International Association of Scientific and Technological University Libraries

IATUL News Alerts

Archive February 2010

Scholarly Publishing Roundtable Report

Wednesday, 3 February 2010 10:32:23 a.m.

In June 2009, the Committee on Science and Technology of the United States House of Representatives, in coordination with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), convened a Scholarly Publishing Roundtable to examine the current state of scholarly publishing and develop consensus recommendations for expanding public access to the journal articles arising from research funded by agencies of the United States government. The Committee convened a diverse set of Roundtable participants drawn from the key stakeholders in this debate, and asked them to develop a consensus regarding access to and preservation of the results of federally funded research that addresses the needs of all parties.

The members of the Roundtable included persons drawn from academic administration (three provosts and an association executive) and from academic libraries (three librarians), publishers of scientific journals (two from learned societies, one from an established commercial house offering a range of business models, and one from an innovative and successful open access start‐up), and three researchers in the domains of library and information science. Roundtable members were asked to participate as knowledgeable individuals, rather than as representatives of their organizations, and to maintain confidentiality of their deliberations to promote open and candid exchange.

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A Comparative Review of Research Assessment Regimes in Five Countries and the Role of Libraries in the Research Assessment Process

Wednesday, 3 February 2010 10:29:54 a.m.

In many countries attention is being directed towards research assessment and the development of procedures for assessment both in universities and at a national level. In the UK, which has had a national research assessment process aimed at fostering research excellence for over two decades, research assessment has absorbed huge amounts of attention, effort and time, and has undoubtedly contributed towards a shift in attitudes of university managers and research communities towards their missions and towards their fellow institutions. Some believe that competitiveness has displaced the collegiate, collaborative values that the academy once held.

Those countries that have pursued different paths in regard to funding higher education and research, distributing funding on a less combative basis, may not have themselves engendered the levels of competitiveness that may be seen in the UK. Nevertheless, with the rise in usage of world university ranking systems like the Times Higher World University Ranking and the Jiao Tong Academic Ranking of World Universities, a new urgency is informing the approach to competition among universities worldwide, and within various regions and sectors.

This study was designed to review research assessment regimes and the role of research libraries within those assessment processes in five countries, each of which takes a different approach to assessment. At the beginning of the project it was postulated that libraries occupy an interesting position within the academy, both belonging to an institution yet to an extent separated from it. There is—arguably—a set of 'research library values' that remains independent of local, institutional values, enabling libraries to occupy a unique and constructive role in the development and support of research assessment processes. Libraries have an understanding of scholarly communication processes, and they are currently in a state of rapid transformation to keep pace with the way scholars work. They understand the broad range of outputs and the publishing behaviour of scholars across disciplines, and the methodological constraints, limitations and variances that pertain to assessment exercises. This report provides an insight into the extent to which research libraries have so far been able to leverage the particular skills and experience their staff possess to position the library at or near the operational and strategic centre of institutions’ responses to the internal and national requirements of research assessment processes.

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RDA Vocabularies: Process, Outcome, Use

Wednesday, 3 February 2010 10:26:33 a.m.

The Resource Description and Access (RDA) standard, due to be released this coming summer, has included since May 2007 a parallel effort to build Semantic Web enabled vocabularies. This article describes that effort and the decisions made to express the vocabularies for use within the library community and in addition as a bridge to the future of library data outside the current MARC-based systems. The authors also touch on the registration activities that have made the vocabularies usable independently of the RDA textual guidance. Designed for both human and machine users, the registered vocabularies describe the relationships between FRBR, the RDA classes and properties and the extensive value vocabularies developed for use within RDA.

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An Awareness Toolkit commissioned by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL)

Wednesday, 3 February 2010 10:24:02 a.m.

Research data are defined here as the factual records (e.g. microarray, numerical and textual records, images and sounds, etc.) used as primary sources for research, and that are commonly accepted in the research community as necessary to validate research findings.

The US National Science Foundation describes digital data as both the products of research and, increasingly, the starting point for new research. In the digital environment, it is possible for researchers to re-purpose data –to use them in innovative ways and combinations not envisioned by those who created them. It is also common for researchers to use data from one study to build on and enhance the findings of previous research; and to undertake longitudinal studies that compare data from repeated observations of the same items over long periods of time — often many decades.

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2010 Horizon Report

Wednesday, 3 February 2010 10:22:30 a.m.

The annual Horizon Report is a collaborative effort between the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) and the New Media Consortium (NMC). Each year, the report identifies and describes six areas of emerging technology likely to have a significant impact on teaching, learning, or creative expression in higher education within three adoption horizons: a year or less, two to three years, and four to five years.

The areas of emerging technology cited for 2010 are:

Time to adoption: One Year or Less
• Mobile Computing
• Open Content

Time to adoption: Two to Three Years
• Electronic Books
• Simple Augmented Reality

Time to adoption: Four to Five Years
• Gesture-based Computing
• Visual Data Analysis

Each section of the report provides live Web links to examples and additional readings. The findings for the 2010 Report resulted from the work of the 47-person Advisory Board, with experts from ten countries.

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ACRL 2009 Strategic Thinking Guide for Academic Librarians in the New Economy

Wednesday, 3 February 2010 10:19:32 a.m.

This project was originally conceived as an environmental scan that would generate discussion at the ACRL 14th National Conference in March 2009. In the wake of dramatic economic developments, government action, and a flood of higher education trends reports, we felt that a strategic thinking guide would better complement the current literature. This guide considers three important drivers in the current environment and poses questions to stimulate conversations and action in your libraries and on your campuses. Along the way, we point to the work of higher education associations, private foundations, government agencies, and individual experts for further “assisted reading.”

The ACRL 2009 Strategic Thinking Guide examines the current economic and financial turmoil affecting all of higher education. The current situation is so critical that Gordon Gee, president of The Ohio State University, speaking at the American Council on Education annual meeting in February 2009, issued a call for “intentional upheaval at our colleges and universities just when fiscal chaos already places us on the edge.” Our choice, he said, is between “reinvention or extinction.” Gee urged leaders to resist the temptation “to hunker down, hide out, take refuge in the fox hole, and wait for the storm to pass.” The federal government is leading the way: President Barack Obama’s 2010 budget proposal was immediately hailed for its “blockbuster ideas,” “sweeping changes,” and “bold and breathtaking set of proposals.” Over the past decade, notable library leaders have also called upon librarians to embrace systemic change; however, the stakes have never been high enough to make radical reinvention imperative.

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