SHARE and Access to Research

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the Association of American Universities (AAU), and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) have partnered to develop an initiative to ensure the preservation of, access to, and reuse of research. Called SHARE (SHared Access Research Ecosystem), the initiative is intended to “develop solutions that capitalize on the compelling interest shared by researchers, libraries, universities, funding agencies, and other key stakeholders to maximize research impact, today and in the future. SHARE aims to make the inventory of research assets more discoverable and more accessible, and to enable the research community to build upon these assets in creative and productive ways.” SHARE’s goal is to be a mechanism to increase open access to research data and to publications resulting from that research.

SHARE developed partially in response to the Obama administration’s February 2013 Policy Memorandum that called upon federal agencies with annual research and development budgets of $100 million or more to provide the public with free and unlimited online access to the results of that research, including access to research data. With the federal government funding of billions of dollars in scientific research each year, there is a growing expectation that the results of this federally funded research will be openly and freely available to other researchers and to the general public in a timely manner in order to advance science and accelerate innovation, as well as lead to medical breakthroughs.

With the University of South Florida St. Petersburg’s renewed commitment to research, as articulated in the new Vision 20/20 strategic plan, it is critically important for USFSP’s faculty researchers to stay informed about all aspects of the open access movement and to understand their rights and responsibilities, especially if their research is funded by federal grant money. Through the USFSP Digital Archive, as well as through the research project being conducted on the management of research data at USFSP, the Library is positioned to assist College faculty in complying with federal funding guidelines.

To read more about the SHARE initiative, check out the Share Knowledge Base blog.

To learn more about the USFSP Digital Archive and how we are working in concert with SHARE and other international initiative on open access, contact me at hixson at usfsp.edu or the Digital Collections Team at digcol at nelson.usf.edu

Diversity and Inclusion at Our Core

On November 12, 2010, I posted a message on my Dean’s Messages web site on the topic of diversity. The message addressed one of the sculpted bronze hands embedded in the walls of the Poynter Library. One of those sculptures extols the value of DIVERSITY. I originally wrote about diversity as a response to a student who had contacted me wanting to know why we had hosted an exhibit on Black History but hadn’t done an exhibit on Irish Heritage Month. In the summer of 2013, I again addressed the issue when a student wrote to President Genshaft complaining about what she considered pornography in the Library because we were advertising a talk on the 1964 Florida Legislative Investigative Committee’s Report on “Homosexuality and citizenship in Florida” by using an image from the state government document showing two bare-chested men kissing.

These concerns from USFSP students, along with recent incidents in our community and around the country, make it clear that the topic merits much more discussion. For that reason, I am reposting my original message, with some additions.

The KKK incident in the City of St. Petersburg’s Stormwater Department that happened in October 2013 but was reported on by the Tampa Bay Times on August 16, 2014 is one indication of how close to the surface tensions around diversity really are. The August 9, 2014 shooting of an unarmed African-American teenager in Ferguson, Missouri and the subsequent reactions in that community and around the world have highlighted our need for closer self-examination and renewed commitment to a diverse, inclusive society. The ongoing battle in the courts about same-sex marriage is another manifestation of how divided we as a people are regarding diversity and inclusion. There are countless examples from around the country and the world of people wanting to be included in all the benefits enjoyed by others and accepted as they are and sometimes negative reactions from other members of society.

What is diversity and why do we consider it one of the core values of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and the Poynter Library? Diversity in the U.S. has often been a political hot-button, serving to divide rather than unite us. One of the definitions given in the Oxford English Dictionary is “a point of unlikeness; a difference, distinction; a different kind, a variety.” One simple definition, then, is variety in who we are and how we live.

Wikipedia lists many kinds of diversity, including political diversity, ethnic diversity, diversity training, biodiversity and more. Under political diversity, Wikipedia asserts that the term is used “to describe differences in racial or ethnic classifications, age, gender, religion, philosophy, physical abilities, socioeconomic background, sexual orientation, gender identity, intelligence, mental health, physical health, genetic attributes, behavior, attractiveness, cultural values, or political view as well as other identifying features.”

