International Association of Scientific and Technological University Libraries

IATUL News Alerts

Archive March 2010

Universities to achieve business goals through technology

Tuesday, 2 March 2010 10:38:30 a.m.

JISC is today launching a suite of resources for universities on employing technology to support their business goals.

Under the JISC and Leadership Foundation partnership, this interactive publication highlights the characteristics of an agile university and how to achieve a dynamic business environment.

Ewart Woodridge CBE, Chief Executive of the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, says, “The ‘Agile University’ is about the capacity to innovate, particularly in new business or operating models. It requires a creativity in how an institution is structured and people are equipped to lead and manage it. It also requires a strategic and entrepreneurial approach to the use of technology.”

This new JISC guide, including videos and practical resources, achieves just that, by taking a step by step approach for universities to tackle their business challenges through the use of technology. It includes guidance on:
• Strategies for agile institutions: scenario planning
• Relationship management and business intelligence
• Research rigour, accessibility and impact
• Alternative business models for higher education
• Enhancing the student and staff experience

Louisa Dale, JISC’s partnership manager adds, “Supporting the current and future generation of university leaders is central to the JISC and Leadership Foundation partnership. This guide shows how everyday business issues can be solved by universities adopting an integrated IT strategy across the whole university and highlights case studies on how a simple solution can have a large benefit.”

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Ensuring that ‘e’ doesn’t mean ephemeral: A practical guide to e-journal archiving solutions

Tuesday, 2 March 2010 10:34:34 a.m.

The trend towards e-only access for scholarly journals is continuing at a rapid rate, and a growing number of journals are ‘born digital’ and have no print counterpart. According to a study commissioned by the British Library, half of all serial publications will be online only by 2016.

Researchers and students now have online access to journal articles to read and download, anywhere, any time. There are also many benefits associated with publishing and accessing academic journals online. E-only access has the potential to save the academic sector a considerable amount of money. Suppliers are willing to provide discounts for e-only access, and libraries also save money in terms of the management and storage of print journals. However, there are concerns that what is now in digital form may not always be available; this and how to ensure post-cancellation access to paid-for content are key barriers to institutions making the move to e-only. Fortunately, although debate continues around many of the issues involved, a number of initiatives have emerged in an effort to address these concerns.

In addition, publishers are adapting to changing library requirements, participating in the different archiving schemes and increasingly providing options for post cancellation access.

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A Season of Change: How Science Librarians Can Remain Relevant with Open Access and Scholarly Communications Initiatives

Tuesday, 2 March 2010 10:32:30 a.m.

The current landscape of scholarly communications is an environment in metamorphosis. A variety of recent activities have been built upon established models of scholarship to create a complex mixture of freely available and commercial resources for scholars. Universities and national research funding groups have issued Gold OA policies (Suber 2007) for faculty to support Open Access and make research more widely available. Commercial and society publishers have created Open Access publishing options for journal articles. Scientists and researchers have also begun to explore funding models for discipline-based research output such as the SCOAP3 (Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics) funding and distribution model proposed by the high energy physics research community. The recently enacted NIH Public Access Policy has created a mandate for scientists to deposit research output into PubMedCentral. The growth of Wikipedia and other social networking sites as a potential research tool is beginning to be exploited with applications such as Chemspider, Science Commons, and Open NoteBook Science. Growing concerns about intellectual property rights and the increased sharing of results and research data has resulted in the growth of Creative Commons licensing for creative works. There are clearly many intersecting issues and concerns that directly affect today's scientific researchers and scholars.

These recent developments have built upon earlier efforts by the scientific community to collectively share scholarship and creative activities., the earliest article preprint server, is now close to 20 years old and has established the model for discipline-based sharing of article preprints. Additional preprint collections in the sciences and social sciences have been developed. Citation indexes, which began with Science Citation Index developed by Eugene Garfield, are being interpreted in new ways, most notably by the implementation of several tools expanding upon this concept. The author h-index developed by J.E. Hirsch at the University of California, San Diego, article level citation metrics recently begun at the Public Library of Science (PLoS), and the journal mapping and influence tool Eigenfactor are examples of these new tools for citation analysis. These tools measure the impact of an author's work, individual articles, and relationships between interconnected disciplines. Web search engines are incorporating more sophisticated analysis and display tools to better present search results and replicate charts, data, and graphs from print reference tools. Examples of these tools include WolframAlpha, Bing, and KartOO. Personal communication tools such as e-mail are being supplemented and in some cases replaced by instant messaging, cell phone texting, and social networks such as Twitter, FriendFeed, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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How to build a case for university policies and practices in support of Open Access

Tuesday, 2 March 2010 10:28:25 a.m.

