All 14 entries tagged Open Access

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July 27, 2011

WRAP now has 5000 items in it!

Writing about web page http://go.warwick.ac.uk/lib-publications

Today, WRAP made available its 5000th item. That's quite an achievement for a full text only institutional repository! The 5000th item is:

Mercer, Justine (2009) Junior academic-manager in higher education : an untold story? International Journal of Educational Management, Vol.23 (No.4). pp. 348-359. ISSN 0951-354X http://wrap.warwick.ac.uk/36226/

More news from WRAP:

"Following the announcement in February that we had reached 4000 items WRAP’s growth continues to be impressive and is now supported by the development of the University of Warwick Publications service. Visitors are coming from more than a 160 different countries every month and in June 2011 WRAP items were downloaded more than 21,000 times, roughly an average of 4.5 downloads for each paper. We continue to update the WRAP statistics page which now features statistics on the number of downloads for each paper:

http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/library/main/research/instrep/erepositories/topten/"


April 05, 2011

Crowd funding and the JURN blog

Writing about web page http://jurnsearch.wordpress.com/

I really like JURN : http://jurn.org/

It's a specialist search engine for the Arts and Humanities, searching through open access, online journal content. Others have worked on creating specialist collections of web content over the years, but the issue always remains about who should fund them. JURN is appealing for funding pledges through a "crowd funding" call. Perhaps the Web 2.0 world will find ways to support such a quality collection.

Intute : http://www.intute.ac.uk/is/was an example of past attempts to build curated collections of high quality, scholarly web material, presented in discipline specific ways. Intute itself evolved from the Resource Discovery Network, which evolved from separate subject gateway sites, all over the last ten or more years. Way back in time, I worked on a project related to one of those early subject gateways, in my first professional post! Funding not been secured and Intute will soon be no more.

JURN is smaller than Intute, with a more focussed remit on OA journal content, so perhaps it will find a way. Now more than ever, there is a substantial body of high quality, open access scholarly material available on the Web, often with relatively high quality metadata records. Relative, I mean, to metadata which came with web content in the late 90s and early 2000s! The vastness of today's Internet makes specialist search engines seem to me like an even more sensible option than ever. Naturally, there are bound to be lots of similar good ideas... JURN is based on a Google custom search tool, and there are many other such "build it yourself" options in the Web 2.0 world, which make it possible for those who are not technically trained/gifted but who are curious to get on with creating useful "things".

Some of the "things" which might be competition for the JURN collection in terms of engaging the scholarly Arts and Humanities community include collections built up through social bookmarking/reference management sites like diigo and zotero. People are building up collections of web resources on these sites, often for personal use, and then sharing them with others to create "guided" routes through Web material which might be relevant to a researcher - if that researcher can find/access the collections of like minded scholars.

What I like about JURN is that it is easy to find and it is easy to use, which some of those other collection building/ guided route "things" on the Web 2.0 are not. It also has a clear purpose and drive, with long term aims, which collectively built Web 2.0 things often lack.

I wish JURN well in its crowd funding plea.


March 28, 2011

Do you know your publishing rights?

Writing about web page http://www.open-access.org.uk/

"Recently, some publishers have sought to negotiate directly with universities and research institutes on the terms and conditions under which the authors can deposit manuscripts of their own papers into repositories..."

This is an excerpt from a statement by the UK Open Access Implementation Groupwhich you can read in full at: http://213.133.67.199/open-access/?page_id=258

Who sould negotiate over publication rights for an author's work?!


March 09, 2011

RIN NESTA report on Open Science – research data storing and sharing

Writing about web page http://www.rin.ac.uk/system/files/attachments/NESTA-RIN_Open_Science_V01_0.pdf

This report has a very useful executive summary, highlighting the benefits identified by researchers, of openness about their research and the barriers and constraints to such openness.

These perspectives are useful when considering whether a library could or should help researchers to make their work available more openly. Librarians instinctively want to help researchers to find the work of others that they can build upon, so we would naturally support openness wherever we can but we do need to be aware of researchers' reservations and where the benefits actually lie. The report recommends that research funders and institutions support research communities in six particular areas and it seems to me that where the library can play a significant role is in the following selection of recommendations:

"1) Data management and sharing": providing guidance and policies should be at an institutional level but the Librarian can help to find good existing examples of guidance and be part of a team considering such policy.

"2) Research infrastructure: supporting tools and standards". Library staff can inform themselves of tools and standards and remain up to date in this area, in order to be able to advise the research community. (Training is a separate recommendation and perhaps we could contribute there too.) 

