realized. This may explain why few universities have fully implemented the complete suite of ORCID services. ORCID’s integration program is called “Collect and Connect.” Full utilization of ORCID includes member organizations (universities, publishers, repositories, etc.) undertaking the following:

  • Confirming the affiliation of author identify of the researcher through an authentication process (OAuth), providing trust in the community;
  • Collecting and storing authenticated ORCID iDs;
  • Displaying iDs on member directories and other sites;
  • Connecting information about affiliation and contributions to an individual’s ORCID record, so creators can share trusted information with other systems and profiles they use;
  • Synchronizing data between systems to improve reporting accuracy and speed  and to allow researchers to spend more time making contributions and less time managing them.

For universities, full implementation includes:

  • Faculty/staff/students signing up for an ORCID iD, using it when prompted (e.g., when publishing an article or applying for a grant), and adding personal information such as links to their profile on relevant websites (personal pages, departmental pages, etc.);
  • Where needed, updating information previously added to ORCID records, such as articles published prior to receiving the ORCID iD. (In some cases this work is done by liaison librarians as a courtesy to the faculty they serve.);
  • University systems providing independent confirmation that a researcher is employed at the institution and pushing that information to their ORCID record;
  • Use of ORCID APIs by university systems (e.g., faculty profiling systems) that facilitate reporting of scholarly output at the institutional level.

Publishers and standards organizations also play a vital role, including:

  • Implementing ORCID IDs as part of their metadata schemas;
  • Using ORCID’s APIs to connect DOIs with iDs to ensure ORCID profiles are up-to-date.

So, it’s complicated. Members of the national ORCID consortia in Australia and Italy have implemented more ORCID services than in other parts of the world. Italy has a nationalized university system that mandated use of ORCID, resulting in over 90% take-up of ORCID among Italian researchers. In Australia, the Australian Access Federation has funded two full-time staff to work closely with universities and their libraries to implement various ORCID-related services. This has resulted in 35 of the consortium’s 40 members having one or more ORCID integrations up and running.  Additionally, a growing number of publishers are requiring authors to provide ORCID iDs for all submissions, incentivizing the use of ORCID from the publisher side.

To help foster greater utilization of the full array of its services in the US, ORCID has suggested US consortia consider supporting a model similar to the one used in Australia: to fund staff specifically to work directly with libraries to develop the communications and systems needed to implement ORCID fully. How this would be done across various library groups is yet to be determined – perhaps via a surcharge on the annual ORCID membership fee paid by each US library to cover staffing costs? LYRASIS is leading the development of a national survey that will determine the interest and price levels that ORCID members (via their consortia) are willing to pay for this kind of direct system implementation support.  The benefits are clear, as seen in the Australian example.  Given the huge discounts on the ORCID Premium membership fees enjoyed by libraries and the apparent need for implementation assistance, it seems a modest surcharge might be a useful method to ensure libraries get the most from their investment in ORCID. This survey is expected to be distributed to consortia (which will then distribute it to their member libraries) later this Fall.

Revenge of the Fourth Factor: GSU Back in Court

posted by Tucker Taylor (University of South Carolina) and John Burger (ASERL), July 31, 2017.

The Georgia State University e-reserves copyright case is still going after all these years. Officially starting in 2008, this case has bounced around the courts for many years, and it was back at the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday, July 27, 2017.  The plaintiffs are Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, and Sage Publishing, with significant financial support from the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) and the Association of American Publishers (AAP).  The case deals with nonprofit academic institutions’ rights to post portions of copyrighted materials online for their students –  how much and under what circumstances is this allowable?  Most of the importance of this case revolves around how US copyright law interprets Fair Use provisions under these circumstances, which is common to all academic institutions.

There have been many blog posts and articles about the GSU case by library copyright experts such as Brandon Butler, Dave Hansen and Kevin Smith, and others.  And a good overview, if a bit outdated, to this long, complicated case can be found on Wikipedia.  Please check those out for more detailed information on the case.