In its statement on diversity in its mission and vision, the University of South Florida St. Petersburg asserts its “dedication to the diversity of human beings as well as diversity of ideas and viewpoints.” Respect and tolerance for different backgrounds, different abilities, different physical characteristics, different points of view, and different modes of self-expression are the cornerstones of our university. By accepting our right to be different and to be uniquely ourselves, we are able to call on a wider array of resources as we face new challenges. In diversity, we are strong.

We in the Nelson Poynter Memorial Library support and celebrate the diversity of our students and faculty, the university, our local community, and the world around us. Libraries actively strive to present multiple points of view. This is a principle that is well defined within the North American library community, as outlined by the American Library Association in the Library Bill of Rights. To this end, we will continue to host a wide variety of lectures and debates representing diverse points of view; we will continue to mount exhibitions on wide-ranging topics such as military history, Black history, Gay pride, Native American identity, Jewish culture, the Holocaust, Women’s History and more; we will continue to develop collections of materials that reflect a full range of viewpoints on important topics in support of the University’s courses and programs; we will continue to strive to serve all of our students in the ways that they need, such as our services to students with special needs through improving our Assistive Technologies Room and more.

The Nelson Poynter Memorial Library is a safe haven for all people and ideas. Come to the library (physically or virtually) where we will strive to make you feel safe to ask questions and explore the world around you, value you for who you are, and encourage you in your journey of self-discovery, self-expression and lifelong learning.

The Library this year will be developing a formalized diversity program. As we proceed, we will be inviting members of the campus and the broader community to take part and share experiences and insights. Drop me a note at hixson at usfsp.edu or call me at 873-4400 if you would like to be part of the discussion.

Relax, Study, Connect

The Library just acquired eight new comfy chairs that have places for you to plug in and connect your devices (phones, iPads, etc.) while you sit in a quiet spot and read, study, or just catch up with the world through your phone or other device.

These chairs are located in the stacks on the second and third floors of the Library and are part of our ongoing effort to redesign our space and make it comfortable, convenient, and connected. The third floor is designated as a quiet floor so use of cell phones should be limited to texting with the sound turned off, out of consideration for others around you.

If you’re new to USFSP, you can read about more of our efforts to redesign the Library in earlier posts on this blog under the topic of Library Design.

Unlike the USF Tampa Library or some other libraries at big universities, the Poynter Library has not received a special allocation for redesign. We depend upon the support of donors to help us transform the library to be the kind of place that our students want and need. Everytime you enjoy a new chair, computer, or collaboration station, know that someone in the community cared enough about you to make a donation so that we could serve you better.

How The Digital Revolution Can Fix Scientific Publishing

The TechCrunch blog recently posted an article by Daniel Marovitz, CEO of Faculty of 1000, discussing the need to revolutionize scientific publishing. The article, entitled How The Digital Revolution Can Fix Scientific Publishing And Speed Up Discoveries outlines the need for open access publishing and sharing of new research, including failed research, without ever using the words Open Access. He discusses the stranglehold that a few publishers have on scientific publishing, noting that:

The primitive publishing model employed by these publishers is actually a detriment to science. Research paid for by taxpayers is often restricted behind pay walls, major breakthroughs that could potentially save lives languish in articles whose publication is delayed for no reason. In some cases, published findings that have passed a traditional peer review process are subsequently found to be fraudulent.

In this brief article, he outlines a series of problems and solutions such as Delays in publishing. The solution he proposes includes a new breed of journal that “arranges formal, invited peer review for articles that have been published online before review, thereby allowing access to information usually months before a traditional journal.”

He also identifies Anonymity of peer reviewers as another problem with the current scholarly publishing model, noting that “Expert peer reviewers are by default working in the same area which may also make them competitors, creating incentives to be overly critical, or even to deliberately try to hold back a study that competes with their own work.” The solution he proposes is for journals to follow the lead of BioMed Central and publish the names of reviewers, which he believes will “foster a culture of transparency and dialogue, which are fundamental to good science.”