"6) examples of good practice: gathering, assembling and disseminating good practice in open science and ways in which these practices have benefitted both research projects and researchers themselves."

I would actually want to start with the sixth recommendation as I believe that the best ways for an institution to follow the other recommendations could be identified through such a process.

The report itself has case studies of the researchers they approached, which give examples of disciplinary differences and examples of ways in which one discipline's expertise in handling data might be translatable to other disciplines. For example, the astronomers' data might not have so many commercial applications as other disciplines might encounter, which enables openness in their field. Meanwhile, astronomers' skills in image analysis might be applicable in other disciplines. The case study also mentions the vast quantities of data available in the field of astronomy and efforts to catalogue it and make it usable which would probably be relevant experience to those in other disciplines as well.


February 02, 2011

WRAP – 4000 items!

Writing about web page http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/library/main/research/instrep/erepositories/topten/

Today, WRAP made available its 4000th item:

Bruijnincx, P.C.A. and Sadler, P.J. (2009). Controlling platinum, ruthenium, and osmium reactivity for anticancer drug design. Advances in Inorganic Chemistry, 61, pp. 1-62. ISSN: 0898-8838 http://wrap.warwick.ac.uk/4143

WRAP has doubled in size in just over a year and in October 2010, WRAP was starting to see more than a 1000 visitors each weekday in the autumn term.  Visitors are coming from more than a 150 different countries every month and are still mostly finding content through Google.

University of Warwick authors of journal articles are encouraged to submit their own final versions of those articles to the WRAP repository: http://go.warwick.ac.uk/irsubmit/

PhD students are encouraged to read about the options for making their thesis available in WRAP: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/library/main/research/instrep/erepositories/thesis/


January 18, 2011

Reasons for Open Access: "Publishers withdraw 2500 journals from free access scheme in Bangladesh

Writing about web page http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d196

This story, as reported in the BMJ illustrates exactly why we need open access and the publishers' reassurances that they support developing countries with free access and special subscription deals are not all to be taken seriously. They are in business to make money and they are not organisations for the public good!

Open Access publication is the only way to make content available for free at the point of reading. There is a lot of information about Open Access publishing on the library's website at: http://go.warwick.ac.uk/lib-openaccess


November 01, 2010

October's Open Access events

Follow-up to Open Access Week at Warwick from Library Research Support

18 - 23 October was International Open Access Week. We marked this in a few different ways at Warwick, and my colleague who is our e-Repositories Manager has blogged about it at: http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/wrap/entry/international_open_access/

For me, the highlight was our guest speaker, Gerry Lawson from the Natural Environment Research Council. Gerry spoke about RCUK Open Access Policies and looked at the history of their stance on Open Access, including the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee's report from 2004, "Scientific Publications: Free for all?". Re-visiting some of those recommendations again was very interesting, especially the notion of rewards for our researchers who take part in the peer review process. Peer review is provided for free by researchers and it is a part of what they value so highly from the journal publication process.

Gerry introduced some questions arising from the report, such as what is an open access repository and why it matters that it is an institutional repository; what kinds of research papers should be deposited there and who should do the depositing. RCUK will want to gather metadata/bibliographic records about published, peer reviewed outputs, in order to demonstrate the value and impact of the research they have funded, to the government. They want the work they have funded to be available on open access and all have now mandated that publications should be made available on open access, but how can they measure and ensure compliance with that mandate?

Although RCUK are concerned that the publications should be available on open access, for their purposes it won't matter whether the open access text is in an institutional repository or on the publisher's website. Warwick's own institutional repository is a full text open access repository and would not be a suitable source of information about all research outputs for the RCUK because some publishers will make text open access on their own sites whilst not allowing it to be held in an institutional repository. What we actually need is a publications database with a metadata field to state whether the article is available on open access or not and an authority-controlled field for grant reference numbers, pre-populated by the RCUK. As well as WRAP, of course!

Research Councils are interested to find out about peer reviewed papers describing research they have directly funded and in data associated with that research, but also in outputs of research that has been carried out using equipment that they have funded, etc. So perhaps a publications database would also need to record any kind of contribution from RCUK, not only the grant reference numbers of directly funded articles. 

There is a lot to be considered when looking at the management of information about research, and Gerry's slides looked at some of the main players and the relationships between them: Research funders; Subject repositories like Society today and UK PubMed Central; Institutions and their repositories and Research Information Systems, Library management systems and publications databases; HEFCE and those involved in the REF and HESA; Publishers and citations database providers like Thomson Reuters and Web of Science; Projects like the NAMES one to create unique identifiers for authors; providers of tools like Sherpa's Romeo and Juliet...

