International Association of Scientific and Technological University Libraries

IATUL News Alerts

Archive May 2011

Periodicals Price Survey 2011: Under Pressure, Times Are Changing

Monday, 23 May 2011 8:05:21 p.m.

Periodical prices are on the upswing, and technology is advancing at a relentless pace.
There’s no way to sugarcoat the impact higher serials prices have on the information marketplace, or the dire state of funding for libraries. Libraries are no longer in a position of having to cut low-use journals in order to make room for high-use ones; instead, they are now being forced to cancel heavily used, even essential subscriptions, much to the dismay of their patrons. The economy still drives any discussion of serials pricing, and it remains a very ugly story.

In September 2010, the National Bureau of Economic Research reported that economic indicators showed that the recession hit its trough and began recovery in June 2009. But while this may be true technically based on economic data, the recovery’s effects remain very difficult for either libraries or their patrons to detect. Educational systems, especially higher education, are easy targets when funding gets tight and states’ budgets are far from flush. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released a report in 2010 that had some alarming news: “Counting both initial and mid-year shortfalls, 48 states have addressed or still face such shortfalls in their budgets for fiscal year 2010, totaling $193 billion or 28 percent of state budgets—the largest gaps on record.”

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Students research the library: Using student-led ethnographic research to examine the changing role of campus libraries

Monday, 23 May 2011 8:04:20 p.m.

What do we know about student experiences of the library and their changing needs? Is it possible to capture that kind of information as it emerges in our libraries and use it to modify our services and activities? We contend that not only is it possible, but it is necessary that libraries develop enhanced capacities to sense the changing information landscape and possess the capacity to change with it. The future of academic libraries may depend on it.

New information technologies have changed undergraduate students’ college experience, including their research and information needs and practices. Facing the decentralization of information and resources, academic libraries are attempting to reconfigure their role on campus, modify their collections and physical spaces, and enhance the technological skills of staff in order to meet new needs of students.

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Building an Institutional Discovery Layer for Virtual Research Collections

Monday, 23 May 2011 8:03:06 p.m.

University libraries are under pressure to ensure that their strategies and services to support researchers are aligned with the parent organization's research goals. Important to researchers are not only research information needs — which necessarily underpin their research — but also the discoverability and accessibility of their own research outputs. While libraries have a history of designing discovery systems, new research paradigms are presenting both challenges and opportunities for libraries to reconceptualise such systems within a broader context. This paper describes a nationally funded Australian university initiative to build a research repository which feeds data into both a national research data service and university library discovery tools. Challenges and benefits are discussed.

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Stop the Madness: The Insanity of ROI and the Need for New Qualitative Measures of Academic Library Success

Monday, 23 May 2011 8:01:23 p.m.

Paper delivered by James G. Neal at ACRL 2011

Return on Investment (ROI) has become the new mantra of academic libraries, a relentless and in many ways foolish effort to quantify impact in the face of budget challenges and the questioning of our continuing relevance to the academy in an all-digital information world. ROI instruments and calculations fundamentally do not work for academic libraries, and present naïve and misinterpreted assessments of our roles and impacts at our institutions and across higher education. New and rigorous qualitative measures of success are needed.

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JISC Research Information Management Kit

Monday, 23 May 2011 7:59:52 p.m.

What is Research Information Management?

Research activity is a fundamental activity within the UK Higher Education (HE) sector and for many institutions is a major revenue income stream. In common with all other areas of endeavour, research is becoming increasingly dependent on information systems to manage the complex information flows that it creates. Reductions in university funding and changes to external reporting requirements mean that in the medium term future it is probable there will be an increased need for institutions to be able to demonstrate how their research funds were utilised and the value for money they provided.

Why invest in Research Information Management?

While there are numerous examples of good practice and sophisticated system interaction, our research suggests that information systems to support Research Management have grown piecemeal in most institutions. There are a number of stakeholders in research and research management activities and each of these has, to some degree, developed their own information system support. The results from our own survey conducted in 2010 demonstrate that in most institutions these systems are, to a greater or lesser extent, discrete and separate with limited integration.

As one part of a string of initiatives by JISC and JISC infoNet, our work in this area will seek to develop a better understanding of the processes of Research Information Management (RIM) systems within institutions and the processes for building a business case for justifying the development of such systems. It also aims to offer an online resource to provide support and guidance for institutions considering further development of their RIM systems. A prime objective of this project is to work with, and to support, projects funded by the JISC Innovations Group during the lifetime of this project and to help synthesise and disseminate their findings to the community at large.

