5 Questions with… Marian Taliaferro


mt-headshot_office_07032018Marian Taliaferro,
 Digital Scholarship Librarian, College of William and Mary Libraries

This is #11 in our series of get-acquainted posts featuring members of the ASERL Scholarly Communications community.

Q1. Describe your current scholcomm position
While my title is technically Digital Scholarship Librarian, my role is all about scholarly communications — promoting and creating a strategy for the institutional repository, W&M ScholarWorks, educating the campus community on academic publishing, open access initiatives (including OER) and  intellectual property issues; and also fostering connections between information literacy and scholarly communications.

Q2. What attracted you to scholcomm work?

My interest started pretty early in my career — in 2005, with a library director who was hugely influential on my path to learning about open access publishing and all that goes along with it. She was the driving force behind a campus-wide conference on OA and building library support for it. My interest continued when I worked at a non-profit (Association of American Medical Colleges), which gave me exposure to several aspects of scholarly communication. I served a supporting role in their path to adopting a hybrid model for their peer-review journal, Academic Medicine. My role also provided general library support for the journal editorial staff and I became familiar with their workflows and concerns in publishing. I even served as a peer reviewer for the journal. At AAMC, I also witnessed the ‘birth’ of MedEdPORTAL, an open access medical education curricular tools repository.  From the get-go, MedEdPORTAL used Creative Commons licenses, and I worked as a core staff person in its development. It was also at AAMC that staff increasingly wanted to demonstrate impacts of their publications, so I began delivering metrics on publication usage and initiated and collaborated with Publications staff to investigate altmetrics tools for the Association’s publications. Finally, it was my role to procure copyright permissions for the Association and so I became familiar with educating staff on copyright and fair use. Overall, I think what most attracted me to scholarly communications work was the win-win aspect of it — leveraging my librarian skill sets for helping faculty and researchers make their work more discoverable and garnering increased impact for it, while also appreciating the publishing side of the equation from a non-profit society’s perspective. It seems a key, demonstrable success for libraries to partner with their campus communities in this way.

Q3. What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I have to pick just one? For me, it’s always the connections with people that are most rewarding. As anyone reading this blog realizes, copyright is very unclear to most people, so it’s gratifying to be a guide or resource for them in making things more understandable. I enjoy speaking with graduate students about fair use, licensing and embargoes; helping faculty with author agreements and learning about Open Education Resources (OERs) and serving to publish some pretty amazing electronic theses and dissertations (ETD’s).  ETDs are hugely impactful for our students and soon alumni —  we have a large retrospective conversion project rollout and campaign on the books for OA Week. I’m also enjoying helping to grow William & Mary’s scholarly communications program via creating and expanding research guides, making firmer establishments in research data management support services, and also rebranding and relaunching our institutional repository, newly renamed W&M ScholarWorks and a new design debuting soon.

Q4. If you had a magic wand and could change one thing in the scholcomm ecosystem, what would it be?
That faculty were more aware of how their promotion & tenure practices play into the larger publication ecosystem. It would be great if it were incredibly easy to bridge the barriers to budgetary transparency associated with providing collections in support of research and scholarship. I think that’s probably high on every librarian’s list!

Q5. If you were not a scholcomm librarian, what would you be?
Depending on the day, in no particular order and perhaps mostly if I became aware of a heretofore secret trust fund: Persian rug trader, estate jewelry sales/gemologist, helicopter pilot or landscaper… It’s probably a good thing I went the library route.

5 Questions with… Jennifer Solomon

jpg-jen-solomonJennifer Solomon, Open Access Librarian, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries

This is #11 in our series of get-acquainted posts featuring members of the ASERL Scholarly Communications community.

1. Describe your current scholcomm position.
I am currently the Open Access (OA) Librarian in the Office of Scholarly Communications at UNC Libraries. This is a newly created position in a small department, so I work on many different aspects within Schol Comm. One of my primary roles is to lead the outreach and communication initiatives for the UNC Faculty Council’s Open Access Policy implementation, which so far has included collaborating with a marketing firm on a campaign for OA awareness and authors’ rights, developing faculty and graduate student competencies in OA, and establishing connections with UNC departments to deposit materials in the Carolina Digital Repository. I also frequently get to work with (TRLN) Scholarly Communications colleagues to support cross-institutional programs and events.

2. What is the most rewarding part of your job?
That depends on the day! Over the past month, I have had several opportunities to visit department meetings and have been blown away by the interest from the faculty. I have also been meeting with several graduate students in the UNC School of Information and Library Science and we’re cooking up some very exciting plans for OA in the fall.

