International Association of Scientific and Technological University Libraries

IATUL News Alerts

Archive December 2013

Starting the conversation: University-wide research data management

Monday, 16 December 2013 3:01:46 p.m.

Starting the Conversation: University-wide Research Data Management Policy is a call for action that summarizes the benefits of systemic data management planning and identifies the stakeholders and their concerns. It also suggests that the library director proactively initiate a conversation among these stakeholders to get buy-in for a high-level, responsible data planning and management policy that is proactive, rather than reactive.

Key highlights:

· The benefits of funder-required data management planning should apply to all research data
· Research and Compliance Offices, IT, Academic units, the Library, and Researchers should be involved in setting policy
· An entrepreneurial person may need to get things going—why not the library director?
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CLIR Publishes Research Data Management: Principles, Practices, and Prospects

Monday, 16 December 2013 2:59:33 p.m.

The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) has published Research Data Management: Principles, Practices, and Prospects. The report examines how research institutions are responding to data management requirements of the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and other federal agencies. It also considers what role, if any, academic libraries and the library and information science profession should have in supporting researchers’ data management needs.

“The DataRes report comes at a critical moment in the data management conversation,” said Rachel Frick, director of CLIR’s Digital Library Federation program. “I hope our community will use this report to inform and evaluate its work.”

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Results of the consultation on Open Research Data

Monday, 16 December 2013 2:56:54 p.m.

Open enquiry is at the heart of scientific endeavour, and rapid technological change has profound implications for the way in which science is conducted and communicated. Research is being transformed in particular by the increasing availability of digital data and new technologies for gathering, processing and generating digital resources.

In the communication 'Towards better access to scientific information', the Commission announces that it will 'provide a framework and encourage open access to research data in Horizon 2020, taking into account any restrictions that may be needed in order to protect intellectual property or legitimate commercial interests'.
On 2nd of July 2013, the EC held a one-day public consultation on open research data in Brussels to obtain the input of all concerned stakeholders on this important and sensitive issue. Attendees included stakeholders from the research and publishing communities, as well as libraries, universities and industry representatives. The outcomes of the consultation will help the Commission to develop its policies on open research data.

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Open data: Unlocking innovation and performance with liquid information

Monday, 16 December 2013 2:53:02 p.m.

Open data—machine-readable information, particularly government data, that’s made available to others—has generated a great deal of excitement around the world for its potential to empower citizens, change how government works, and improve the delivery of public services. It may also generate significant economic value, according to a new McKinsey report. The research for this report was jointly conducted by McKinsey’s Business Technology Office, the McKinsey Global Institute, and the public sector practice, which incorporates the McKinsey Center for Government. Our research suggests that seven sectors alone could generate more than $3 trillion a year in additional value as a result of open data, which is already giving rise to hundreds of entrepreneurial businesses and helping established companies to segment markets, define new products and services, and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of operations.
Although the open-data phenomenon is in its early days, we see a clear potential to unlock significant economic value by applying advanced analytics to both open and proprietary knowledge. Open data can become an instrument for breaking down information gaps across industries, allowing companies to share benchmarks and spread best practices that raise productivity. Blended with proprietary data sets, it can propel innovation and help organizations replace traditional and intuitive decision-making approaches with data-driven ones. Open-data analytics can also help uncover consumer preferences, allowing companies to improve new products and to uncover anomalies and needless variations. That can lead to leaner, more reliable processes.
However, investments in technology and expertise are required to use the data effectively. And there is much work to be done by governments, companies, and consumers to craft policies that protect privacy and intellectual property, as well as establish standards to speed the flow of data that is not only open but also “liquid.” After all, consumers have serious privacy concerns, and companies are reluctant to share proprietary information—even when anonymity is assured—for fear of losing competitive advantage.

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Library Impact Data Project: Looking for the Link between Library Usage and Student Attainment

Monday, 16 December 2013 2:50:56 p.m.