Potential for Market Harm
While each lawyer had prepared remarks, most of the time in court was devoted to a back-forth conversation between the three judge panel and each of the attorneys.  The focus of the overwhelming amount of the conversation focused on how Judge Evans at the District Court interpreted and implemented the directive from the first Appeals Court panel regarding the importance of the potential for market harm, the fourth factor in assessing Fair Use.  The first Appeals panel noted that in this type of case – nontransformative use of copyrighted materials  – the risk of harm from market substitution was “severe” and directed Judge Evans to give the fourth factor greater weight than in her first analysis.

In her first decision, Evans gave each of the four factors equal weight — 25% each.   After receiving the first Appeals Court ruling, Judge Evans’ second decision re-calculated the weighting of each of the factors:

  • 25% to factor 1 (purpose and character of the use),
  • 5% to factor 2 (nature of the copyrighted work),
  • 30% to factor 3 (amount and substantiality of the portion taken), and
  • 40% to factor 4 (the effect of the use on the potential market).

In her second review, Judge Evans also changed the methodology she used to determine the fourth factor, taking into consideration the licensing revenues the plaintiffs would have received for each of the book excerpts they cited as potential infringements.  In some cases, the revenues the publishers would have gained if GSU had  licensed the content would have been quite small — just a few dollars — which seemed to impact Evans’ interpretation of potential for market harm.

The product of Judge Evans’ detailed analyses:  In her first decision in 2012, Evans identified 31 instances of potential copyright infringement using the 25%/25%/25%/25% formula.  In her second decision in 2016, Judge Evans found only four of the same uses to be infringing using the ‘new’ 25%/5%/30%/40% formula and the new process for determining the 4th factor.   In this most recent hearing, Judge Pryor in particular found this change in methodology and its results to be completely untenable and he was singularly focused on this issue.  Further, at one point Judge Pryor commented to the court that he “hates balancing tests” and believes them to be “antithetical to the rule of law.”  He later noted that if Judge Evans’ second ruling was allowed to stand “everyone in educational settings could do what GSU did and steal the content.”   Ahem.

Availability of Licensing
Judge Rosenbaum’s main line of questioning also centered around the fourth factor, although not the same aspect.  Rosenbaum questioned the “circularity” of relying solely upon the availability of a license to determine market harm, and noted that the availability of a license is not, in her opinion, “determinative.”  She pointed out that this sole criteria created a situation that would never allow Fair Use if a license were available, and this was not a sufficiently meaningful way to determine where the scale tipped for the fourth factor.  She even quoted from the preamble to the Fair Use statute that includes teaching with multiple copies for classroom use as an example of a fair use to bolster her line of reasoning.  This question was raised several times by Rosenbaum and Pryor during the arguments, however a clear answer was not offered as a result of their discussions.

The Specter of an Injunction
The publishers’ attorney noted that the case has always been about seeking a judicial injunction against the type of uses they found objectionable at GSU, not monetary damages.  Judge Pryor asked the plaintiffs’ lawyer what they would like to see an injunction, beyond a ruling of “follow the law.”  Rich pointed to the Classroom Copying Guidelines drafted by Congress in 1976, as well as the need to have training for and oversight of faculty who are tasked with determining if their desired use of content falls within the boundaries of Fair Use.  Attorney Rich was also able to work several anticipated points into the discussion, such as the detrimental effect of repeated use of the same material, to Princeton v Michigan Document Services (the ‘course pack case’), to American Geophysical Union vs Texaco, and others.  Regrettably, GSU’s lawyer failed to rebut those analogies, as each has been found to be not germane to this case in earlier proceedings.