3. If you had a magic wand and could change one thing in the scholcomm ecosystem, what would it be?
Imposter syndrome. From librarians, to faculty, to students, to publishers, I have so many conversations with people that stem from their fears about being a fraud. Sometimes this prevents people from asking for help, sharing their accomplishments, or even discussing ideas with potential collaborators. My magic wand would cast a spell for an open and transparent environment in which scholarship and the people who produce it, use it, access it, make it discoverable, and preserve it can do their work without so much anxiety.

4. If you were NOT a scholcomm librarian, what would you be?
A career counselor! Throughout my own career I have worked in many different industries and I’m fascinated by emerging careers and changing workplace cultures. I love helping people to think about the type of work they want to do and how their previous experience and interests have prepared them to take on new challenges.

5 Questions with… Jason Burton

Burton_JasonJason Burton, Lead STEM librarian, University of Mississippi

This is #9 in our series of get-acquainted posts featuring members of the ASERL Scholarly Communications community.

Q1. Describe your current scholcomm position.
The University of Mississippi does not have a scholarly communications department, so the work is distributed. I am our Lead STEM Librarian, but I am also the convener of our Open Access Discussion Group, lead our nascent open science efforts, and work closely with our Collections Strategist on open access issues and alternative models of supporting research. In addition I am actively involved in our data management program.

Q2. What attracted you to scholcomm work?
I am interested in the mechanics of academic research. I quickly realized that the choices researchers made in how to communicate their work was one of the more fascinating parts of the research process.

Q3. What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Helping researchers expand their idea of what libraries and librarians can help them achieve. The library isn’t always the first place that researchers think to go when they are trying to figure out how to write a data management plan that explains how they are going to share their microscopy data.

Q4. If you had a magic wand and could change one thing in the scholcomm ecosystem, what would it be?
Since magic was mentioned, complete and total open access. I think the combination of funder-required public access and the expansion of university open access mandates makes this more reality than magic every day.

Q5. If you were NOT a scholcomm librarian, what would you be?
I started my librarian career working in occupation safety and health and could have moved towards public health as a career. Walking around oil rigs and fishing boats was a lot of fun.

5 Questions With… Robin Sinn

rnsinn22017Robin Sinn, Coordinator, Office of Scholarly Communication, Johns Hopkins University Libraries

This is #8 in our series of get-acquainted posts featuring members of the ASERL Scholarly Communications community.

Q1. Describe your current scholcomm position.
I am the new (as of January) Coordinator of the Office of Scholarly Communication, so I’m still figuring this out. I am also the sole person in this office. This opportunity came to me because for several years I’ve been the chair of the JHU libraries Scholarly Communication Group. Members come from across the Hopkins libraries (which are more like a consortium than a system). We work on issues dealing with copyright, open access, intellectual property, tools and resources we think the libraries need, education and outreach, even some policy. This work hasn’t been very programmatic up until now because my primary job was as a STEM liaison librarian. All the members have their own primary jobs. This new role will allow me to focus on scholarly communication and grow a program. I’ve got a great group of people to work with. Now it’s time to do some serious planning and get to work.

Q2. What attracted you to scholcomm work?
In the early 2000s I remember wondering why researchers weren’t starting their own journals, since the web was obviously going to make that possible. I watched the early OA movement develop with great interest. When I got to Hopkins, I became part of the Scholarly Communication Group and eventually its chair. It’s exciting to provide researchers and students with information that allows them to share their work in new ways.

Q3. What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I enjoy being a consultant on a project and bringing basic library tools as well as an understanding of the publishing/copyright environment to a discussion. The amount of innovative work that is going on in labs and classes is astounding. They need someone who can help them with the dissemination side of their work.

Q4. If you had a magic wand and could change one thing in the scholcomm ecosystem, what would it be?
I’ll echo Dave Hansen: We need a separate copyright environment for academic work. And I’d like the infrastructure for the credit and attribution to be a shared priority. I’m thinking of things like ORCID , GRID  CReDIT , and the like.

Q5. If you were NOT a scholcomm librarian, what would you be?
I think I’d like to work in a small special library; that would allow me a broad scope of action. My first official librarian job was Public Services Librarian at the library of the Academy of Nature Sciences http://www.ansp.org/research/library/ in Philadelphia and I enjoyed that immensely. Outside of librarianship? I love houseplants and was just joking with my husband that my retirement job could be taking care of the plants in office buildings.

Why We Support The Open Textbook Network Publishing Cooperative

By Corinne Guimont, Anita Walz and Beth Bernhardt

Virginia Tech and UNC Greensboro are two of nine founding members of the Open Textbook Network Publishing Cooperative, a pilot program launched by the Open Textbook Network (OTN) in 2017. The goal of the Cooperative is to create a network of higher education institutions committed to publishing new, openly licensed textbooks.