The Library Impact Data Project was a six-month project funded by Jisc and managed by the University of Huddersfield to investigate this hypothesis: “There is a statistically significant correlation across a number of universities between library activity data and student attainment.” E-resources usage, library borrowing statistics, and library gate entries were measured against final degree award for 33,074 undergraduate students across eight U.K. universities. The research successfully demonstrated a statistically significant relationship between library resource use and level of degree result; however, any conclusions drawn are not indicators that library usage and student attainment have a causal relationship.
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A guide to open educational resources

Monday, 16 December 2013 2:48:23 p.m.

Open educational resources (OER) are learning and teaching materials, freely available online for anyone to use. Examples include full courses, course modules, lectures, games, teaching materials and assignments. They can take the form of text, images, audio, video and may even be interactive.
Teachers, learners and the general public can access and make use of open educational resources, irrespective of their location or affiliation with any particular institution. Open educational resources are shared via the websites of education providers and through public services like i-Tunes U, SlideShare, YouTube and Jorum.
Individuals and organisations can create and share their own open educational resources. Once released, the resources can be used by a learner, reused by a teacher, remixed with other resources or repurposed to create new educational materials. While it is not essential to embrace all aspects – release, use, reuse and repurposing – involvement with one aspect tends to lead naturally to another.
Releasing open educational resources is not simply about putting learning and teaching material online; it involves making the material available in a genuinely open way. Creative Commons or similar licenses are used so that the creator of the resources can retain copyright, while others can copy, distribute, and make some uses of their work.
OER can be looked upon as a process as well as a set of products. This is because educators need to rethink the way in which they create, use and distribute learning and teaching materials.
Opening up learning and teaching materials does not equate to providing a free education. Open educational resources are components of a rich educational package which includes staff expertise, institutional facilities, tuition and feedback.

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Massive open online courses and online distance learning: review

Monday, 16 December 2013 2:46:38 p.m.

This report updates our knowledge on the development and impact of massive open online courses on learners and institutions at further education and higher education level. The study assessed available literature from various sources, including academic research articles and formal comprehensive reviews; blog posts; commentary and journalistic coverage. It concludes that massive open online courses are likely to become a standard element of university education with new teaching and learning methods that provide revenue and lower costs. A major challenge is finding suitable business models.
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Libraries in the time of MOOCs

Monday, 16 December 2013 2:45:24 p.m.

MOOCs give librarians new opportunities to help shape the conversation about changes in higher education and to guide administrators, faculty, and students through these changes. To assume this role, librarians must understand the MOOCs landscape. Numerous stakeholders will have an interest in the massive intellectual property that ultimately resides in libraries' owned and licensed digital repositories. Studying and adopting technologies to manage and monitor MOOC usage of library resources will be essential to controlling access and tightening Internet safeguards.
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Searching for Sustainability: Strategies from Eight Digitized Special Collections

Monday, 16 December 2013 2:42:59 p.m.

This report aims to address one of the biggest challenges facing libraries and cultural heritage organizations: how to move their special collections into the 21st century through digitization while developing successful strategies to make sure those collections remain accessible and relevant over time. Through a cooperative agreement as part of the National Leadership Grants Program, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) funded the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), in partnership with Ithaka S+R, to undertake in-depth case studies of institutions that have worked to build the audience, infrastructure, and funding models necessary to maintain and grow their digital collections.
The eight collections profiled provide useful models and examples of good practice for project leaders to consider when digitizing their own materials. We hope that these case studies will encourage greater discussion among individuals in the academic library and cultural heritage communities about the reasons why they invest so much time and energy in the creation and ongoing management of their digitized special collections, the goals they set for them, and the planning needed to realize those aims. These questions become even more pressing in an environment where the traditional sources of funding for digitization are beginning to wane. In the coming years, the ability to identify secure sources of support and to demonstrate impact over time will undoubtedly become increasingly important.
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