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

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!

Expect More

In the 2014 Ithaka S & R briefing paper on “Leveraging the Liaison Model,” Anne Kenney, the University Librarian at Cornell University, discusses what is needed from academic libraries today. She notes, “In an age where some members of the academic community question the value and expense of a library or maintain antiquated notions of what a library does, it is our challenge to make them expect more and to deliver the expertise, services, and resources that will be differentiators in their academic lives. We should seek less to answer the question of how to build 21st century research libraries and direct more of our energies towards thinking about what kind of universities will succeed in the 21st century.”

The main point behind this for me is that universities are changing. As much as some people have been questioning the value of libraries for some time, they are now questioning the need for universities in a way that has not been seen before. Public universities are especially under the gun, needing to be highly accountable to state legislatures and to the general public. We in the academy have a critical need to explain what we do and why it’s important. We are perceived by many as residing in a privileged ivory tower. The value of research can be an especially tough sell to the public. Tenure is often misunderstood and unpopular and academic freedom is poorly understood.

There is a growing sense that universities must provide a good return on the investment (ROI) made in them. There is concern over student debt, retention of students, graduation rates and years to completion, and for students to find meaningful employment following graduation. Governors, legislatures, the Department of Education, and accrediting bodies are weighing in on curriculum and what will provide good ROI in higher education. Many states are setting general education standards because they believe they are more in tune with what the state and the students need from higher education than we in the academy are. Universities are not always viewed as being good stewards of public monies.

The point of view espoused by Anne Kenney and others is one I share and that I believe the Poynter Library faculty and staff embody. I believe that we in the Library must expect more of ourselves and of our role in the University, and the faculty and administration must also expect more of what we can and should do. Not in the sense of just taking on more and more but in the sense of thinking of the library as an active partner, fully engaged in the success of the university in all its endeavors. We are partners in supporting the entire research cycle, in assisting other faculty in preparing students to be successful lifelong learners, in utilizing technology effectively to transform the academy, in building bridges between disciplines and across traditional divides, in being models of inclusion and diversity. Libraries should play an active role in recruiting students and then working with other campus partners to ensure that their experience is so rewarding and successful that they complete their degrees and go on to find meaningful lives and careers after graduation. We must be actively engaged with the community beyond the campus, playing a key role in strengthening and building a wide range of partnerships. We have expertise and skills that go far beyond what many think a library can – or should — be.

The role of an academic library in the modern university is complex and evolving. We are the Gateway to the World’s Information, not only providing access to rich collections of primary and secondary resources but also in helping our students and faculty navigate the increasingly complex world of scholarly communication. We provide new, technology-rich spaces for collaboration. We support the entire research cycle. We are interdisciplinary experts, helping students and faculty connect the dots between and across disciplines. By principle and training, libraries model diversity and inclusion in the collections we build, the exhibits we host, the talks we sponsor and, hopefully, the way we conduct ourselves. Libraries should be safe havens for exploration and discovery for people from all backgrounds and from all points of view. We often lead the way in the innovative use of technology; monitoring technology trends and seeking to test and apply new technologies across all disciplines is something that we do almost without thinking. We support teaching in all modalities, face-to-face or online.

By ourselves, we can’t cover all the bases of what our students and faculty need. But we are here for the common good, we know how to collaborate effectively (just look at the success of interlibrary loans, as one example), and we have wide-ranging expertise that should be tapped as a matter of course. We are ready, willing, and more than able to take part in the conversations and the planning to help our university be successful in providing an excellent education and life-changing experience for all of our students.

The Best of Traditional Library Services

Yesterday afternoon, Special Collections Librarian and historian, Jim Schnur, and Elizabeth Southard, USFSP Anthropology Graduate, made a joint presentation entitled Early Footprints in the Sand: Pre-Columbian Settlements Along the Pinellas Peninsula & the Legacies of First Contact that discussed the Manasota, Weedon Island, and Safety Harbor cultures that lived along Florida’s west coast before the arrival of the first Europeans. The presentation, part of which can be viewed in the USFSP Digital Archive at http://dspace.nelson.usf.edu/xmlui/handle/10806/5933, was well attended by students, faculty and other members of the USFSP and wider community.

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Schnur provided an overview of important moments of human history for the region, noting that we must rely for much of what we know by studying pottery pieces and stone and shell tools that date from more than 500 years ago.

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In the summer of 2011 the Library received a collection of nearly 800 such items donated by W.R. “Butch” Evans (described in the Digital Archive at: http://dspace.nelson.usf.edu/xmlui/handle/10806/4288)

Southard, a recent recipient of the Tampa Bay History Center’s Leland Hawes Prize for papers focusing on Florida history, worked with this collection of artifacts and also participated in field work both locally, at places such as Weedon Island, and in class trips to sites in Africa and elsewhere. Her presentation discussed some of the findings that came from examining the Butch Evans collection and recently collected artifacts.

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This joint presentation demonstrated the best of traditional academic library services – putting student and faculty scholars together with the resources they need for their research (regardless of the form those resources take) and helping them put them into a useful context. Even while libraries evolve to meet new needs, the need for such traditional services does not diminish.