Archive for the 'Publishing' Category

"The Multidimensional Assessment of Scholarly Research Impact"

Posted in Publishing, Scholarly Journals, Scholarly Metrics on June 24th, 2014

Henk F. Moed and Gali Halevi have self-archived "The Multidimensional Assessment of Scholarly Research Impact."

Here's an excerpt:

This article introduces the Multidimensional Research Assessment Matrix of scientific output. Its base notion holds that the choice of metrics to be applied in a research assessment process depends upon the unit of assessment, the research dimension to be assessed, and the purposes and policy context of the assessment. An indicator may by highly useful within one assessment process, but less so in another. For instance, publication counts are useful tools to help discriminating between those staff members who are research active, and those who are not, but are of little value if active scientists are to be compared one another according to their research performance. This paper gives a systematic account of the potential usefulness and limitations of a set of 10 important metrics including altmetrics, applied at the level of individual articles, individual researchers, research groups and institutions. It presents a typology of research impact dimensions, and indicates which metrics are the most appropriate to measure each dimension. It introduces the concept of a meta-analysis of the units under assessment in which metrics are not used as tools to evaluate individual units, but to reach policy inferences regarding the objectives and general setup of an assessment process.

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    A Quarter-Century as an Open Access Publisher

    Posted in Bibliographies, Digital Scholarship Publications, Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Books, Scholarly Communication, Scholarly Journals, Social Media/Web 2.0 on June 23rd, 2014

    Introduction

    Twenty-five years? It's hard to believe I've been doing this since Madonna's "Express Yourself" was in the top 40. I don't typically write about personal matters in DigitalKoans, but here's a mini-memoir, so please indulge me.

    Here are the highlights of my open access publishing activities since June 1989. A full chronology is also available.

    PACS-L and the The Public-Access Computer Systems Review

    Twenty-five years ago I went to the ALA Annual Conference and passed out a few leaflets announcing the Public-Access Computer Systems Forum (PACS-L), a LISTSERV list intended to foster discussion on the then-revolutionary idea that library users could access digital information themselves instead of submitting database search requests to librarians. At the time, PCs were being used to provide access to databases on CD-ROMs and some avant-garde libraries were providing access to "locally-mounted databases" on minicomputers. In 1989, librarians were reading papers such as "Library Applications of CD-ROM"; "Loading Local Machine-Readable Data Files: Issues, Problems, and Answers"; and my "Public-Access Computer Systems: The Next Generation of Library Automation Systems."

    I was particularly interested in the emergence of public-access computer systems because the University of Houston, where I worked as the library's Assistant Director for Systems, had a President who envisioned a bold new age of digital information access. One of my first tasks when I a took the job in 1987 was to flesh-out, in a couple of weeks, the details of this vision for a very substantial grant proposal. By the summer of 1989, I had spent a considerable amount of time reviewing the literature on "electronic publishing" and grappling with how to make the potential real. The library's visionary director, Robin N. Downes, was very supportive of my starting PACS-L (and of my subsequent digital publishing efforts at UH).

    My expectations at ALA were modest; however, the timing was right and PACS-L was one of the first lists to focus on a broad topic rather than a single library automation system. Moreover, PACS-L soon morphed into a list that dealt with the nascent Internet and its implications for libraries and electronic publishing. Consequently, it grew rapidly, and, within a year, had over 1,400 subscribers (at its peak, it had over 10,000 subscribers).

    In this uber-interactive age, it is difficult to convey the early excitement that the development of this new digital community held, especially as it became more international. In short order, I began to consider the possibility of launching an e-journal, and I floated the idea on PACS-L.

    Although the technological infrastructure of the time was primitive at best, on August 16, 1989, I announced the The Public-Access Computer Systems Review, an e-journal whose articles would be distributed as ASCII text files using a LISTSERV server. Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

    The Public-Access Computer Systems Review will contain short articles (1 to 7 single-spaced pages), columns, and reviews. PACS Review will cover all computer systems that libraries make available to their patrons, including CAI and ICAI programs, CD-ROM databases, expert systems, hypermedia systems, information delivery systems, local databases, online catalogs, and remote end-user search systems. All types of short communications dealing with these subjects are welcome. Articles that present innovative projects in libraries, even those at an early stage of their development, are especially welcome. Proposals for regular (or irregular) columns will be considered on an ongoing basis. There will be a section for reviews of books, journal articles, reports, and software.