Gerry concluded that we need authority files on data in a number of different areas, in order to share the data between all these bodies in a way that calls on minimum effort from the researcher and which maximises automated processes and creates a shared national infrastructure. Gerry also looked at some other useful reports and steps that could be taken towards creating such a joined up picture.


October 18, 2010

Open Access Week at Warwick

Writing about web page http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/library/main/research/instrep/oaw

Check out our website to find out what we're doing at Warwick in honour of International Open Access Week, this week!


August 03, 2010

JURN – a curated academic search engine

Writing about web page http://www.jurn.org/

As the web get's ever more difficult to navigate, Google custom search engines like this one might become more valuable to researchers. It's somewhere to search in addition to Google Scholar and all the library databases if you're doing a thorough literature search, because it finds open access content.

Search the JURN in place of Google Scholar if you want to be sure that you'll find full text content without having to pay for the privilege and you want just a few articles as a route into a topic... although I'd actually recommend the library databases above JURN for this kind of searching.

Read all about it at the JURN blog site: http://jurnsearch.wordpress.com/about/

As with all search engines, you'll need to be able to put together some advanced search queries to get the most out of it. This page has some neat summaries of useful Google operators: http://www.googleguide.com/advanced_operators_reference.html

JURN's tips and tricks on the blog itself offer a lot of great advice on using search engines and it also includes links to other academic search engine sites. The short guide to academic search-engines and tools is very useful indeed:

http://jurnsearch.wordpress.com/a-short-guide-to-academic-search/


July 21, 2010

Researchers of Tomorrow – first year report

Writing about web page http://www.researchersoftomorrow.net

This report, funded by the JISC doesn't seem to have identified any particularly unique or different behaviours amongst the Generation Y researchers, as compared with older generations of researchers, as an over-all generalising interpretation of the findings!

However, the detail from page 32 onwards gets very interesting. Figure 6 has a very interesting break-down of the sources of information that the Generation Y researchers (all doctoral students) reported using in their "last critical incident of information-seeking activity", broken down by discipline. It's easy to see that Google/Google Scholar is the highest used source overall, but look closely and you'll see how important the citation database appears to be for the Physical sciences and the Medical, dental and other health sciences. For these disciplines, the citation database is reportedly used more than Google/Google Scholar. Biological sciences seem to use both almost equal in their use of both, and Biomedical and vetinary sciences are only just preferring the citation database. Meanwhile, the Arts and humanities and Social Sciences are much preferring Google/Google Scholar. Not that it's an either/or situation, of course. I'm sure that researchers from all disciplines would use all sources, but it is interesting to see this disciplinary difference in what researchers report was their main source of information for their most recent "critical" information need.

Other information sources reportedly used include the e-journal's search interface, abstracts/indexes (print or online), their own institution's library catalogue, a subject-specific information gateway a cross-institutional library catalogue, publishers' websites and the website of an organisation or person. The last one on this list was very little used at all, and it backs up the evidence I found as WRAP manager, about the importance of Google in bringing visitors to institutional repositories.

I do wonder at the break-down of the resources, and how the students were asked to describe the resources they used, because I find it particularly difficult to differentiate between a citation database and a bibliographic database and a search interface of an e-journal and an online index, as types of information resources. WoS is definitely a kind of citation database, but it is also a bibliographic database and in fact many searches performed on it are simple bibliographic searches and not for citation data at all. Likewise, it's sometimes difficult to tell whether you're on a publisher's website or a journal's home-page as provided by a hosting service. And all librarians can tell of the enquiries they've had about using the "Athens" database - this legendary database has entered library world's mythology!

I'm not sure that our researchers would be able to accurately report on the kind of information resource they were using. I'm also not sure what the researchers were asked: perhaps someone else categorised the resources they reported using. Even so, I'm an information professional and I'd find it difficult to consistently and accurately report that right! Perhaps information skills trainers in the Medical, dental and other health sciences field consistently refer to citation databases and that's why they appear so important?

I do wish that they'd specified whether it was Google or Google Scholar that was of use to the researchers. I spent ages preferring Google Scholar to Google but I now believe that, even for the academic scholar, each one has a different purpose. Google Scholar is great if you're looking for published content on a particular (not very specific) topic. Google is much better if you are trying to find a paper online and you already know the details of that paper. Google Scholar seems a little discriminatory towards publishers' subscription resources you see, and sometimes can't find open access versions, whilst Google has no such elitist restrictions! The various kinds of bibliographic database or online journal hosting services support much more refined and specific enquiries, so they would be my preferred source for academic information on a very specific topic, excepting in fields where very little at all has been published so a simple Google Scholar search would turn everything up anyway.