In his argument, GSU’s lawyer Steven Schaetzel pointed out the lack of evidence for market harm.  Most of his time was devoted to defending Pryor’s barrage of questions regarding Judge Evan’s re-evaluation of the fourth factor determinations.  Schaetzel defended this by saying Evans needed to examine the evidence holistically in order to judge how to best weigh the factor.  Schaetzel summed up his arguments by stating that the publishers’ fear was not that faculty would make bad Fair Use decisions, but instead that they would make good ones.  He believes the goal of this case is to enshrine the availability of a license to be the only determining factor, which would remove the possibility of Fair Use from educational use.

Who Should Pay Legal Fees?
A small amount of the discussion was spent on reviewing Judge Evans’ decision requiring the plaintiffs to repay all of GSU’s legal fees, approximately $3M at this point. Judge Martin questioned Schaetzel to explain why he felt the court costs should be awarded to Georgia State.  Schaetzel felt that there were several actions by the publishers that were worthy of deterrence, including how they had complained of thousands of unspecified possible infringements before the trial, but at trial they only could specify 99 instances, and later could only pursue legal action on half of those claims because of lack of evidence and lack of case, either because the publishers could not show they owned the copyright or they could not prove there was any use of the works.   The discussion of legal fee awards was very brief, and difficult to gauge how each judge felt about the matter.

Conclusion
We were partly expecting – hoping, perhaps — that this hearing to be focused primarily on who would pay the legal fees, considering the two previous decisions from the District Court strongly favored GSU.  However, it was clear the publishers are dogged in their determination that Judge Evans at the District Court erred in her methods in both the first and second rulings, and they are continuing to actively pursue an injunction against GSU.  If there is a decision against GSU, it would ostensibly be limited in its effect — impacting only  universities in the 11th Circuit (Georgia, Florida, Alabama) and how they can use Fair Use principles to provide unlicensed content to students via e-reserves.  In reality, the final ruling will likely be interpreted to apply to libraries nationally, so the implications here are significant.  On the other hand, the use of e-reserves varies widely among libraries — some libraries see it as a technology that has come and gone, while other libraries continue to use it quite actively – the ultimate impact of this seemingly-endless litigation could vary widely.

 

 

 

Fair Use Week 2017

fair-use-week-logo-smHappy Fair Use Week 2017!

Following on the heels of Love Your Data Week, Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week is “an annual celebration of the important doctrines of fair use and fair dealing. It is designed to highlight and promote the opportunities presented by fair use and fair dealing, celebrate successful stories, and explain these doctrines.” Started in 2015, with support from the Association of Research Libraries, this is the first year that we are participating here at Wake Forest University, with two workshops.

Our first workshop is aimed at faculty, and I will be co-presenting with Carrie Johnston, the Digital Humanities Research Designer, on how to use researcher profile systems and personal websites to maximize scholars’ impact online. As we all know, faculty don’t always think about their copyrights when publishing, nor when they share their published research online, so understanding copyright and fair use, even as it applies to their own scholarship, is critical!

Our second workshop will be for graduate students who are nearing the end of their studies, and are preparing their theses and dissertations. We will be addressing how fair use applies in graduate research, particularly when that research is shared electronically as part of our university’s ETD collection.

While neither of our workshops are directly marketed as fair use workshops, both have strong elements of copyright and fair use woven throughout. Carrie and I decided to hold these workshops during Fair Use Week to acknowledge the critical reliance on fair use that anchors scholarship, and to participate with other libraries in Fair Use Week activities.

If you are new to Fair Use Week, I encourage you to visit fairuseweek.org to see what other institutions are doing to celebrate, and to see what resources are available that you may be able to use this week (hint: infographic!) And if you aren’t new to Fair Use Week…

Tell us — What kinds of activities are happening on your campus to promote Fair Use Week?

Want to know what other ASERL institutions are up to this week? Check out the survey responses below:

Post created by Melanie, but authored by Molly, just in case you were confused as to why Melanie was suddenly talking about work at Wake Forest. We promise the MK co-chairs didn’t swap schools!

