Friday, April 8, 2016

Overview of the scholarly publication process

Here's an infographic I created using Piktochart for a recent library workshop on scholarly publishing. Piktochart is a web based tool that makes it easy to create your own infographics, posters, presentations or reports. Unfortunately, I've noticed that images/text can be distorted if you aren't viewing the infograpic at full size. This makes using the embed code much less helpful if you want to place it in a blog post or within other teaching tools such as Libguides.


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Embargoes: Impediments to Scholarship Access

I just recently had an email conversation with a faculty member who was frustrated with the embargo periods for journal titles within our library databases.  I can definitely understand his frustration. Juggling access to scholarship with copyright laws and embargoes has long been a struggle for academic libraries. 

I was surprised to discover that he thought this was a library policy!  This was an excellent opportunity to explain more about embargoes, but also the greater issue of open access that lies beneath the surface of this very dark pool.

Rather than library policy, embargo periods and moving walls are imposed by publishers like Elsevier and Wiley in an effort to maintain their own revenue streams, delaying easy access to scholarship and dampening open access efforts that could otherwise have been enjoyed in order to make a profit selling individual journal subscriptions.  As authors, libraries and the Academy have pushed back at publishers with open access initiatives, a sad trend over the past few years has actually been for publishers to saddle us with even longer embargoes

In cases where paywalls prevent direct access through databases, there are a few ways that we endeavor to do in providing seamless access (or at least making it as painless as possible…).  For instance, via ILL with link resolvers on public-facing pages — those “Find text” buttons within databases and google scholar, which pull all the citation information for an article into the ILL request and saving our users a few keystrokes in entering citation information into the request form. Libraries have also banded together into multiple consortia for resource sharing and optimizing performance to reduce ILL wait times.  For instance, my library just recently joined the IDS project, a group of over 70 public and private academic libraries, the New York Public Library, and the New York State Library who have all committed to reciprocal agreements for sharing articles within 48 hours and books within 72 hours among member libraries to reduce both cost and wait times for our library users.  Libraries also strive to be responsive to the needs of our researchers by single journal subscriptions when our budgets allow.  Unfortunately, this can quickly get expensive!

Much more is needed to solve such problems and most of the answers lie in the open access (OA) movement (e.g. encouraging publishing in OA journals, modifying tenure/promotion policy to support OA publishing, adoption of Institutional OA policies by Higher Ed Institutions, implementing and linking content in OA repositories, etc.).  Each conversation like the one with this faculty member is a chance to educate academics about the harm to scholarship that comes with a lack of access; and hopefully create a few more advocates for and change a few minds about the benefits of open access.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Online ID Calculator: a review

I am digitally distinct! Visit
I just retook the Online ID Calculator test to reacquaint myself with how the results look.  I score high diversity and purity (relevancy, and I'm not sure why they didn't choose to just make it my relevancy level rather than my purity level).  It seems I do need more "validation" through endorsements, however.  The calculator mentions only two tools and both were unfamiliar: 

  • BranchOut -- a Facebook application that according to their website is unavailable as they are "currently updating their services," and asks us to "update your work and education details on your Facebook page and invite your friends to do the same."  Not very helpful...

  • BeKNOWN -- application that allows you to connect your Facebook where you can make connections between Facebook friends and jobs/organizations for which you are interested in applying.

Along with LinkedIn endorsements, I'm thinking that Facebook Page likes, blog & twitter followers and retweets might be a better measure of influence, personal branding and media presence.  I'm disappointed that the calculator doesn't take such into account.