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… Devin Soper

Image

dsoper-DRSprofile4-headshot

Devin Soper, Scholarly Communication Librarian, Florida State University

This is #7 in our series of get-acquainted posts featuring members of the ASERL Scholarly Communications community

Q1. Describe your current scholcomm position.

I have been working as a Scholarly Communications Librarian at FSU for almost three years. As you might expect for a garden-variety scholcomm position, my responsibilities span a number of different areas, including institutional repository management, OA policy implementation, open education initiatives, library publishing, copyright education, and research data management. Although juggling these hats can be tricky, I love the variety, and I’m very grateful to the leadership at FSU Libraries for giving me the freedom to focus on specific projects from time to time. Some highlights from the past few years include migrating our institutional repository from bepress Digital Commons to the open-source Islandora platform, passing and implementing an institutional OA policy, publishing our first book-length, edited volume, and, more recently, building a new OER program to support student success by reducing textbook costs and creating opportunities for open, learner-centered pedagogy. For more details on what I’ve been up to recently, check out my CV on github.

 

Q2. What attracted you to scholcomm work?

Back in 2012, my first professional library job was in the University of British Columbia’s (then) newly formed Scholarly Communication & Copyright Office (SCCO), which was created with a mandate to develop copyright services for the university, and particularly to promote copyright compliance following UBC’s exit from the Access Copyright interim tariff. In light of this mandate, most of my work at the SCCO involved providing education and resources around copyright and fair dealing (the Canadian equivalent to fair use) in teaching and research. Although I enjoyed this work, it regularly forced me to confront the restrictiveness of the “All Rights Reserved” copyright regime and, as a result, led me to become increasingly enamoured with the power of open licensing to promote equitable access to information and to provide the requisite reuse rights for myriad forms of scholarly and pedagogical innovation. Naturally, this experience eventually led me to seek out a more traditional scholcomm role where I would be empowered to focus specifically on advancing openness at my institution – and, thankfully, that’s exactly what I found at FSU!  

 

Q3. What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding part of my job is connecting and collaborating with the many brilliant, innovative faculty, staff, and students at my institution. This is a rewarding endeavor in itself, but it also ties into my hopes for the growth of our scholcomm program at FSU (and the long-term success of library scholcomm initiatives, more generally). Although our program dates back to 2011, we are still a relatively small shop, and we’ve long recognized that our aspirations of shifting the default to open at our institution can only be realized through strategic collaboration with like-minded individuals on campus.

To illustrate what I mean here, allow me to refer briefly to Derek Sivers’ TED Talk, How to Start a Movement. In many ways, our scholcomm program is akin to the subject of Derek’s talk: namely, a “lone nut,” dancing alone at a festival, who attracts a few brave souls to join him, recognizes them as equals, and empowers them to invite their friends, until gradually a crowd forms and everyone on the fence feels compelled to join in. A strained analogy, perhaps, but the idea gives me hope and makes collaborating with the innovators on our campus all the more rewarding.

Q.4 If you had a magic wand and could change one thing in the scholcomm ecosystem, what would it be?

Like many other contributors to this blog series, my first choice would be changing the promotion and tenure process to incentivize faculty to make their work open. Perhaps the best example of this, for me, is the Liège model, where faculty are required to deposit the full text of their works in the institutional repository in order to have them considered for the purposes of internal research evaluation / P&T. If even a few U.S. institutions were able to implement similar policies, I think that belief in the value of institutional OA policies (and the feasibility of Green OA, more generally) would soar as a result.

To vary the conversation a bit, a close second for me would be increased collaboration around big deal cancellations. I’m thinking here about the nationwide cancellations and renegotiations that have taken place in the Netherlands, Germany, and Finland, for instance, where hundreds of universities have banded together to cancel (and later renegotiate) their big deal contracts with Elsevier on the grounds of unsustainable pricing practices, insufficient respect for authors’ rights, and reluctance (if not outright opposition) to advance the cause of open access. In following these developments, I’ve long wished that we could present a similarly united front on these issues here in the U.S., whether at the state, regional, or national level.

Q5. If you were NOT a scholcomm librarian, what would you be?

A musician, and specifically a trombonist in big brass band. A totally impractical answer, since I don’t have much in the way of musical talent or experience, but I dig the dream!

 

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 :)

5 Questions With… Hillary Miller

_N2A1199_crop Hillary Miller, Scholarly Communications Outreach Librarian, Virginia Commonwealth University

This is #5 in our series of get-acquainted posts featuring members of the ASERL Scholarly Communications community.

 

 

 

Q1. Describe your current scholcomm position.

