Wednesday, March 29, 2006

UBC Library Hosts Two New OA Journals

The UBC Library is hosting two new open access (OA) journals:

1. (TCI) Transnational Curriculum Inquiry: The Journal of the International Association for the Advancement of Curriculum Studies (See IAACS)

2. New Proposals: Journal of Marxism and Interdisciplinary Inquiry/ (call for papers for first issue)

UBC Library will host the OA journals without charge, for now. Faculty interested in having ejournals hosted by UBC Library sign an agreement outlining the responsibilities and liabilities for the Library and participating ejournals. The agreement indicates that the Library will offer server space and the OJS software to store and disseminate the contents of the ejournals. Each of the journal publishers will be provided with administrative control to allow them to set up their own online area for their respective journals.

Bronwen Sprout, the Digital Initiatives Librarian, says that "This could potentially develop into a much larger initiative with the Library assuming an important role in supporting and encouraging new models of scholarly communication on the UBC campus."

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Biblios Now in DOAJ

Biblios: Revista de Bibliotecología y Ciencias de la Información, published since 1999, is a new addition to DOAJ, the Directory of Open Access Journals.

Articles in the current issue cover topics ranging from the ethnography of weblogs to the potential of using bank website marketing techniques in the library ambit to intelligent use of the internet. In spanish, with english abstracts.

Welcome to DOAJ, Biblios!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Marcus Banks Appointed Editor-in-Chief for Biomedical Digital Libraries journal

Marcus Banks, one of our own here at OA Librarian, has been appointed an editor-in-chief for the journal, Biomedical Digital Libraries (BDL). BDL is an online journal within BioMedCentral (BMC), an important open access (OA) publisher.

We wish Marcus well in his new role as co-editor of one of BioMedCentral's key journals. For more information, see Marcus' World (his blog) or review his publications here in MEDLINE. Congratulations Marcus! - Dean

Sunday, March 26, 2006

CMAJ: Open Access & "Flattening" Is Best Rx

According to an article in Saturday's Globe and Mail - "Prescription for Canada: an unfettered medical journal" - the cure for what is ailing the Can Med Assoc J is twofold: first, a move to a fully independent, not-for-profit journal for medical research; second, an open access (OA) model similiar to the Public Library of Science (PLoS).

UBC's John Willinsky, who resigned last week from the CMA Board, is quoted in the article as saying: ".. the events at the CMAJ suggest an alternative scientific publication may be needed in Canada". Willinsky adds that "The advantage of this [OA] model is that it can be started quickly and at low cost. We don't want to rush into this, but we could definitely do it."

The backlash against the CMAJ seems to fit into a global trend described by Thomas Friedman as "flattening" in The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century. Simply put, the digital revolution makes it possible for researchers to collaborate easily, and for decisions to be made less hierarchically by private interests - more "flattened". Globalization 3.0, as he calls it, is driven by new economic models, individual innovation and freelancing. (By the way, Globalization 1.0? The discovery of North America in 1492.)

Whatever model is adopted, CMA's Board needs to restore editorial freedom and move the journal toward more transparency. They got the open access part right, but need to recognize the importance of freedom and transparency in a world that is increasingly going global, and flat.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Ann Okerson: An Unauthorized Tribute

Would the conscientiously, studiously neutral moderator of Liblicense-L care to be cast an open access advocate? My suspicion is no - therefore, this particular tribute is completely unauthorized.

Ann Shumelda Okerson has a personal tradition of self-archiving on her own web site that is as awesomely open as any archivangelist might wish.

Many of us have benefited from the Liblicense-L discussion list over the years - a forum that is open in more than one sense. Liblicense-L is a public list, open for anyone to participate or to view the archives. The discussion list itself, in my opinion, is a model of a new form of open scholarly communication. Plus, the topics of discussion, while revolving around the central theme of database licensing, are open to include related topics, such as all of the broader changes occurring in scholarly communications, including open access. No wonder Liblicense-L has been one of the most interesting discussion venues for open access.

Over the years, Ann has worked hard in collaboration with others to expand access to knowledge to those in developing countries, helping to develop the HINARI project. Most recently, Ann has become one of the directors of the OARE project. As reported by Peter Suber in Open Access News, OARE will "make prestigious scientific journals in the environment sciences available online to the developing world at little or no cost."

For all that you do to make the world a more open place, Ann: thanks!
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PerX Project and 'Marketing' with Metadata

PerX (Pilot Engineering Repository Xsearch) is a two-year JISC Digital Repositories Programme project, which is developed to provide a cross-repository search tool for the engineering learning and research community. PerX has released an advocacy document entitled "Marketing with Metatdata - How Metadata Can Increase Exposure and Visibility of Online Content" which introduces the means by which content providers can share, or embed, their descriptive data (metadata), with other websites, in standard and reusable ways. This document seems very useful for those, interested in what ways medatada can be exposed.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Elsevier's Response to Depositing Articles in E-LIS

Steve Oberg on the Family Man Librarian blog writes about Elsevier's Response to Depositing Articles in E-LIS. Basically, Elsevier allows authors to deposit peer-reviewed postprints on personal web servers, but not subject repositories.