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IFLA Statement on Open Access: Clarifying IFLA's position and strategy

Monday, 23 May 2011 7:58:46 p.m.

IFLA is committed to the principles of freedom of access to information and the belief that universal and equitable access to information is vital for the social, educational, cultural, democratic, and economic well-being of people, communities, and organizations.

Open access is the now known name for a concept, a movement and a business model whose goal is to provide free access and re-use of scientific knowledge in the form of research articles, monographs, data and related materials. Open access does this by shifting today's prevalent business models of after-publication payment by subscribers to a funding model that does not charge readers or their institutions for access. Thus, open access is an essential issue within IFLA's information agenda.

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Monday, 2 May 2011 10:06:03 a.m.

Ithaka S+R Library Survey 2010: Insights From U.S. Academic Library Directors aims to help academic libraries and other members of the higher education community understand the changing role of the library and how to strategically adapt to an increasingly digital environment. This survey focuses on the issues related to the strategies library administrators are pursuing for their libraries, the management of library collections, the development of new digital collections, and the creation of new services to meet changing user needs.

Academic libraries are changing the way that they acquire and manage their collections as they serve scholars who increasingly demand different material types and new formats. Ithaka S+R’s Faculty Survey and Library Survey are designed as complements to one another, exploring the attitudes and habits of university and college faculty members in their use of information resources, their perceptions of the academic library, and their views on scholarly communications, as well as the strategies and services provided by academic libraries to meet these needs.

The 2010 Ithaka S+R Library Survey, which complements the 2009 Faculty Survey, was sent via email to library directors at academic libraries at colleges and universities in the United States in the fall of 2010. The anonymous, self-reported survey responses have been reported in the aggregate and segmented by institutional size as well as compared with responses to the Ithaka S+R Faculty Survey.

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Career Motivations of the Scientist-Turned-Librarian: A Secondary Analysis of WILIS Data

Monday, 2 May 2011 10:04:18 a.m.

What might motivate someone with a natural science degree to forgo the lab and pursue a non-traditional career in librarianship? Are there differences between LIS graduates with and without a science degree that might impact recruitment strategies? An analysis of data from a longitudinal career study, "Workforce Issues in Library and Information Science," sought to answer these questions. When compared to their peers with degrees in other fields, science graduates were similar in social motivation, service ethos, desired working conditions, and nearly all other variables. Science graduates were much more likely to cite interest in computers as a motivation to pursue LIS studies. Those with natural science degrees also showed a strong preference for research-oriented settings such as academic and special libraries versus school and public libraries. In addition, science graduates reported greater involvement in professional research and publications than those with degrees in other fields. In multiple ways, science graduates who entered library school expressed a desire to bring their knowledge of science and passion for analytical thinking to a new career.

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Podcast: Cliff Lynch on Information Technology as a Strategic Resource

Monday, 2 May 2011 10:02:41 a.m.

Particularly in these difficult economic times that are demanding a rethinking of many practices, information technology should be treated as a strategic resource, enabling and supporting change in research and scholarship, in teaching and learning, and in partnership with the library and academic information management. This approach will be vital not only locally on campuses but also across institutions of higher education, allowing them to work together.

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Heading for the open road - Costs & benefits of transitions in scholarly communications

Monday, 2 May 2011 10:01:04 a.m.

This new report investigates the drivers, costs and benefits of potential ways to increase access to scholarly journals. It identifies five different routes for achieving that end over the next five years, and compares and evaluates the benefits as well as the costs and risks for the UK.

The report suggests that policymakers who are seeking to promote increases in access should encourage the use of existing subject and institutional repositories, but avoid pushing for reductions in embargo periods, which might put at risk the sustainability of the underlying scholarly publishing system. They should also promote and facilitate a transition to open access publishing (Gold open access) while seeking to ensure that the average level of charges for publication does not exceed c.£2000; that the rate in the UK of open access publication is broadly in step with the rate in the rest of the world; and that total payments to journal publishers from UK universities and their funders do not rise as a consequence.

At a time of financial stringency for universities, research funders and publishers, it is important that all the stakeholders in the scholarly communications system work together to find the most cost-effective ways of fulfilling their joint goal of increasing access to the outputs of research. This report provides the first detailed and authoritative analysis of how this might be achieved over the next five years. We hope that it will stimulate new dialogue and new approaches to policy and practice across all stakeholders.

This work was jointly commissioned by the RIN, Research Libraries UK, the Wellcome Trust, the Publishing Research Consortium and the Joint Information Systems Committee. It is part of our Transitions in scholarly communications portfolio of projects.

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