    A call for papers was issued in October, and the first issue was announced in January 1990. The journal became peer-reviewed in November 1991.

    Starting with its first issue, The Public-Access Computer Systems Review was freely available, allowed noncommercial use, and allowed authors to retain their copyrights. There was no established theoretical or legal context for doing so. The concept of "open access" wouldn't be articulated until the Budapest Open Access Initiative declaration in February 2002, and the Creative Commons wouldn't release its first license until December 2002.

    Needless to say, the journal was product of many hands, including its hardworking editorial staff, its very engaged editorial board, its risk-taking authors, and its columnists.

    From 1994 through 2005 (the only years that data is available), The Public-Access Computer Systems Review had over 3.5 million file requests.

    In the early 1990s, I also cofounded and coedited Public-Access Computer Systems News, which published short news items, and founded and moderated the PACS-P list, which announced new e-serials issues for publications such as Current Cites.

    The Public-Access Computer Systems Review and Public-Access Computer Systems News are preserved in the Internet Archive. The University of Houston has a partial archive of the The Public-Access Computer Systems Review (only ASCII versions of articles, not the HTML website or HTML versions of articles published from 1995 onwards) and a complete archive of Public-Access Computer Systems News. After the University of Houston deleted the PACS-L archive in 2013, it is no longer publicly available.

    For more details about PACS-L and The Public-Access Computer Systems Review, see:

    Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography

    The Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography evolved out of three bibliographies about "electronic publishing on networks" that I published in The Public-Access Computer Systems Review. I was motivated to write them because it was difficult to track this emerging trend using conventional indexes, and I thought that making this information more accessible would foster the further development of digital publishing.

    The final bibliography in this series, "Network-Based Electronic Publishing of Scholarly Works: A Selective Bibliography," was the result of an experimental publishing strategy that I tried in the journal: the option for authors to update their articles. This article was updated 26 times between March 1995 and October 1996.

    By its final version, the bibliography had outgrown the article format, and I transformed it into an electronic book: the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography. Since the literature never stopped changing, I decided that the book wouldn't either: it would be updated periodically. And so it was: 80 times from October 1996 through October 2011. Always freely available, I put it under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License in July 2004.

    Over the course of its evolution, it was distributed as PDF files, printed books, a website, and Word files. By the time the last print version was published in early 2011, it was over 460 pages long. Along the way, a directory of related resources ("Scholarly Electronic Publishing Resources, which was published from 2000 though 2009) and a weblog that listed new works (the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog, which was published from 2001 through 2013) were added to the bibliography.

    The Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography is archived at Digital Scholarship and the Internet Archive. The University of Houston Libraries no longer maintains an archive of the e-book.

    From October 1996 through December 2005, the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography had over 5.5 million file requests.

    For more information about the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography, see:

    Digital Scholarship

    By 2005, I felt that the technological infrastructure had evolved to the point where it was feasible for a single individual to perform all the functions of a digital publisher, and I established my own open access digital press, Digital Scholarship. As you know, it provides information and commentary about digital copyright, digital curation, digital repositories, open access, scholarly communication, and other digital information issues. Its publications are under versions of the Creative Commons Attribution or Attribution-Noncommercial Licenses. I also established DigitalKoans that year to provide timely coverage of those topics.

    In November 2006, I resigned my position as Assistant Dean for Digital Library Planning and Development at the University of Houston Libraries, and I migrated the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography to Digital Scholarship.

    Until 2009, Digital Scholarship only published digital works. In May of that year, I published the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography: 2008 Annual Edition as a low-cost paperback with an open access digital version.

    To date, Digital Scholarship has published the following works:

    Not unexpectedly, the most popular books, aside from the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography, have been those about open access:

    • Open Access Bibliography: Liberating Scholarly Literature with E-Prints and Open Access Journals: 0ver 627,000 file requests.
    • Transforming Scholarly Publishing through Open Access: A Bibliography: Over 637,000 file requests.