Peter Suber on Open Access News comments:
"Publishers that insist on this distinction either do not grasp the implications of OAI interoperability or want to place special burdens on authors without IRs or without institutional affiliation".

Peter's first point is that this policy is just a little silly - an open access postprint in an institutional repository is every bit as accessible as one in a subject repository.

One thought for Elsevier and other publishers: if limits are desired, perhaps limit deposit to open access archives, whether institutional or subject. This would eliminate the possibility of re-sale, which may be what is intended. (Note - I'm not sure I've completely thought this one through; comments on this idea would be appreciated).

Peter is right that this does cause inequity for authors. For example, here in British Columbia, the only fully operational institutional repository is at Simon Fraser University Library. Within the next few years, all the large university libraries will likely have open access IRs. This still leaves great inequity - librarians at colleges, public or special libraries are not likely to have access to an IR for some time.

Here is my advice for authors like Steve until this policy is remedied: before submitting your paper, consider whether the journal is OA-friendly. Check the DOAJ list of OA LIS journals - 57 journals as of March 17, 2006 - or, keep up with OA Librarian for announcements of new OA journals like Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, and consult the Sherpa Romeo list for library journals - look for the green journals that allow for self-archiving of both preprint and postprint.

This post reflects my personal opinion only and does not represent the opinions or policy of the BC Electronic Library Network or the Simon Fraser University Library.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Open access (OA) medical podcasting

Over at UBC Google scholar blog this week, I blogged the top five (5) podcasting websites which were selected (unscientifically) as a librarian might select books - based on knowledge of what was available, credibility and/or reputation of any authors and publishers as well as evaluation of the quality/presentation of the information itself.

Not surprisingly, whether or not the podcast was openly accessible was also important. In the final analysis, a number of excellent podcasts were ruled out as they were inaccessible, subscription-based or limited in terms of how the information was delivered (iPod only, for example).

What's my point here? In the post-textual web, the principles of open access will have to extend to audio and video formats, the web's new wave. Thus, the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA's new audio commentary and the open-access Arizona Heart Institute all get top honours.

The AHI's multimedia podcasts on cardiovascular topics are free to all patients, and clinicians, and serve as a model in healthcare education. In medicine at least, the principles of open access should be extended to pod and vodcasting; these new types of sources should be made available to all care-givers and patients to improve the quality of patient care. - Dean

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Evidence Based Library and Information Practice: new OA LIS journal

The inaugural issue of Evidence Based Library and Information Practice (EBLIP) is now online.

EBLIP is open access, peer reviewed and is the first journal to focus specifically on evidence based practice in the information professions.

In addition to the valuable Evidence Summaries section, this issue also contains research articles, papers presented at the 3rd EBL Conference in Australia, and EBL Conference abstracts.

Many thanks to CLA's Evidence Based Librarianship Interest Group, and to the editorial team:

Lindsay Glynn , Editor-in-Chief
Denise Koufogiannakis, Associate Editor (Evidence Summaries)
Pam Ryan, Production Editor

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Bielefeld Conference Presentations in E-LIS

The presentations from the 8th Annual Bielefeld Conference (2006) are now available in E-LIS.

Those who are interested in scholarly communications might want to view ALL of the presentations - I know I do! Some examples:

Tony Hey's E-Science and its Implications for the Library Community

Donatella Castelli's Digital Libraries of the Future - and the Role of Libraries

Sarah E. Thomas' Publishing Solutions for Contemporary Scholars: The Library as Innovator and Partner

...and much, much more!

Many thanks to the Bielefeld conference organizers and presenters, and the E-LIS team.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

SPARC Futures: An Evolving Agenda

Just added to E-LIS: SPARC Futures: An Evolving Agenda, a presentation by Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing and Research Coalition. Recommended reading for OA Librarian types!


Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Research Program) briefly describes SPARC, its mission - to advance a more open system of scholarship by reducing barriers to access, sharing, and use of scholarship, and the current SPARC focus on Open Access. The SPARC open access vision is one of scholarly communication in the networked digital environment that eliminates toll barriers, maximizes potential usage, more fully realizes the value of research, and addresses dysfunction in the legacy system. It is emphasised that open access is an access model, not a business model. Current SPARC activities are highlighted.

ASIST 2005: Sparking Synergies: Bringing Research and Practice Together

Papers from the American Society for Information Science & Technology's (ASIST)2005 Annual Meeting, Sparking Synergies: Bringing Research and Practice Together, are now online and freely available in E-LIS.