A third problem Marovitz identifies is what he calls the File Drawer Effect which is when “Scientists try to publish in the top journals in their field to compete for a small number of jobs” and “As a side effect, scientists don’t publish work that will not directly advance their career.” The solution he puts forward is to “encourage the publication of negative results, and even allow “research notes,” which can describe just a single experiment rather than a complex study. Researchers can also upload slide decks to Slideshare, and deposit data in repositories such as Figshare, or topic-specific databases.”

The final problem he identifies is Lack of Available Research Data which he defines as when “The underlying data behind published studies are also typically kept hidden while researchers try to build their careers by maximizing the number of new discoveries they can get out of the data they produced.” His proposed solution is to publish the research data and the analysis code. and he notes that there are an increasing number of repositories where such data can be hosted.

It’s a good article and it outlines many of the key issues succinctly. It would have been an even stronger piece, I believe, if he had acknowledged the efforts of the worldwide Open Access movement and the role that institution-based digital repositories, like the USFSP Digital Archive, can play in helping to revolutionize scientific publishing (indeed, all scholarly publishing). It would also have been a stronger piece had he acknowledged the effect that the Office of Scientific and Technology Policy has had by directing Federal agencies with more than $100M in R&D expenditures to develop plans not only to make the published results of federally funded research freely available to the public within one year of publication but also to require researchers to account for and manage the digital data resulting from federally funded scientific research. As I wrote in a previous blog post on Data Management, several library faculty received an internal research grant to investigate the needs for USFSP in this area.

Open Access to research results and research data matters to our faculty, our students, and our community. It’s a complex issue but it merits wide discussion within the University.

Tolerance

As I welcome new and returning students to our campus, I thought it would be good to revisit the topic of Tolerance that I first addressed on my website in July 2010.

Tolerance Sculpture

Built into the walls of the Nelson Poynter Memorial Library, inside and outside, are sculpted bronze hands holding words representing the enduring values of scholarship: tolerance, diversity, wisdom, courage, inspiration, justice, beauty, and truth. These were designed by USF alumnus Robert Calvo, the artist also responsible for the building’s stunning atrium artwork featuring three sculptures representing the great ancient libraries of Alexandria, Nineveh, and Pergamum. (One of those hanging sculptures forms the header of this blog.)

The first value, tolerance, is the foundation for all scholarly endeavors in the modern university. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) Online defines tolerance as “the disposition to be patient with or indulgent to the opinions or practices of others; freedom from bigotry or undue severity in judging the conduct of others; forbearance; catholicity of spirit.To tolerate is defined by the OED as “To allow to exist or to be done or practiced without authoritative interference or molestation“. Wikipedia defines tolerance as “the ability to accept something while disapproving of it.

The American Association of University Professors’ Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, first adopted in 1940, adheres to the value of tolerance when it states that “Institutions of higher education are conducted for the common good and not to further the interest of either the individual teacher or the institution as a whole. The common good depends upon the free search for truth and its free exposition.” Academic freedom, based on tolerance, makes it possible for a faculty member to teach a class that a politician may not approve of. It is tolerance within the parameters of academic freedom which makes it possible for students to present a point of view in a class or on a paper that the majority may not agree with and for them to be protected in voicing that opinion. (Academic freedom and tolerance don’t mean that students don’t have to present logical arguments and data to support their point of view in class, however.) Tolerance demands respect for differences: different opinions, different modes of expressions, different appearances, different cultures. Tolerance – respect for differences – does not mean agreement or acquiescence: others are equally free to disagree, respectfully.

The American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, first adopted in 1939, embodies this tolerance for different points of view. In fact, libraries are charged not only to tolerate different points of view but also to champion and fight for them.

I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.

II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.

IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.

V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.

VI. Libraries that make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

As Dean, I welcome you to the Nelson Poynter Memorial Library where your unique beliefs and opinions will not only be tolerated, but will also be championed. Throughout this academic year, the faculty and staff of the Poynter Library will offer many events, exhibits, and talks that embody these principles.

Welcome to the 2014/2015 academic year!

The Soaring Cost of Textbooks – What’s the Answer?

Textbooks are very expensive and represent a growing segment of the costs for a student to attend a college or university. According to a report of the US Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG) published in 2014, textbook costs have gone up 82% during the last decade. The study found that the average student spends more than $1100 a year on textbooks. Because of the high cost, some students forego buying required textbooks for classes, thus putting their academic success in jeopardy. Of those 65% who reported that they did not purchase a required text because of cost, 94% of them indicated it hurt them academically.