The pilot will last for a period of three years. During that time, each member institution will build expertise by training a designated project manager who can then establish publishing workflow and processes tailored to the particular needs of that institution. After the training is complete, each project manager will have the tools necessary to oversee a minimum of two new open textbooks as they move from conception to publication. At the completion of the three-year period, the nine members of the Publishing Cooperative will have collectively published at least two dozen new, freely available textbooks with Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licenses.

Virginia Tech’s goal in participating in this pilot is to build our publishing capacity and expertise specifically in the area of Open Educational Resources (OER) as part of our broader library publishing program, VT Publishing. We joined the Co-Op because of the opportunities for learning, collaboration, and professional development within a cohort of other institutions. VT Libraries is prepared to invest up to $22,000 into the program over the next three years, in addition to staff time. Funds will pay for author stipends, peer reviewer honoraria, and to supplement in-house technical and publishing expertise. We hope to create and share many more open textbooks with the world.

For Virginia Tech the program will expand its Open Education Faculty Initiative Grant program, started in 2016, which provides technical assistance and grants for creation or adaptation, public dissemination, and classroom use of openly licensed resources of various kinds. Previous open textbooks published from this program include Fundamentals of Business (2016) by Stephen J. Skripak and a newly released Beta Version of Electromagnetics (2018) by Steven W. Ellingson which is being field tested and will be revised and released with its LaTeX source code in Summer 2018.

electromagneticshttp://hdl.handle.net/10919/78735
[see cover credits below] 

 

 

 

 

 

small-FundamentalsOfBusiness_Amazon

 

http://hdl.handle.net/10919/70961
[see cover credits below]

In addition to Fundamentals of Business’ over 80,000 worldwide downloads, these books along with other open educational resources adopted by faculty at Virginia Tech have saved 3,000+ Virginia Tech students more than $785,000 in course material costs in 18 months.

UNC Greensboro decided to join the Cooperative to provide faculty members the opportunity to create an open textbook for their courses. Martin Halbert, Dean of University Libraries, when asked why UNC Greensboro joined the cooperative stated, “This is a critically important time for the transformation of scholarly communication, and new models for the production of openly accessible educational resources are central to successfully establishing a sustainable new ecology of higher education learning.” The Office of the Provost and the University Libraries have committed $10,000 and staffing towards the project. The funds will be given as two $5000 stipends to faculty that receive funding. The funds will be distributed in two parts, $2500 at the beginning and $2500 when the open textbook is complete. Staff have been attending a 9 week training from the OTN on publishing platforms. UNC Greensboro will send out a call for proposals for the two grants in March 2018 and announce the winners by the beginning of May 2018. The University Libraries will provide the faculty with training on software to help create these textbooks.

Founding members of the OTN Publishing Cooperative include: Miami University, Penn State University, Portland State University, Southern Utah University, University of Cincinnati, University of Connecticut, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Virginia Tech, and West Hills Community College District (CA).

About the Open Textbook Network: The Open Textbook Network (OTN) is a community working to improve education through open education, with members representing over 600 higher education institutions. OTN institutions have saved students more than $8.5 million by implementing open education programs, and empowered faculty with the flexibility to customize course content to meet students’ learning needs.

 



Cover credit for Electromagnetics, Vol 1 Beta: Robert Browder
Cover image attribution: (c) Michelle Yost. Total Internal Reflection is licensed with a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license (cropped by Robert Browder)

Cover credit for Fundamentals of Business: Trevor Finney
Cover image attributions: “Hong Kong Skyscrapers” by Estial, cropped and modified by Trevor Finney CC BY-SA 4.0; “Paris vue d’ensemble tour Eiffel” by Taxiarchos228, cropped and modified by Poke2001 and Trevor Finney CC BY 3.0; “London Bridge” by Skitterphoto, cropped and modified by Trevor Finney, Public Domain; “New York” by Mscamilaalmeida, cropped and modified by Trevor Finney, Public Domain.

5 Questions With… Kathleen DeLaurenti

kath-d
Kathleen DeLaurenti, Head Librarian, Johns Hopkins University Peabody Institute.

This is #6 in our series of get-acquainted posts featuring members of the ASERL Scholarly Communications community.

Q1. Describe your current scholcomm position.
My position is less obviously scholcomm these days. I just started a new position last fall as Head Librarian at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. We’re a small staff, so I’m still taking the lead on ETDs; programming around issues like authors rights, copyright, and creative commons; as well as representing the institute in campus-wide scholcomm conversations. I also just finished my first year as the inaugural Open Access Editor of the Music Library Association where I’m currently developing a strategic vision for open access and publications of the association.