This initiative beautifully illustrates many of the themes of OA Librarian, in my opinion.

The benefits of open access to these conference papers are obvious. Everyone with access to the internet has ready access to the conference proceedings, not just those who could attend the conference or purchase the proceedings. This helps us all to bridge the gap between theory and practice. This is one of the most exciting transformative possibilities of the combination of the electronic medium and the world wide web, that is, the ability to develop evidence-based practice in areas like medicine and librarianship, most effective through the optimum dissemination of research, which is open access.

The ready findability of the conference papers enhances discovery of these high-quality resources by people interested in the paper topics. No wonder, then, that the US E-LIS Editorial Team received a substantial and enthusiastic response to the question about archiving of these papers; in record time and without reminders, about half the authors responded with an enthusiastic yes, please make my work available in E-LIS, with only one author opting out.

One might speculate that this initiative will enhance the impact not only of the individual authors, but also that of the sponsoring body, ASIST, as well. After all, people are more likely to find the high-quality work that is presented at the ASIST annual meetings.

Placing these papers in the open archive (E-LIS) greatly enhances access to this work - conference proceedings have often been seen as grey literature, quality work but much less accessible than more traditionally published material. Marcus Banks talks about this potential of open access - see Towards a Continuum of Scholarship.

Open access archives facilitate access - but also preservation. Including these papers in E-LIS enhances preservation of these documents in electronic form. This is an important point. Many worry, with good reason, about the long-term preservation of the electronic medium. Open access indirectly facilitates preservation in ways that are little understood. According to the LOCKSS (lots of copies keep stuff safe) principle, the more copies of a document, the better the chances that it will survive. With open access, as many copies can be made as people would like. A full back-up of E-LIS is made weekly, and an incremental back-up is made daily. Authors are provided advice on formats for submission for preservation purposes - standards-based, non-proprietary formats that are known to have better likelihood of preservation are encouraged, for example. This is not yet ideal for preservation purposes, of course - but much better than options such as placing powerpoints - a vulnerable format - on websites which may or may not be maintained over the medium to longer term.

Optimum dissemination through open access can facilitate further research as well as improve practice. For example, the following paper by Caryn Anderson and Gabriele Bammer alerted me to a lack of knowledge about the global research environment. Like many, my time for professional reading is limited, and I would probably never have encountered this article if it were only disseminated in the printed proceedings. Thanks to the open access status of this paper, however, I am now aware of an important research question in need of attention, and can readily draw this to the attention of colleagues through a simple URL. To me, this can only highlight the importance of the work presented at this conference, and increase the probablity of purchase of the conference proceedings in these days of very limited acquisitions dollars.

Anderson, Caryn and Bammer, Gabriele (2005) Measuring the Global Research Environment: Information Science Challenges for the 21st Century. In Grove, Andrew, Eds. Proceedings 68th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIST) 42, Charlotte, NC (US)

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Open access is impossible without findability

Open access (OA) advocates like Peter Suber and my colleagues here at OA Librarian do a marvelous job of documenting the progress of the OA movement. In a post-OA world, however, what about findability? What about the search side of the equation? Without search engines like Google, for example, what happens to easy findability?? The problem is likely to be exacerbated as the web scales in size, and complexity.

Authority destabilizes in open access models. I am thinking in terms of authority files in catalogues but also with respect to authoritative information. I grew up in a small suburb of Calgary, Alberta where authority was never questioned, where the World Book Encyclopedia was "what was right". For all its limitations, at least a ten year old could find the World Book confidently at the local public library. Can that same ten year old trust Wikipedia?

OA librarians need to spend time and intellectual energy thinking about OA advocacy beyond free information for all. Dismantling paid search, for example. Advocating for OpenSearch, as in PubMed, but not just in medicine. Finally, the future of open access models on the web must be flexible enough to accomodate new means of findability - ie. algorithms, tagging, folksonomies, social software - but continue to build on the tried-and-true tenets of library science.

This is our future. cheers, Dean

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

U of Tennessee Libraries Launch All-OA Academic Press

Kudos to the University of Tennessee Libraries for launching an all-OA Academic Press! More details available from Peter Suber on Open Access News

This post reflects my personal opinion only and does not represent the opinions or policy of the BC Electronic Library Network or the Simon Fraser University Library.

Towards a Continuum of Scholarship

Newly posted to E-LIS and DLIST is a very interesting and thoughtful paper and presentation by OA Librarian Blog team member Marcus Banks. Marcus takes a very long-term of the transformative potential of open access, going back to 1966 with the U.S. Department of Education making ERIC freely available, and looking far into the future, when the increasing availability of grey literature thanks to institutional repositories will make the distinction between grey and non-grey literature disappear.