While the price of individual textbooks varies greatly, depending on subject matter and many other factors, the National Association of College Stores (NACS) reported that the average cost of a textbook in 2011-2012 was $68 dollars. Since textbook costs are increasing three to four times faster than the rate of inflation, that average price will have increased substantially in today’s market. For some classes, the cost of an average textbook will be far above the general average. On the NACS FAQ on textbooks, they reported that students estimated spending an average of $370 on required course materials during the fall 2013 term.

Students and faculty at USFSP frequently ask the Library to purchase textbooks and put copies on Reserve. Unfortunately, the Library lacks the funding to be able to do this. The Library’s budget for buying all books has not gone up in a decade, even though the cost of buying books has gone up 49% in that same time period (according to data provided by YBP Library Services, a vendor that supplies books to thousands of academic libraries around the world). Much as the Library would like to accommodate the requests to purchase textbooks, the cost would be prohibitive and would further diminish our declining ability to buy the materials that are needed to support the academic programs of the University.

What, then, is the solution for our students at USF St. Petersburg? The Poynter Library has had discussions with USFSP Student Government leaders for the past several years to develop partial subsidies of a Library Reserves textbook program. So far, those discussions have not borne fruit.

USPIRG, the Student Public Interest Research Groups (SPIRGs) and others are now advocating the adoption of open textbooks. While students can save substantially through options like renting textbooks, buying used books, and bookswaps on campus, open access textbooks are seen as the long-term solution by many groups. SPIRG has produced an Affordable Textbooks Policy Guide that advocates for faculty to make use of and contribute to the creation of open textbooks and for their institutions to support them in this effort. As the SPIRG Policy Guide notes, “Not only are open textbooks more accessible, but they have the potential to save students $100 on average, per course, per semester. If every student at the University of Wisconsin – Madison were assigned just one open textbook each semester, it would generate over $6 million in student savings in just one year.” (see the full report at http://studentpirgs.org/sites/student/files/reports/POLICY%20GUIDE%20-%20Affordable%20Textbooks.pdf) There are currently hundreds of open textbooks available for use. Projects such as the Textbook Affordability Project are working to identify high-quality open textbooks from which faculty can choose.

Open textbooks are one aspect of the broader Open Access movement that the Library has been working to promote through annual programs and through the USFSP Digital Archive. In a previous blog posting (Open Sesame), I provided Peter Suber’s definition of open access literature as:

  • digital
  • online
  • free of charge, and
  • free of most copyright and licensing restrictions

This fall, the Poynter Library will be celebrating Open Access Week October 20-26, 2014. Either during that week or at some other point this fall, the Poynter Library will be working with students, faculty, and other interested parties to discuss textbook costs and possible solutions. Check in with the Library after the fall semesters starts for updates.

Resetting NetIDs

Berrie Watson, Head of Systems and Digital Technology of the Poynter Library, has informed me that we have had multiple students ask to have their NetIDs reset recently.

As long as the students answer their challenge questions correctly, we are able to help them with this at the WebExpress units near the front door or the stand-up computer at the Service Desk. However if the student cannot successfully answer their challenge questions, the online reset will not work for them.

When students have then called the USF helpdesk, they have been given the response “Go to the library, they can reset the NetID in person there”.

This is true only in the USF Tampa library. Although the Poynter Library has repeatedly asked for authorization to be able to assist students with this, the Tampa IT group will only trust a designated IT staff member to help with this issue. In Tampa, there is an IT Help Desk located within the Library. There is no such Tampa-approved IT help desk in the Poynter Library.

It is unfortunate that the Poynter Library – which provides the only open-use computing lab for USFSP and has the widest range of hours of availability — is not permitted to perform the service.

Any students who need help resetting their NetIDs following a failure to answer their challenge questions directly must either call USFSP’s Campus Computing (3-help) or the Tampa IT helpdesk at 974-9000. Any questions about this should be directed to Berrie Watson http://lib.usfsp.edu/staff-member/berrie-watson/