Closing the divide: Subject librarians and scholarly communication librarians can work together to reach common goals | Middleton | College & Research Libraries News

“My thinking has been heavily influenced by Karen Williams, former associate university librarian for academic programs at the University of Minnesota Libraries (UML) and her work to incorporate scholarly communication into the workflow of subject librarians/liaisons. In 2010, Kara Malenfant, ACRL senior strategist for special initiatives, detailed the collaboration and systems thinking approach that UML used to define and identify a baseline expertise in scholarly communication for their liaison librarians.4 Successful strategies that UML deployed included an investment in training and professional development that centered on scholarly communication for their liaisons, documenting expectations related to scholarly communication in position descriptions, creating annual goals per the expectations, and assessing how well liaison librarians were meeting the goals related to scholarly communication.

Williams expanded on her work at UML in an Association of Research Libraries (ARL) report that outlined emerging trends and new roles for liaison librarians.5 In this report, she and coauthor Janice Jaguszewski conducted a series of interviews with administrators at five ARL libraries. Using information gathered from the interviews, the authors identified six trends impacting liaison librarian roles at their institution. Among the six trends, the third trend discussed the intersections of copyright, intellectual property, and scholarly communication and the potential for subject/liaison librarians to partner and effectively participate in these activities serving as educators, consultants, and advocates….”

Seeking Impact and Visibility: Scholarly Communication in Southern Africa

“African scholarly research is relatively invisible globally because even though research production on the continent is growing in absolute terms, it is falling in comparative terms. In addition, traditional metrics of visibility, such as the Impact Factor, fail to make legible all African scholarly production. Many African universities also do not take a strategic approach to scholarly communication to broaden the reach of their scholarsí work. To address this challenge, the Scholarly Communication in Africa Programme (SCAP) was established to help raise the visibility of African scholarship by mapping current research and communication practices in Southern African universities and by recommending and piloting technical and administrative innovations based on open access dissemination principles. To do this, SCAP conducted extensive research in four faculties at the Universities of Botswana, Cape Town, Mauritius and Namibia.”

Scholarly Communication in Africa Project – SALDRU

“The Scholarly Communication in Africa Programme (SCAP) was a three-year initiative aimed at increasing the publication and visibility of African research through harnessing the potential for scholarly communication in the digital age. Jointly led by the Centre for Educational Technology and the Research Office at UCT, the project engaged four African universities [the Universities of Botswana, Cape Town, Mauritius, and Namibia] in action research to better understand the ecosystem of scholarly communication in Africa and address the scholarly communication needs and aspirations at the various participating institutions….”

Europe set to miss flagship open access target | THE News

“The European Union is set to miss its target of having all scientific research freely available by 2020, as progress towards open access hits a “plateau” because of deeper problems in how research is assessed. Sixty to 70 per cent of universities reported that less than a fifth of their researchers’ peer-reviewed publications are freely available, depending on the type of open access, according to a survey of more than 300 members of the European University Association. 

Only one in 10 universities said that more than 40 per cent of their research was published as “gold” open access, where there is no delay making it public. In 2016, EU member states’ science and industry ministers, supported by the European Commission, backed a move to full open access in just four years. This latest survey asks members about papers published in 2013, 2014 and 2015, so may not capture all progress made to date. But it still concludes that to hit the 2020 target “will require greater engagement by all of the relevant stakeholders”.

This chimes with an EU progress report released at the end of February which concludes that “100 per cent full open access in 2020 is realistically not achievable in the majority of European countries participating in this exercise in the foreseeable future”. Lidia Borrell-Damian, the EUA’s director for research and innovation, said that “unfortunately [full open access] is very difficult to achieve” and that “we have reached a plateau in which it’s very difficult to move forward”.

Open access had taken off in some subjects – like physics, where the open access arXiv pre-print platform is widely used – in which “traditional indicators” of journal prestige such as impact factors and other measures of citations were “less relevant”, she explained. But in most disciplines, these measures were still crucial for burnishing researchers’ career prospects, she added, making it difficult for authors to switch to less prestigious, lower impact factor open access journals. “As long as it [research assessment] is based on these proxy indicators, it’s impossible to change the game,” Dr Borrell-Damian said. Search our database of more than 3,000 global university jobs

This is backed up by the survey findings. The biggest barrier to publishing in an open access repository was the “high priority given to publishing in conventional journals”, a hindrance cited by more than eight in 10 universities. “Concerns about the quality of open access publications” were also mentioned by nearly 70 per cent of respondents. In some disciplines, to publish open access, “you have to be a believer or activist” and it comes “at the risk of damaging your own career”, Dr Borrell-Damian said.