This paper is highly recommended reading for the OA advocate, even the well-read OA advocate, as Marcus covers a number of concepts and key historical pieces that we don't hear about all the time, such as the scholars who began publishing freely available online journals in the 90's on their own, and Dr. Harold Varmus' 1999 proposal for e-Biomed, which eventually inspired PubMedCentral. Much important health literature is actually grey literature; making this body of work more available is a very important, not peripheral function for institutional repositories.

Banks, Marcus A. (2005) Towards a continuum of scholarship : the eventual collapse of the distinction between grey and non-grey literature. In Farace, Dominic, Eds. Proceedings GL7 : Seventh International Conference on Grey Literature, Nancy (France).

This post reflects my personal opinion only and does not represent the opinions or policy of the BC Electronic Library Network or the Simon Fraser University Library.

Canadian Public Domain Registry Launched

Access Copyright and Creative Commons Canada have joined forces to launch a comprehensive registry of public domain Canadian works. The aim of the project is to facilitate open access to freely available works. As Marcus Bornfreund of Creative Commons Canada notes, ""Canada has a rich cultural heritage of literature, music and fine art that is in the public domain just waiting to be freely enjoyed."

Click here for information about this exciting project.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Problems of Quality in Digital Libraries

Metadata and data quality problems in the digital library by Jeff Beall has been published in the Journal of Digital Information 6 (3).

This short paper builds on research from diverse areas such as descriptive cataloging, data and information perspectives from many contexts and types of information systems, information retrieval, and technical communication, besides digital libraries. Three levels of data quality, absolute data quality, faithful reproduction data quality, and born digital data quality, are proposed. A typology of errors is illustrated with examples, a small study is reported, and some solutions for fixing data quality errors are described. Jeff recommends two further areas of research: "First, the development of a standardized method for calculating and comparing data quality among different databases would help digital library managers measure data quality and focus on data that needs remediation. Second, more research into the error rate of scanning of textual objects is needed. Research is needed to determine whether the error rates of optical character recognition are acceptable and to what extent they hinder searching and document access."

Jeff Beall is Catalog Librarian, Auraria Library, University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center. A skywatcher, his picture of Mercury taken last month was featured on one of the NASA websites.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

OA @ BCLA Conference (a speaker's plug)

Brian Owen (Simon Fraser University Library), Andrew Waller (University of Calgary Library) and myself (a research librarian at Canada Border Services Agency) will be talking about open access at the BCLA Conference "Sharing a Vision: The Power of Collaboration", in Burnaby, BC (April 20-22, 2006).

Our session, called "Open Access: Three Perspectives", will focus on three aspects of OA -- the library as publisher, the librarian as archivist, and the role of open access in the careers of upcoming professionals. We'll try to make it informative, interesting, and entertaining. We really hope you can join us (but we'll understand if you can't).

Saturday, March 04, 2006

LIS education crisis: Practitioners respond

In Practitioners and Library Education: A Crisis of Understanding published in the Journal of Education for Library and Information Science 46(4):pp. 313-320, internationally respected library leader Carla Stoffle and budding librarian Kim Leeder respond to Crying Wolf; the only crisis in LIS is one where practitioners have failed to understand the needs of LIS education.

They remind us of our disciplinary past. For example, they cite a 1985 article in Library Journal by Samuel Rothstein which "presented “An Anthology of Abuse,” documenting in excerpts the criticism LIS programs endured over the course of ninety-four years between 1887 and 1981." An anecdote about librarian reactions to the closing of the Columbia University program is also sad.

Their standpoint is provocative: "It is our position that the greatest problem with LIS programs is the fact that many practitioners do not understand the goals of library education, the demands under which these programs operate, or the standards to which they are held. Practitioners want to dictate a curriculum based on their interests or the hiring needs of their particular libraries, without acknowledging the tremendous range of subject matter that these schools must address in only 36 to 42 hours of coursework."

To their credit, Stoffle and Leeder describe specific ways in which practitioners can work with LIS schools and faculty. They conclude: "The trouble is that if practitioners continue the loud and destructive criticism, and if they do not step up to the plate to offer real resources and financial support, they will create a self-fulfilling prophesy: LIS programs that cannot succeed, and a real decline in library education. Taking a more constructive (though not prescriptive) approach to dealing with concerns about library education will better serve everyone involved, including the schools, students, and practitioners."

Carla Stoffle is Dean of the University of Arizona Libraries and the Center for Creative Photography, home to the acclaimed Living the Future conference. Kim Leeder is Special Assistant to the Dean.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

March Open Access Newsletter Available

The March 2006 Open Access Newsletter is now available. Peter Suber highlights the efforts to strengthen the NIH Public Access Policy, and talks about:

Three gathering storms that could cause collateral damage for open access - the webcasting treaty, opposition to net neutrality, and the end to free e-mail. This is a really good, easy-to-understand summary of some of what I see as the key policy issues of our times, issues which will affect basic human freedoms and library services as a whole, not just open access.

and more...