    During the time it was published by Digital Scholarship, all digital versions of the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography had over 7.1 million file requests, bringing the total number of file requests to over 12.6 million.

    From April 2005 through May 2014, Digital Scholarship had over 13.7 million visitors from 230 counties and over 66.8 million file requests.

    By analyzing Digital Scholarship log data with Weblog Expert, it is possible to separate out spider requests, to break out page views (a page view would be for a Epub, HTM, HTML, PDF, text, or Word file), to determine the number of unique IPs, and to gauge bandwidth use.

    Here's the breakdown for the same period:

    • Total file requests: Over 66.8 million
    • Spider file requests: Over 26.2 million (about 39% of file requests)
    • Total page views: Over 47.7 million (about 71% of file requests)
    • Total unique IPs: 1.4 million
    • Total bandwidth: Over 1,700 GB

    Conclusion

    In the age of Google, bibliographies may seem antiquated. Digital Scholarship's use data argues otherwise. Certainly, the scholarly information that users are seeking is typically on search engines, but extracting it can be a time-consuming and vexing process. For example, in the early days of the open access movement, Google search results for this topic were replete with papers about surgical procedures, restricted access to beaches, and other false drops.

    My publishing efforts have been driven by advocacy. I write to foster the development of causes that I care about. I hope that my contributions have had a positive impact on them.

    As to the future of Digital Scholarship, I haven't taken a lengthy publishing vacation in 25 years, so it may be time for a sabbatical. I've become increasingly involved in creating digital art, and that taking up more of my time. We'll see.

    Preservation-wise, I've put the major works in the Internet Archive, but, as an individual unaffiliated with a university, can't do much beyond that. As you would imagine, I have extensive digital work files and publication use data dating from the dawn of open access, but I'm not sure how to archive them.

    So, onward, and, hopefully, upward. Thanks for your interest and support over the last quarter-century.

    And a special thanks to the The Public-Access Computer Systems Review editorial staff, editorial board, and columnists:

    Editor-in-Chiefs

    • Pat Ensor (1997-2000)
    • Thomas C. Wilson (1997-2000)

    Editors:

    • Leslie Dillon, Associate Editor (1990) and Associate Editor, Columns (1991-1997)
    • Elizabeth A. Dupuis, Associate Editor, Columns (1997-2000)
    • John E. Fadell, Copy Editor (1998-2000)
    • Andrea Bean Hough, Associate Editor, Communications (1997-2000)
    • Mike Ridley, Associate Editor (1989-1990) and Associate Editor, Reviews (1991)
    • Dana Rooks, Associate Editor, Communications (1991-1997)
    • Robert Spragg, Associate Editor, Technical Support (1996-2000)
    • Roy Tennant, Associate Editor, Reviews (1992-1993)
    • Ann Thornton, Associate Editor, Production (1995-2000)

    Editorial Board:

    • Ralph Alberico (1992-2000)
    • George H. Brett II (1992-2000)
    • Priscilla Caplan (1994-2000)
    • Steve Cisler (1992-2000)
    • Walt Crawford (1989-2000)
    • Lorcan Dempsey (1992-2000)
    • Pat Ensor (1994-1996)
    • Nancy Evans (1989-2000)
    • Stephen Harter (1997-2000)
    • Charles Hildreth (1992-2000)
    • Ronald Larsen (1992-2000)
    • Clifford Lynch (1992-2000)
    • David R. McDonald (1989-2000)
    • R. Bruce Miller (1989-2000)
    • Ann Okerson (1997-2000)
    • Paul Evan Peters (1989-1996)
    • Mike Ridley (1992-2000)
    • Peggy Seiden (1995-2000)
    • Peter Stone (1989-2000)
    • John E. Ulmschneider (1992-2000)

    Columnists

    • Priscilla Caplan (1992-1998)
    • Walt Crawford (1989-1995)
    • Martin Halbert (1990-1993)

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      "Evaluating Big Deal Journal Bundles"

      Posted in Publishing, Research Libraries, Scholarly Journals on June 18th, 2014

      Theodore C. Bergstrom et al. have published "Evaluating Big Deal Journal Bundles" in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. An open access eprint is not available.