Echoing a long-standing concern in science, she argued that “we need a whole new system” of research assessment that does not rely so heavily on citations and impact factors. The EU’s flagship Horizon 2020 funding scheme requires grant recipients to publish their findings openly, but this was a far from universal policy for national funding bodies, she added. A spokesman for the EU Council acknowledged that “more efforts will be needed overall to accelerate progress towards full open access for all scientific publications”.”

Association of Universities in the Netherlands launches 2018-2020 Road Map to Open Access

100% open-access publication by 2020: that ambition is stated by the National Plan Open Science and the goal to which the VSNU has committed its efforts. The VSNU E-zine on open access published today includes the plans made by the universities in order to achieve this goal. 

Aarhus University and industry open patent-free playground

“Along with a number of leading Danish industrial companies, Aarhus University has opted out of the rat race in a new collaboration on industrially relevant basic research. Researchers and companies from all over Denmark publish all their results and data on the innovative Open Science platform, where the information is available free of charge to everyone interested….

The Open Science platform is thus the source of a number of paradigm shifts. It not only breaks away from the focus of universities on patenting their research discoveries, but also constitutes a conscious rebellion against the business models used by scientific journals….”

New publishing platform makes experienced authors’ works freely available > News > USC Dornsife

“…Readers who visit the Free Read Press website can download and distribute books by experienced authors, many of whom are connected with USC, at no cost and with no usage restrictions. In addition to work by Dane and Rowe, who is professor of English, American studies and ethnicity, and comparative literature, contributors include Distinguished Professor of English Percival Everett, Aerol Arnold Professor Emeritus of English Jim Kincaid, and Richard Fliegel, associate dean for undergraduate programs. Unlike traditional printing houses, there is little editing, and authors can make changes to their work at any time. For readers who prefer the texture of a crisp page over the digital swipe, Free Read Press has partnered with printers to sell physical copies of each book at cost….”

Taylor & Francis scraps extra charges after university protests | The Bookseller

“Taylor & Francis has backtracked over plans to charge extra for access to older research papers online, after more than 110 universities signed a letter of protest.

The latest renewal of UK universities’ deal with the publisher, which is yet to be signed, only covers papers published in the last 20 years, reported Times Higher Education. Research released before this would have to be bought in a separate package by university.

The 20-year span of papers included in the main deal would have moved forward in time with each year. This would mean the archive would increase and costs would escalate further as researchers attempted to access papers from 1997 onwards, described by academics as the beginning of the born digital record. 

In an open letter dated 13th February, head librarians from more than 110 UK and Irish institutions, as well as representatives from Research Libraries UK, the Society of College, National and University Libraries (Sconul), and the Irish Universities Association, urged Taylor & Francis to drop the extra charges.

“A “moving wall” approach for non-subscribed titles within the journal package will increase administration activities and costs substantially for libraries and for Taylor & Francis, impose direct additional licensing costs, and create confusion and annoyance for your customers and our reader communities,” the letter reads….”

We need to fix tech transfer at universities | University Affairs

“Why should universities continue to own and profit from publicly-funded work? If the public pays for it, why shouldn’t the public own it? … However, unlike governmental funding, the funds given by a private company to an academic researcher also come with an expectation of ownership. The trouble arises when the university is unwilling to fund the work but is also unwilling to cede ownership of the resulting invention. (As an aside, this is not unlike the longstanding debate on open access to scientific papers)….I can understand the institution retaining some claim on the IP alongside the public because they are providing the infrastructure to enable this work, which is effectively considered an extension of this work by their faculty. But when the university pulls back research funding entirely and expects financial support of “its own” scientists to come entirely from public grants or private contracts, and then “double dips” – detracting from these grants’ operating expenses to support the indirect costs of maintaining the research lab, then ownership of the resulting IP should pass to the funding parties….”