Q2. What attracted you to scholcomm work?
The early drafts of the DMCA in the late 90s posed a serious threat to internet radio. As a college student who relied on the internet to fuel my WFMU habit, I became really politically active around issues relating to copyright, music, and balance at the legislative level. While I didn’t go back to grad school until 2006, the Google Books case pretty immediately sucked me back into issues around social justice, access to culture and education, and advocacy work. In our institutions, we haven’t kept a balance between the publishing industry, the public’s interest in access to scholarship, and our promotion and tenure systems. Today, we are asking the public to fund something that they need to buy back access to, and it’s not surprising that culturally we’re seeing less support for higher education in the United States.

Q3. What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is empowering students and faculty to make informed decisions about their rights. Most scholars want to see their work in the world, but our academic systems don’t really provide them with opportunities to question and think about how this happens. Library scholcomm services make that space in the academy, and having a student or faculty member engage in the process to make sure they have agency in publishing their work will never get old.

Q.4 If you had a magic wand and could change one thing in the scholcomm ecosystem, what would it be?
I know others in this space have said it, but I would also want to take away the promotion and tenure carrots that remain a barrier to open access. As long as a publisher’s name serves as a proxy for quality of work in the evaluation process, it’s too difficult for faculty to break away and make decisions that they want to make with their work. I was recently reminded of this blog post by Philip Moriarty about this issue from a faculty perspective (http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2016/03/14/addicted-to-the-brand-the-hypocrisy-of-a-publishing-academic/); this single change would have the greatest immediate impact on access to research.

Q5. If you were NOT a scholcomm librarian, what would you be?
Even though my title isn’t scholcomm, I think we’re all involved in this work today. But if I had to pick another profession, I’d be a dog trainer, hanging out with puppies all day :)

George Mason University’s OER Metafinder Search Tool: The Back Story

wallyg-gmu2Authored by Wally Grotophorst, Associate University Librarian for Digital Programs and Systems, George Mason University Libraries

This past summer I attended a meeting with the library’s Mason Publishing Group and representatives of the Provosts office, exploring what we could do to reduce the cost of textbooks and promote open educational resources across campus.  During the course of the meeting, we looked at several of the most popular OER content sites and batted around a few ideas for surfacing appropriate content for interested faculty–maybe lists by subject, maybe a LibGuide for OER content, and so on.

I wasn’t convinced an exhaustive list of OER sites would be enough. I left the meeting with the image of a faculty member—excited by idea of OERs–feeling the enthusiasm drain away as she dove in and out of the various content silos.   Soon I found myself thinking much less about OERs and far more about how to improve their discoverability as a way to improve OER adoption.  I finally realized that discovery of OER materials presents a problem that’s tailor-made for a federated search solution.

Looking across OER sources we find:

  • a large number of search targets (a federated search would save hundreds of clicks),
  • and fortunately each site is more-or-less focused (that’s good, minimizes noise in retrieval sets).
  • redundant content across many of these sources (de-duping retrieval would be a huge win, too bad eccentric metadata makes that difficult), and
  • a vertigo-inducing variety of search interfaces (distilling that to one would be great, wouldn’t it?).

Beyond improving the discovery process, building a federated search engine would also give us the opportunity to take a more expansive view of what constitutes an OER – by searching the more common OER repositories but also hitting sites that offer quality, open educational content even if that isn’t their sole or even primary purpose. Sites like DPLA, HathiTrust (of particular value where the educator belongs to a HathiTrust member institution), Internet Archive, and World Digital Library to name a few.

I pitched the idea to Abe Lederman, CEO at Deep Web Technologies (a company we use to provide several subject-specific metafinders). He was very enthusiastic and offered to help us turn the idea around quickly.  True to his word, within just a few weeks we had a powerful OER discovery service ready to go.  See https://library.gmu.edu/oermetafinder for the interface.  Currently the Mason OER Metafinder allows users to search 16 sites with a single click:

  1. American Memory Project (Library of Congress)
  2. AMSER – Applied Math and Science Education Repository
  3. BC Campus:Open Ed
  4. College Open Textbooks
  5. Digital Public Library of America
  6. Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB)
  7. HathiTrust – Full View Available
  8. Merlot.Org
  9. MIT OpenCourseware
  10. OAOpen.org
  11. OER Commons
  12. OERs at Internet Archive
  13. Open Textbook Library
  14. OpenStax CNX
  15. Project Gutenberg
  16. World Digital Library