Love Your Data Week 2017

This post was contributed by Renaine Julian from Florida State University.

What is Love Your Data Week?

This week (February 12 – 19, 2017) is Love Your Data Week (LYD), a social media event coordinated by data professionals, mostly working in academic libraries, archives, or centers. The purpose of the LYD campaign is to raise awareness and build community around topics related to research data management. This includes things like data sharing, preservation, reuse, and library-based research data services. During Love Your Data Week, we strive to share resources, stories, and practical tips to make researchers better stewards of their own data.  Love Your Data Week is quite similar to Open Access Week, and ScholComm professionals are well-positioned to make a positive impact through their participation.

This year’s theme is data quality, and our target audience is early career researchers. Each day of the week will have a specific focus. For example, Monday will center on getting researchers to think about the quality of the data they’re working with and/or creating. On Tuesday, data documentation will be the focal point, including metadata creation and techniques for describing data like data dictionaries and README files.

What does this have to do with Scholarly Communications?

LYD has a whole lot to do with Scholarly Communications (ScholComm)!  Anna Gold of MIT has said “data is the currency of science” (Gold 2007). And the ability to exchange data, reuse it, and review it is crucial to the productivity of all scholarship.  At Florida State University Libraries, we’ve always treated research data management as a form of ScholComm. There is a logical intersection between ScholComm work and the efforts of data specialists. The recent success of FSU’s data management program is bolstered by this collaboration.

#LYD17 @ FSU Libraries

Being involved with LYD is easy and doesn’t require huge preparation. Last year, we found out about LYD about a week before the event. I knew we wouldn’t be able to do much, but we’re fortunate enough to have a marketing director who manages our libraries’ social media accounts. I introduced him to the concept of LYD, and we went from there. I used the LYD website to find some canned messages that we could deliver, and he was kind (and brave) enough to let me do a takeover of our libraries’ Twitter account on that Monday. Throughout the week, my colleagues and I also used our personal accounts to tweet our thoughts as well as tips and tricks based on the theme of the day. There was positive engagement, and we were glad that we made the last minute effort to participate.

This year, we’re trying to ramp up our involvement. Since I managed to not burn the place down last time, I get to do another Twitter takeover this week. Our team will engage folks based on each day’s theme. The primary difference between this year and last are our efforts outside of social media to engage researchers. Our outreach specialist made an engagement board for our engineering library so that our patrons could post notes on how they document their own data.

Love Your Data Engagement Board @ FSU

LYD Engagement Board

At FSU, we teach workshops regularly on best practices in research data management and creating data management plans. The LYD 2017 theme, data quality, provided a timely opportunity to do our first workshop on data documentation and organization best practices. Since Tuesday’s theme is data documentation, that’s when we’ll host the workshop. It also happens to be Valentine’s Day so I plan to shamelessly encourage participants to give data the tender love and care that it deserves!

How can you get involved?

The participation of the ScholComm community is sure to enhance the success of this year’s LYD Week.  LYD has a low barrier to entry; it’s simple to get involved. When you’re ready to get started, you can find out more by visiting the LYD site and registering your institution! Also, don’t forget to use the hashtags #LYD17 and #loveyourdata.

And don’t forget to share your plans with ASERL:  Use the link to share the kinds of activities that are happening on your campus to promote Love Your Data Week.  And check out the responses below:

An Overview of the ACI Scholarly Blog Index

This post was contributed by Jeanne Hoover at East Carolina University.

What is the ACI Scholarly Blog Index?

The Scholarly Blog Index is a new tool developed by the ACI Information Group which is a company that gathers social media and blog information.  The Scholarly Blog Index is exactly as its name suggests: an index of curated blogs written by scholars in their field.  The blogs that are indexed in the database are reviewed for content prior to being added.  The blogs are a combination of full-text and abstracts.  In order for ACI to add the full-text of the blog, they require that the author give permission.  The blogs that are not full-text will have an abstract with a link to the blog website. Blog entries also have a copyright notice within the record. Users can save, export, and cite articles of interest in their searching.  The ACI Scholarly Blog Index can be added to discovery tools like Summon, Worldcat, Primo, and EBSCO.  Institutions will get a personalized domain for the database (ex. YourInstitutionName.aci.info).