      Read more about it at "How Much Did Your University Pay for Your Journals?" and "Universities 'Get Poor Value' from Academic Journal-Publishing Firms."

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        "Research Data Sharing: Developing a Stakeholder-Driven Model for Journal Policies"

        Posted in Data Curation, Open Data, and Research Data Management, Open Access, Open Science, Publishing, Scholarly Journals on June 5th, 2014

        Paul Sturges et al. have self-archived "Research Data Sharing: Developing a Stakeholder-Driven Model for Journal Policies."

        Here's an excerpt:

        The Journal Research Data (JoRD) Project was a JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) funded feasibility study on the possible shape of a central service on journal research data policies. The objectives of the study included, amongst other considerations: to identify the current state of journal data sharing policies and to investigate the views and practices of stakeholders to data sharing. The project confirmed that a large percentage of journals do not have a policy on data sharing, and that there are inconsistencies between the traceable journal data sharing policies. Such a state leaves authors unsure of whether they should deposit data relating to articles and where and how to share that data. In the absence of a consolidated infrastructure for the easy sharing of data, a journal data sharing model policy was developed. The model policy was developed from comparing the quantitative information gathered from analysing existing journal data policies with qualitative data collected from the stakeholders concerned. This article summarises the information gathered, outlines the process by which the model was developed and presents the model journal data sharing policy in full.

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          "PLOS Data Policy: Catalyst for a Better Research Process"

          Posted in Data Curation, Open Data, and Research Data Management, Open Access, Open Science, Publishing, Scholarly Journals on June 3rd, 2014

          Emma Ganley has published "PLOS Data Policy: Catalyst for a Better Research Process" in College & Research Libraries News.

          Here's an excerpt:

          PLOS is seeking to ensure the ongoing utility of research, as making a paper openly accessible is enhanced enormously if that paper is linked seamlessly to the data from which it was constructed. In a time when post-publication peer review is more prevalent and data frequently come under intense public scrutiny, with whistle-blowers, blogs, and websites dedicated to investigating the validity and veracity of scientific publications, requiring access to the relevant data leads to a more rigorous scientific record.

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            "A Comparison of Citations, Downloads And Readership Data for an Information Systems Journal"

            Posted in Publishing, Scholarly Journals, Scholarly Metrics on June 3rd, 2014

            Christian Schlögl et al. have published "A Comparison of Citations, Downloads And Readership Data for an Information Systems Journal" in a special issue on altmetrics of Research Trends.

            Here's an excerpt:

            In our analysis we identified a high (though not a perfect) correlation between citations and downloads which was slightly lower between downloads and readership frequencies and again between citations and readership counts. This is mainly due to the fact that the used data (sources) are related either to research or at least to teaching in higher education institutions.

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              "Ebook Pricing Hikes Amount to Price-Gouging"

              Posted in Licenses, Publishing, Research Libraries, Scholarly Books on June 2nd, 2014

              Boston Library Consortium has released "Ebook Pricing Hikes Amount to Price-Gouging" as a letter to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

              Here's an excerpt:

              Consequently, the BLC will lower the price ceiling below which individual titles are eligible to be included in our ebook program, we will reduce the availability of back-list titles at high price points, and we will increase the portion of our consortial budget that is allocated to those publishers whose pricing remains reasonable. In this way, we mean to reward what we regard as fair dealing, as we attempt to limit the budget impact of what appears plainly to be price-gouging.

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                De Gruyter Releases Its Books in ePub3 Format

                Posted in Publishing, Scholarly Books on May 30th, 2014

                De Gruyter has released its frontlist titles in the ePub3 format.

                Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

                The ePub format supports variable font sizes as well as the dynamic adjustment of content to the device's screen size. EBooks in the ePub format are released as a single file, as opposed to the one-file-per-chapter format of PDF-based eBooks. De Gruyter is one of the first academic presses worldwide to offer customers the choice between the ePub and PDF formats when purchasing an eBook.

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                  Big Deals: Beyond the Damage: Circulation, Coverage and Staffing

                  Posted in Licenses, Publishing, Research Libraries, Scholarly Journals on May 29th, 2014

                  Walt Crawford has published Beyond the Damage: Circulation, Coverage and Staffing.