Open Access is the immediate, free-to-use access to peer-reviewed research literature. By definition, it applies to journal articles and peer-reviewed conference papers, though in practice it is extending to book chapters, monographs and research data. This paper describes how to model the costs and benefits of Open Access for individual universities.

Opening up access to the literature enables research to proceed more efficiently and more effectively. It provides much greater visibility and impact for research – and consequently, for the researchers and their universities. It also enables research managers to monitor, measure and assess research programmes.

In a world where not even the best-financed libraries can afford to buy subscriptions to all the journals their patrons need, and where (despite dedicated initiatives) more than half of research libraries in developing countries can afford no subscriptions at all, levels of access to the literature by researchers are clearly far from ideal. In the UK, a recent report by the Research Information Network concludes that ‘many researchers are encountering difficulties in getting access to the content they need and that this is having a significant impact on their research’. The difficulty most frequently expressed by researchers within universities is their inability to access journal articles they have identified as useful because of a subscription barrier, and this issue also heads the list of top concerns for researchers across all disciplines.

As well as the hampering of research that the current subscription-based system of scholarly communication brings, there are other drivers for Open Access. In the UK in particular, the forthcoming Research Excellence Framework promises to assess and reward research impact as one component of the overall exercise, and with budget cuts and a period of straitened times ahead for UK higher education, strategic thinking needs to focus on courses of action that deliver better value for money in terms of visibility and impact.

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The future of the internet

Tuesday, 2 March 2010 10:26:32 a.m.

A survey of nearly 900 Internet stakeholders reveals fascinating new perspectives on the way the Internet is affecting human intelligence and the ways that information is being shared and rendered.

The web-based survey gathered opinions from prominent scientists, business leaders, consultants, writers and technology developers. It is the fourth in a series of Internet expert studies conducted by the Imagining the Internet Center at Elon University and the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. In this report, we cover experts' thoughts on the following issues:
• Will Google make us stupid?
• Will the internet enhance or detract from reading, writing, and rendering of knowledge?
• Is the next wave of innovation in technology, gadgets, and applications pretty clear now, or will the most interesting developments between now and 2020 come “out of the blue”?
• Will the end-to-end principle of the internet still prevail in 10 years, or will there be more control of access to information?
• Will it be possible to be anonymous online or not by the end of the decade?

“Three out of four experts said our use of the Internet enhances and augments human intelligence, and two-thirds said use of the Internet has improved reading, writing and rendering of knowledge,” said Janna Anderson, study co-author and director of the Imagining the Internet Center. “There are still many people, however, who are critics of the impact of Google, Wikipedia and other online tools.”

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Assessing the future landscape of scholarly communication: An exploration of faculty values and needs in seven disciplines

Tuesday, 2 March 2010 10:23:40 a.m.

Since 2005, the Center for Studies in Higher Education (CSHE), with generous funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, has been conducting research to understand the needs and practices of faculty for in-progress scholarly communication (i.e., forms of communication employed as research is being executed) as well as archival publication. The complete results of our work can be found at the Future of Scholarly Communication’s project website. This report brings together the responses of 160 interviewees across 45, mostly elite, research institutions to closely examine scholarly needs and values in seven selected academic fields: archaeology, astrophysics, biology, economics, history, music, and political science.

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E-books face bright future

Tuesday, 2 March 2010 10:22:42 a.m.

The future for electronic books is bright, with spending in libraries expected to double within the next three years, Maxim van Gisbergen, product manager for e-books at Swets, told a seminar at the Online Information show in London at the beginning of December.

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