A few features of interest included in author profiles are RSS feed for new posts, a mobile app, and the ability to recommend blogs.  Author profiles can be verified by authors and contain information like job title, education, employer, ORCID ID, and recent journal articles.  Authors included in the database will receive an email asking them to review their author profile and verify that the information is correct.  Additionally, author profiles can be tied to social media accounts, like Twitter and LinkedIn. The profiles are linked to the author’s blog and it updates the blog links as they are harvested.  Currently, there are blogs covering most subject areas, with the highest concentrations in medicine, business/economics, and law.

How can librarians and researchers use the Index?

Libraries are including the database in both their instruction and research. A librarian at Northeastern is using it in an intensive writing course to review communication across disciplines (for example, communication in the sciences).  This is a great way to utilize the database and it could easily be incorporated in subject-related communication or English courses. Additionally, a  researcher used the index to locate researchers in other countries who were researching similar topics.  These are just a few examples of how it is being used.

This is a unique resource that could be helpful for various classes and researchers. It may be challenging to make it clear to students that the blog articles are not research articles, especially if they show up in discovery tools. However, this situation could be remedied by introducing the database to freshman through an intro to college course and/or English compostion.

Interested in trying the Index at your institution?

Subscriptions are for one or two years and they are based on FTE student enrollment.  There is an ASERL consortium discount currently being offered.  Additionally, there is a 10% discount for new subscribers that can be used in addition to the ASERL discount.  These discounts will expire in December so please contact the company soon if you are interested in a trial.

More on the Updated ACRL Scholarly Communication Toolkit

This post was contributed by Christine Fruin at the University of Florida.

The ACRL Scholarly Communication Toolkit provides academic librarians with a portal for resources and tools that can be used to develop local advocacy materials; to inform creation of workflows relevant to scholarly communication; and to support training of librarians, administrators, faculty, and students on scholarly publishing, intellectual property and other issues impacting the creation and dissemination of scholarship. This summer, I had the privilege of serving as Toolkit editor to complete needed updates to the content and to migrate the Toolkit to the ACRL LibGuides site. The Toolkit served as an invaluable resource to me when I first became a librarian engaged in scholarly communication 10 years ago. At that time, there was a lack of broad coverage resources available that had been selected and vetted for accuracy and quality. That need persists today. I regularly meet librarians and library staff through groups such as the Florida Scholarly Communications Interest Group and ASERL libraries who are new to scholarly communication either as their chosen profession or through reassignment or creation of new job duties in their current position.

Working with members of the ACRL Research and Scholarly Environment Committee and ACRL Senior Strategist Kara Malefant, I constructed a new hierarchy of topics, wrote new content, and selected updated resources for the Toolkit that reflect the most pressing scholarly communication issues for academic librarians. The revised Toolkit presents five primary content areas:

  • Scholarly Publishing
  • Copyright
  • Access to Research
  • Repositories
  • Research Data Management

Several topics are new to the Toolkit. For example, there are new sections on fair use and public access. These are areas that have not only grown in importance for academic libraries but also present complexities that can sometimes be difficult for libraries to untangle. The Toolkit provides a clear and concise definition of the issues for libraries and provides resources created for and by librarians to assist them as they confront these issues in their daily work. Open access, including a new section on institutional mandates, also received updated and expanded treatment. This treatment reflects the growth of open access in the 10 years since the Toolkit was first launched, and the more prominent role that libraries have taken in not only advocating access to research but also in driving change in the system through collection development decisions and library publishing programs.