I have lots of questions but it's certainly clear that there are disciplinary differences and that Google/Google Scholar is dominant, even whilst the other sources have a place for our Generation Y research students.

Looking at Figure 7 on the next page raises more thoughts: it describes the disciplinary differences in the kinds of information sought by our researchers at the time they were using those resources (i.e. in their "last critical incident of information-seeking activity"). This graph differentiates whether the researchers' need was for anything published on a topic or for a particular bibliographic reference, or other kinds of information including data. Mapping the responses to these two questions would indicate whether the researcher had found the information they wanted in the resource that I would have recommended to them!

Figure 8 on page 35 goes on to describe the type of information resource used by the researchers, again broken down by discipline. Most seem to have been looking for a full text journal article, but others were looking for a reference to a journal article or for a printed book. As you might expect, it is the Arts and humanities who were particularly looking for printed books.

There's a lot more of interest to be found out about disciplinary differences in the results described in subsequent pages, including preferences over publishing in open access journals, use of libraries and library staff and so on.

The report also describes that: "Low levels of use of specialist and web 2.0 technologies are confirmed in the Gen Y survey sample and there are virtually no differences at all in responses when compared to the wider survey
sample." (p45) Figure 15 lists the specific tools asked about and responses indicating whether researchers have used them, including social bookmarking and alerting services/RSS. Librarians have got a lot to do in terms of advocating the usefulness of these tools to researchers. Either that or we're focussing on the wrong things, because researchers are not using them because they are not useful or relevant!

Researchers also indicate a wish for training to be provided "on demand" (p48) and on p49 the report becomes very interesting again as researchers describe library training they have received and whether or not they found it useful. Training themes that over 20% of the researchers received and identified as being useful are listed below - those with a score higher than 40% are in bold. (Although some also reported the same themes as not useful, this figure nestles well below those who did find it useful in every instance listed below.)

  • managing references and using tools (e.g.Endnotes)
    to do…
  • Copyright/intellectual property rights and research
  • finding/using data and datasets online
  • finding/using manuscript and archival sources (in
    your…
  • finding resources beyond own institution (e.g interlibrary
    loans, British…
  • specific information skills (e.g finding 'grey
    literature',…
  • finding/using bibliographic, abstract and
    journal research resources (both print and …
  • keeping up to date in research (e.g. use of alerting
    services, RSS feeds)
  • using own institution portal to access electronic
    resources
  • generic computer skills (e.g. Word, Excel, Access)

Training themes which were not so popular (but still rated as useful by more people than rated them as not useful) were:

  • creating digital media, pocasts, wikis, Second Life (NB hardly anyone had attended such a course!)
  • e-research methods and tools (data mining,
    geospatial…
  • e-research infrastructure services (virtual research
    environments, campus grid, National Grid Service)
  • generic online skills (e.g using Google services, using
    Web 2.0 tools to support research)
  • information on Research Excellence Framework and
    how to publish
  • open access publishing/archiving

These lists will be very useful to me indeed, in directing our library's support for researchers.

Figure 18 on page 50 reports on how valuable researchers have found various research support options available to them. Quite a lot of library offerings are reported as "Never used" and amongst these, most are also quite highly reported as "Unaware of availability". The highest value and highest awareness is the supervisor's support, as you might expect. The library services scored by most as "valuable" ("Value was assigned by the respondents whether or not they regularly made use of the support") were inter-library lending services and assistance specifically from library staff, which came joint second. 

The report also contains interesting results about where the research students carry out their research work, whether at home or in an office or lab or library: very few of any age or discipline seem to be working in libraries.

Of course, this report on the survey responses and research done so far is a great indicator of researchers' behaviour & preferences, but it is only an indicator. Annex 1 describes the sample of survey respondents. Although there were 5408 survey respondents in total, and nearly 40% of these were from Russell Group Universities, some of the results I've been describing by discipline breakdown report only on the Generation Y respondents, and there were 2061 of these - how many of those were Russell Group I'm not sure. The annex also describes that only 2% of respondents' research is described as interdisciplinary, and it gives a breakdown of the funding sources of respondents, which careers advisors might find interesting!

All in all, it's a pretty rich source of information about researchers today.


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