I’m the Scholarly Communications Outreach Librarian and a member of our libraries’ Scholarly Communications and Publishing Division. I help guide faculty and students on matters of copyright, open access, author rights, open educational resources, and research impact. I offer consultations and workshops, and I collaborate with library and university partners to build larger-scale outreach initiatives and educational programming. Some recent and upcoming examples include Science Speak (a collaborative university event on science communication), Copyright for Creators (a workshop series on copyright for artists and art scholars), and OpenCon Virginia (a regional satellite event of the main international OpenCon).

Q2. What attracted you to scholcomm work?

In graduate school, I worked in the library’s e-resources and serials management division, where I first experienced e-resource license negotiations and learned about copyright, license restrictions, and open access. This sparked my interest in the broader scholcomm ecosystem, and I was excited by how dynamic this area of work is. Although change and uncertainty can be a challenge, it’s something I welcome!

Q3. What is the most rewarding part of your job?

My favorite part of my job is how many different parts of the university it brings me into contact with, and how excited people get when they find out that the libraries are working in this area. In addition to working with faculty and students across all of our academic schools and departments, I get to work with amazing colleagues from units like our Office of Research, Division of Community Engagement, and Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence. And now with an emerging focus on open educational resources, I am building relationships with even more groups like the campus bookstore, Student Affairs, Academic Technologies, and more.

Q4. If you had a magic wand and could change one thing in the scholcomm ecosystem, what would it be?

I’d use the magic wand to create an instant culture change in the academic community, one that would give all stakeholders a strong sense of ownership over the scholcomm ecosystem and scholarship in general. I’d like to bring all stakeholders to the table with a commitment to building and sustaining community-owned infrastructure and a drive to experiment with new forms of dissemination (and recognize this through promotion and tenure processes) that would support greater research impact, particularly for communities outside of the academy.

Q5. If you were NOT a scholcomm librarian, what would you be?

Inside of libraries, I would probably go back to e-resources acquisitions. I truly love reading and negotiating contracts!

Outside of libraries, I would love to work for a grant giving foundation. My dream job is to be able to give money and resources to people who have good ideas and who are doing good work. Being a billionaire philanthropist would also let me do this, but that’s probably a lot less likely to happen

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.

 

 

5 Questions With… Dave Hansen

Photo of David Hansen David (Dave) Hansen, Director of Copyright Scholarly Communication, Duke University

This is #4 in our series of get-acquainted posts featuring members of the ASERL Scholarly Communications community.

Q1. Describe your current scholcomm position.

I’m Duke’s Director of Copyright and Scholarly Communication. In that role I spend about half my time focused internally on Duke Libraries, addressing specific copyright issues, helping train librarians and staff about copyright and scholarly communications, and working to improve how we institutionally support, through technology and library services, our faculty and student authors to better communicate their scholarship to the world. The other half of my time I spend working directly with faculty and students to help them understand copyright and the scholarly publishing system, usually with the goal of helping them share their work more broadly. In the Office of Copyright and Scholarly Communication I work with two great colleagues: Paolo Mangiafico works on scholarly communication technology, mostly consulting with faculty about what technological options they have so they can do what they want with their scholarship. Haley Walton works on outreach, helping make sure we’re talking with Duke faculty and grad students at the right time and place to best help them.

Q2. What attracted you to scholcomm work?

Really it was one person, Kevin Smith, who was Duke’s previous Copyright and Scholarly Communications Officer. He is now Dean of Libraries at the University of Kansas. I had just finished law school and was thinking about working somewhere at the intersection of law and libraries, but I wasn’t completely sure where or how. Kevin had advertised a student scholarly communications intern position. I applied, came to work for him, and I loved it. In working with Kevin and meeting with academic authors, I remember being shocked how even the most basic misconceptions about the law could dramatically and negatively impact access to research. It was fun working with Kevin, watching him gently correct those misconceptions and ultimately help increase access to research.

Q3. What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Helping people overcome fear, especially when it comes to copyright law. I suppose because it’s a confusing area of the law, I find many authors and librarians are just terrified of doing something wrong or making a mistake. For the most part, thoughtful risk management alleviates many of those fears and helps move projects forward.

Q4. If you had a magic wand and could change one thing in the scholcomm ecosystem, what would it be?

I would create a legal framework that actually reflects the needs of academics. Right now we all operate under a copyright system that was designed for economic and commercial interests. It just wasn’t designed for the incentive system most academic authors operate under, which focuses on attribution and credit far more than it does money.

Q5. If you were NOT a scholcomm librarian, what would you be?

Probably in private practice, focusing on intellectual property law. But then I wouldn’t get to work in a library every day, which is one of my favorite things about what I do now.


If you’re interested in sharing your scholcomm story, or wish to know more about a fellow ASERL librarian’s path by suggesting they be featured, contact Molly Keener or Andy Wesolek.