In addition to the new and revised content, the Toolkit also was migrated to LibGuides. This platform is familiar to academic libraries, and with a Creative Commons license attached to the Toolkit, libraries are free to reuse and repurpose the Toolkit content in their own LibGuides. The Toolkit LibGuide can easily be reused by other LibGuide users as a template for new guides. Several libraries have already developed new LibGuides based upon the Toolkit structure, and other libraries are encouraged to pick and choose the resources that best meet their needs at their libraries and on their campuses to help them in their educational and advocacy activities.

ACRL and members of ReSEC hopes that librarians find the new LibGuide platform and the updated and added content useful and instructive to their work. Feedback and contributions are welcome through the link on the Toolkit home page. The new Toolkit can be found at http://acrl.libguides.com/scholcomm/toolkit/ and libraries are encouraged to update any links they may have to it as soon as possible.

ASERL would also like to hear how our members are using the Toolkit. How will you use the new Toolkit to develop scholarly communications initiatives or trainings at your library? Let us know by sharing your thoughts on the ASERL Scholarly Communications listserv with subject “ACRL Scholarly Communications Toolkit in Practice”.

Updating Peer Review

The post was contributed by Robin N. Sinn at Johns Hopkins University. It originally appeared in the Sheridan Libraries Blog.

Peer reviewed journals are the bedrock of the scholarly publishing system, ensuring that an article’s authors have used proper methods, cited previous work appropriately, and made logical and supported conclusions. The process of peer review is changing for several reasons:

In fact, this month will see the second annual Peer Review Week. This year’s theme is Recognition for Review and runs from September 19th through 25th. A recent Scholarly Kitchen post asked the Chefs about the future of peer review.

Below are a few of the groups trying to improve peer review.  In October 2015 ASERL hosted a webinar with representatives from three of these groups. You can watch the session recording or look at the slides from Peerage of Science, eLife, and Rubriq.

Shortening the Traditional Process

There is a concern that the peer review process takes too long. An editor makes a decision to send the article out for review, finds the reviewers, the review happens, comments are gathered and sent to the author, revision happens, resubmission… you get the picture. Lots of time can pass. A few groups are tightening up that process.

  • PLoS ONE was the first of a new kind of mega-journal that aims to publish articles that are methodologically and scientifically sound. Time is not spent on analyzing the importance of the article or the fit between journal and article. This cuts out the first part of the review process.
  • eLife shortens the review process by compiling revision requests from reviewers into one document and having only one reviewer examine resubmitted papers.

Peer Review Independent of Specific Journal

Instead of each journal wrangling their own set of peer reviewers and reviewing papers multiple times as they bounce around the system, a few groups are providing peer reviews that can be used by any journal.

  • At Rubriq the author pays for a review, then receives a report from 3 reviewers along with journal recommendations. The author can then revise the manuscript (or not) and submit the manuscript to a journal of their choice, including the Rubriq report as supplemental material if they wish.
  • Peerage of Science is supported by journals subscribing to their services. Reviewers have certain criteria to meet when they make their reviews, so their reviews are reviewed. This gives authors and journals a way to rate reviewers.  Once the reviews are done, articles are available to subscribing journals. Authors are able to make the reviews available to non-subscribing journals.

Post-Publication Peer Review

These groups post articles after they pass a set of minimum criteria. The peer review takes place online, in full view of readers.

Credit for Peer Reviewers

With the increasing number of research articles and journals available, there’s an increasing need for peer reviewers. Given that researchers spend their own time reading and reviewing, there’s an interest in giving peer reviewers credit for their work.

  • Publons assigns points for writing reviews of articles that are published. The reviews can be published, dependent on journal rules. Reviewers who write the most reviews receive awards and certificates. The idea is to ‘reward’ reviewers so that they do better work.
  • Other groups (F1000Research, ScienceOpen, among others) are giving peer reviewers the opportunity to sign their reviews, thus breaking the tradition of anonymous peer review.