After a few local attempts to publicize the tool with limited success, Deep Web Technologies’ staff posted a story about the OER Metafinder on their tech blog (http://bit.ly/2AMBdpt). That post was picked up by Information Today and other corporate PR news sites.  Soon our Metafinder began to build a small audience but still nothing dramatic. Three to four weeks later that we saw a large spike in traffic thanks to a mention of the site in a SPARC Libraries and OER Forum:

“I don’t remember seeing this announcement on any of our OER lists last month, or at OpenEd, but one of our library liaisons just forwarded it to me. It’s the announcement of an aggregated OER search engine created by George Mason and a web tech company, which looks, on the face of it, to be a “Google for OER”. It searches many open archival/book repositories (DPLA, HathiTrust, Internet Archive) as well as the standard OER ones (Merlot, OTL, OpenStax, etc.) and has some great limiters to narrow down results. Congrats GMU!”

This unsolicited mention on a listserv aimed at precisely the right group of people proved catalytic.  Within two days, I found 28 institutions already linking to our OER Metafinder.   Noticing that it was catching on with LibGuides users, I added sample search widget code to our “About the Metafinder” page — – see https://publishing.gmu.edu/the-mason-oer-metafinder-widget/  for details. Today, more than 100 sites are linking to the Metafinder, including five ASERL libraries (<– marked with asterisks below):
1. Albertus Magnus College
2. Anderson University
3. Arizona State University
4. Auraia Library
5. Austin Community College
6. Bates College
7. Bowling Green State University
8. Brandeis University
9. Brigham Young University
10. Brock University
11. Bronx Community College (CUNY)
12. Bucknell University
13. California State University San Marcos
14. Central Connecticut State University
15. Central Michigan University
16. City College of New York (CCNY)
17. Clackamas Community College
18. Clatsop Community College
19. College of the Canyons
20. College of William & Mary*
21. Colorado State University Pueblo
22. Columbus State Community College (Georgia)
23. Community College of Baltimore County
24. Denison University Libraries
25. Eastern Michigan University
26. Florida State University*
27. Fulton-Montgomery Community College
28. George Mason University*
29. George Washington University
30. Howard Community College (Maryland)
31. Hunter College (CUNY)
32. Iowa State University
33. Justice Institute of British Columbia
34. Kirkwood Community College (Iowa)
35. Lakehead University (Ontario)
36. Lansing Community College
37. Leeward Community College (Hawaii)
38. Lehman College (CUNY)
39. Linn-Benton Community College (Oregon)
40. Loyola University New Orleans
41. Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
42. Massachusetts Maritime Academy
43. Montgomery County Community College (Pennsylvania)
44. National Science and Technology Development Agency (Thailand)
45. New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT)
46. New York University
47. Niagara College (Ontario)
48. Northern Illinois University
49. Northwestern Michigan College
50. Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD)
51. OER KnowledgeCloud
52. Open NYS
53. Otterbein University
54. Pasadena City College
55. Piedmont Virginia Community College
56. Pitt Community College
57. Randolph-Macon College
58. Rhode Island College
59. Rutgers University
60. Santa Clara University
61. Shenandoah University
62. Sonoma State University
63. Southern Connecticut State University
64. St. Cloud State University
65. SUNY Cortland
66. SUNY Old Westbury
67. Tacoma Community College
68. Temple University
69. Texas Tech University
70. University of Alaska Anchorage
71. University of Alaska Southeast
72. University of Arizona
73. University of Arkansas
74. University of British Columbia
75. University of California San Diego
76. University of Central Florida
77. University of Colorado
78. University of Houston-Victoria
79. University of Kansas
80. University of Kentucky
81. University of La Verne
82. University of Mary Washington
83. University of Massachusetts Amherst
84. University of Massachusetts Boston
85. University of Massachusetts Lowell
86. University of Missouri – Kansas City
87. University of New Orleans
88. University of North Carolina – Charlotte
89. University of Pittsburgh
90. University of Regina (Saskatchewan)
91. University of Richmond
92. University of South Carolina*
93. University of Texas – Arlington
94. University of Texas – Austin
95. University of the People
96. University of Winnipeg (Manitoba)
97. UtahOER
98. Victoria College
99. Villanova University
100. Virginia Tech*
101. Virginia Wesleyan University
102. Washington State University
103. Western Illinois University
104. Wilmington University
105. Worcester State University

We would love to see other ASERL libraries link to or offer a search box to the Mason OER Metafinder.  We’d also love to hear of other targets to include in our search for OER content.  I can be reached at wallyg <at> gmu.edu for questions or suggestions.

 

 

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.