 

NASIG Adopts Core Competencies for Scholarly Communication Librarians

Scholarly communications issues and initiatives are of increasing importance to contemporary library organizations. This is evidenced by the recent substantial increase in the numbers of scholarly communication librarian positions. Finlay, Tsou, and Sugimoto (2015) found that positions for scholarly communication librarians, as a percentage of total open librarian positions, more than doubled between 2006 and 2014. Organizations are clearly investing in these roles, but despite this investment, “scholarly communication” remains a broad and often amorphous term with little consistencies in the job duties of the scholarly communication librarian (SCL) between institutions. Clarifying these roles will assist those creating position descriptions for SCLs, as well as iSchools in the development of curricula.

 

In 2014 the executive board of NASIG established a task force charged with developing core competencies for scholarly communication librarians. The creation of the task force was timely, as NASIG was actively expanding its vision and mission beyond serials to include the entire information lifecycle, including scholarly communications. Beyond the development of core competencies, the expanded vision and mission offer a professional home for scholarly communication librarians in which they may engage with other librarians, publishers, and vendors collaboratively. One should keep this in mind when reading the core competencies, as the task force recognized the need to address Open Access advocacy in an important but non-ideological way.

 

The Core Competencies for Scholarly Communication Librarians Task force began their work sifting through hundreds of job ads and position descriptions emphasizing various aspects of scholarly communication librarianship. These were obtained through calls to germane listservs, the ALA Joblist archive, and partnerships with other groups obtaining position descriptions and job ads for similar purposes. To address the broad and amorphous aspects of scholarly communication, the Task Force identified four themes found in all SCLs and five areas in which the SCL may focus, as determined by existing strengths and organizational needs.

 

The full Document may be found here: http://www.nasig.org/site_page.cfm?pk_association_webpage_menu=310&pk_association_webpage=9435

 

The Core Competencies outlined in this document will be interesting to revisit going forward. Scholarly communication is a rapidly emerging and evolving field, and I suspect that it matures, we will see fewer general entry-level “scholarly communication librarian” positions and more positions with a stronger focus on the areas of emphasis (eg. Data Management Librarians or Publishing Services Librarians). Moreover, new trends in scholarly communication will likely emerge and should be added to the core competencies. For example, at some point, the core competencies should address the recent explosion in OER services and resources commonly associated with the SCL, potentially as a new area of emphasis.

 

5 Questions With… Laura Burtle

photo of Laura Burtle

Laura Burtle, Associate Dean for Scholarly Communications, Georgia State University Library

This is #3 in our series of get-acquainted posts featuring members of the ASERL Scholarly Communications community.

Q1. Describe your current scholcomm position.

I am the Associate Dean for Scholarly Communications. I am the only Scholarly Communications person in the library, along with a student assistant. I offer consultations and workshops on copyright in instruction, author rights, publishing contracts, and open access, particularly for faculty and graduate students. I also manage our institutional repository, ScholarWorks@Georgia State University. I work with our Digital Projects and Special Collections & Archives departments on copyright and privacy concerns for putting digitized content online. As an Associate Dean, I am also responsible for Digital Library Services and library leadership.

Q2. What attracted you to scholcomm work?

I have worked in most areas of the library over the long time I have been a librarian. New areas are emerging, and that is exciting. A certain lawsuit piqued my interest in copyright in particular, and scholarly communications generally! I wanted to work more closely on helping authors share their work and retain their rights. If all of those works GSU was accused of infringing were open access, the never-ending lawsuit would never have started.

Q3. What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Copyright is such a mystery to people. Instructors are very uncertain what they can and cannot do, faculty and student authors don’t understand why they can’t share their work, and librarians and instructional designers get questions they can’t answer. It is gratifying to me to be able to teach people about copyright. By focusing on what matters to a particular group, I am good at clarifying a confusing area. People are very grateful, and that is rewarding. I present to library groups regularly, especially in Georgia, and I appreciate the opportunity to help librarians understand copyright and open access, and feel more comfortable supporting their patrons.

Q4. If you had a magic wand and could change one thing in the scholcomm ecosystem, what would it be?

Andy already said this, but I have to echo that a thing that I would love to see change is the way the P&T process evaluates scholarship more based on the journals where faculty publish than the content of the work. Beyond that, I wish faculty and administrators were more engaged in trying to change the system from a model still focused on propping up an old business model to one that embraces the open opportunities provided by the digital era.

Q5. If you were NOT a scholcomm librarian, what would you be?

Well, I just got my J.D., so maybe a lawyer? I enjoy teaching, so I could see myself teaching in some capacity. For something completely different, my friends and I think it would be fun to open a brewery!


If you’re interested in sharing your scholcomm story, or wish to know more about a fellow ASERL librarian’s path by suggesting they be featured, contact Molly Keener or Andy Wesolek.