I’m sure there are other peer review experimenters out there. If you know of one, please share with the ASERL SCIG at aserlscholcomm@aserl-lists.org .

Get ready for Open Access Week!

The semester has started. Labor Day has passed. And October is right around the corner. Are you ready for Open Access Week 2016?

Open Access Week is a yearly advocacy event near and dear to every Scholarly Communications Librarian’s heart. It is a dedicated, internationally-coordinated time where we can engage with our faculty and students about all things open access. But falling at the end of October, this event can be a challenge. By that time in the semester, our faculty and students are in the full swing of mid-terms, class projects, and research.

Luckily, there are plenty of resources to help you plan a successful Open Access Week at your institution.

Consider the theme

This year the theme for Open Access Week is “Open in Action”. Participants and stakeholders are encouraged to take concrete steps in support of making research more openly available. This could mean hosting a “deposit-a-thon” in your library, asking students and faculty to deposit a pre-print in your institutional repository. It could also mean a series of blog posts interviewing the open access stakeholders at your campus about their experience with open access in action.

Every campus is different and every community engages differently with this topic. Think about what type of events work best at your campus and consider how this year’s theme might fit.

Leverage the International Community

Still lost for ideas? The Open Access Week website is here to help! SPARC has developed the http://www.openaccessweek.org/ website to provide opportunities for community engagement. On the site, Open Access Week coordinators from around the globe can share their previous successes, challenges, and ideas to help others create effective events.  The site also offers a plethora of resources and media, including photos, videos, and Creative Commons Licensed downloadable media to help you market events on your campus.

Don’t forget about ASERL

Last September, ASERL hosted a great webinar on “Tips & Tricks for Successful Open Access Week Programming”. Presenters from six ASERL member libraries provided insights into what has and has not worked at their respective campuses over the years. As you get ready for this year’s Open Access Week, don’t forget to check out what your ASERL peers recommend — both the good, and the not-so-good!

Share your thoughts with us!

Once you’ve considered what may work at your institution, let us know what you’re thinking!
Or if you’re still testing out ideas, feel free to test them out with us! Email your questions, concerns, or ideas to the Scholarly Communications Interest Group at aserlscholcomm@aserl-lists.org.

ASERL’S New Scholarly Communications Interest Group Blog!

Welcome to the ASERL Scholarly Communications Interest Group Blog!

Created by the ASERL Scholarly Communications Interest Group (SCIG), this new blog initiative offers ASERL members the opportunity to share exciting ideas and timely information about all things scholarly communication. The blog serves as an information conduit as well as a space for sharing feedback on the outcomes of our respective institutional initiatives. We hope that the blog will serve as a virtual support system for our members, highlighting what does and doesn’t work in a safe and helpful space.

So how does this whole “blog thing” work?

To get the ball rolling and ensure we have a diversity of content, the SCIG Co-chairs–Melanie Kowalski (Emory) and Molly Keener (Wake Forest)–and the ASERL Executive Director, John Burger, have recruited a team of regular contributors from ASERL institutions. Collectively, the team has 30-plus years of expertise in scholarly communications that they are excited to share with their ASERL colleagues. The team will bring you posts about ASERL initiatives, including upcoming webinars and events, as well as other relevant topics, events, and undertakings. You’ll meet the team as they begin blogging, so stayed tuned!

In addition to our wonderful team of contributors, the SCIG Co-Chairs hope to hear from you! We welcome guest contributions from members of the ASERL communities. For more information on getting involved, please email the blogging team at scholcomm-bloggers@aserl-lists.org.

We need YOU to tell us what you want.

This blog has been created by your colleagues just for you. So tell us what you want to hear! Are there particular topics you’re interested in? Are you considering a new initiative but would like to know what others have tried? Do you have ideas of improvement in the blog that you’d like to share? Send all your great ideas for topics and feedback to scholcomm-bloggers@aserl-lists.org.