                  Here's an excerpt from chapter one:

                  Big-Deal Serials Purchasing: Tracking the Damage looks almost entirely at four aspects of library spending and changes in that spending: total spending, current serials, "books" (all other acquisitions) and the remainder”what's left over for staff, automation, preservation, etc.

                  This book looks at some other aspects of academic libraries and how they have changed from 2002 through 2012: circulation, coverage and staffing. It's designed to complement the LTR report. Indeed, I assume that readers will have access to the report, as it includes details on which academic libraries are included and excluded. This book uses exactly the same universe of libraries (2,594 in all) as the report. I believe this book (and the supplementary PDF) will provide useful additional insights into what's happened in academic libraries over a decade in which Big Deals supposedly improved serials pricing problems”but still had serials spending taking more and more of a sometimes-shrinking overall pie…

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                    "Teaching an Old University Press Publisher New Tricks: Living in the Present and Preparing for the Future of Scholarly Communications"

                    Posted in Publishing, Scholarly Books, Scholarly Metrics, University Presses on May 28th, 2014

                    Patrick H. Alexander has published "Teaching an Old University Press Publisher New Tricks: Living in the Present and Preparing for the Future of Scholarly Communications" in the Journal of Electronic Publishing.

                    Here's an excerpt:

                    University presses currently exist in the dual worlds of print and digital publishing. Current staffing needs require that they hire personnel with skills and experience that mirror that present duality. Training and maintaining a skilled workforce requires a commitment to flexibility and an openness to the ever-changing nature of scholarly communication. As the scholarly publishing ecosystem continues to evolve, university presses will need to look to a future workforce that has additional training, knowledge, and experience beyond the traditional skills associated with academic publishing, one that fully embraces the realities of a digital world, the habits of new generations of researchers, and the increasing role of technology in scholarly communication. This article looks at what the future might look like, what skills might be required, and how one might prepare for that future.

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                      Learned Society Attitudes towards Open Access: Report on Survey Results

                      Posted in Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Journals on May 28th, 2014

                      EDP Open has released Learned Society Attitudes towards Open Access: Report on Survey Results.

                      Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

                      Key findings include:

                      • Learned societies overwhelmingly agree that Open Access will inevitably place some learned societies' journals into financial jeopardy.
                      • Competing with large Open Access specialist publishers was also considered a significant challenge for learned societies.
                      • Gold Open Access is the Open Access method that is least offered by learned society journals, however nearly two-thirds of learned societies indicated that they would like to be offering this option.
                      • More than ever before, with so many journals being published Open Access of dubious origin, learned societies should look to endorse content with a stamp of quality and authority.
                      • Collaboration between learned societies could help in the transition to Open Access, by pooling resources and sharing complex tasks.
                      • Two-thirds of all learned societies are also looking for support on best approach to OA, and compliance with funder mandates.

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                        Open Access: Markup of Innovation, Research, Science, and Technology Act Reduces Embargo Period

                        Posted in Legislation and Government Regulation, Open Access, Publishing on May 26th, 2014

                        The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology has marked up the Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science and Technology Act (FIRST Act), significantly reducing the embargo period for making works open access.

                        Here's an excerpt from "FIRST Act Amended to Make Open Access Provision Actually Pretty Good":

                        Calling this [Section 303 in the prior version of the bill] a "public access" section is a charitable reading: it extended embargo periods to up to three years, it allowed for simple linking to articles rather than the creation of an archive, and it delayed implementation unnecessarily long. (We've ranted about this bill time and again.)

                        But a glimmer of hope appeared at yesterday's markup. Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner and Zoe Lofgren, introduced an amendment that radically changed Section 303. The new amendment [pdf] maps closely onto Sensenbrenner's Public Access to Public Science Act (H.R. 3157). It sets the embargo period at 12 months (like the NIH's current policy), though it allows stakeholders to extend this by 6 months if they can show a "substantial and unique harm." The amendment was also designed to facilitate long-term preservation, broad analysis of works, and closer investigation of broad copyright licenses. The current version is not perfect, but it is much improved—huge kudos to Sensenbrenner and Lofgren for standing up for open access.

                        Read more about it at "Revised FIRST Bill Would Give Science Agencies 1 Year to Make Papers Free."

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