International Association of Scientific and Technological University Libraries

IATUL News Alerts

Archive June 2011

Libraries for an open environment: Strategies, technologies and partnerships Conference

Wednesday, 29 June 2011 3:12:36 p.m.

The proceedings of the 32nd annual IATUL conference held in Warsaw on 29 May – 2 June are now available.

Go to source:

Upgrading Information to Knowledge (ICSTI 2011) Public Conference

Wednesday, 29 June 2011 3:11:13 p.m.

ICSTI’s 2011 Annual Conference was held on 7-8 June in Beijing. Hosted by ISTIC, the Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China, the theme of the Conference was ’Upgrading Information to Knowledge’. The Conference was followed immediately by ICSTI’s General Assembly Meetings on 8-9 June.

Go to source:

JISC scholarly communications roundtable concludes: variety will be the spice of open access

Wednesday, 29 June 2011 3:09:31 p.m.

Publishers, researchers and librarians met this week to debate the global and UK position for scholarly communications including the transition from traditional journal publishing models to open access for academic research.
JISC hosted the roundtable discussion which saw experts gather to share their views on the benefits and international challenges facing higher education in making academic research more widely available, for example through open access routes.

Mark Patterson - Director of Publishing, Public Library of Science explained that he saw that there have been, "significant changes in the publishing world with several open access titles launching over the past 18 months." He also added, "We are seeing a publishing system evolving and adapting to online and digital media. However, it is not just access to research articles and papers that is important it is also being able to reuse and share the content of those articles so new knowledge can be created."

What is clear from the debate is approaching online publishing models for research with a one size fits all approach would be dangerous and care needs to be taken to ensure the models suit the research disciplines. Neil Jacobs JISC’s programme director for digital infrastructure leads JISC’s work on open access and says: “In some areas of physics, where a pre-print culture is normal, open access has been built around that. In other disciplines, such as in some areas of the life sciences, there are major open access journals and repositories. Open access is not yet common in chemistry, and the importance of monographs presents different challenges in the humanities.”

The debate looked at the possible paths to transition from the traditional journal model through to gold oa as well as talking through whether a hybrid model was also the way to go. There was agreement that peer review must remain a cornerstone of scientific publication, to ensure author’s reputations and the credibility of the research. It also contributes to the prestige of some journal titles, which are likely to remain as important brands within scientific publication.

Lorraine Estelle CEO of JISC Collections raised the point that, "there is likely to be a mixed economy for quite some time yet because of course it is a global issue and unless the whole world moves to open access in a particular discipline, there is going to be some subscription for those articles that are coming from other countries."

The debate concluded that there was a strong agreement across the delegates to work together to address these challenges to benefit research and UK plc.

Go to source:

Usage statistics provide insight into resources

Wednesday, 29 June 2011 3:05:17 p.m.

Cardiff University has developed the first generic system in the UK to help education institutions assess the popularity and use of their electronic resources viewed via access management software.

The JISC-funded RAPTOR project, led by Cardiff’s information services directorate, enables institutions to view usage statistics from different access management systems, with a particular focus on federated access systems.

The RAPTOR system automatically analyses the log files created by an institution’s access management systems, and shows information about the resources that users have accessed in easily understandable graphics.

The system has been designed to be easy to install and configure, to appeal to institutions with limited technical expertise or resource. It should also be easy to use for the non-technical staff who may require this information.

Martyn Harrow, director of information services at Cardiff, said: “The strength of the RAPTOR tool at a time when education budgets are being squeezed is in providing the evidence needed for academic schools to assess the e-resources subscriptions that are in place. Universities using this system will be able to prove the impact of the e-resources they provide, and ensure that they continue to deliver the best possible value for money for individual academic schools and entire institutions.”

Chris Brown, JISC e-research programme manager, said: “The JISC funded RAPTOR project has produced a tool that has the potential to become extremely important both for institutions and the UK federation. In these times of not just cost savings but looking at improving efficiencies, the RAPTOR tool provides valuable statistics on resource usage. It can analyse a variety of log files and present important information, not only promptly, but most importantly, in an easy to use way. The team at Cardiff have used their wealth of experience in this area and incorporated user feedback to build a tool that is easy to install and use but also extremely powerful.”

Dr Rhys Smith, engineering consultant for identity and access in the information services, said: “RAPTOR’s ease of use has been one of the central considerations in developing the system. This development will give non-technical staff the flexibility to independently produce these statistics whenever they are needed. Users can access the statistics in as much detail as they require (for example, you can view usage by individual department) and the system then presents the figures in an easily understandable way, which can in turn be exported into presentations or reports.”

A further feature of RAPTOR includes providing UK-wide statistics for the JISC Monitoring Unit on the take-up of federated access management across the UK. RAPTOR could also be applied in the US, Europe, and beyond, with potential partnership opportunities between Cardiff and other institutions already being identified to further develop the system.

RAPTOR is now available to the higher education community. The project has secured further JISC funding of £20k to develop the project in consultation with external partners and its users to evaluate and improve the software.

JISC is now funding RAPTOR further to help standardise the code and establish a community of early adopters. This work will help to show the benefits of the tool, build a community and give feedback to the team on potential improvements.

Go to source:

SPARC introduces Open-access Journal Publishing Resource Index

Wednesday, 29 June 2011 3:02:18 p.m.

SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) has released a free online Open Access Journal Publishing Resource Index with information and documents to support the launch and operation of an open-access journal. Materials in the index will help libraries, presses, and other academic units on campuses as they work together to make the work of their researchers more widely available.

This new resource is launched in conjunction with the SPARC Campus-based Publishing Resource Center (, which delivers a guide to critical issues in campus-based publishing partnerships, case studies, a bibliography and resource list, an index of collaborative initiatives (operated in partnership with Columbia University Libraries), and access to the LIBPRESS online discussion forum (operated by the University of California). The Center is overseen by an editorial board representing library and university press staff who are actively engaged in creating and managing publishing partnerships.

The new index complements the rich existing resource center by pointing to relevant sections in existing open-access journal publishing guides and to sample journal proposals, policies, bylaws, and other documentation to help with planning, development, and collaboration issues.

Go to source:

Online Access and the Scientific Journal Market: An Economistís Perspective

Wednesday, 29 June 2011 3:00:33 p.m.

An oft repeated joke about economists is that they know the price of everything and the value of nothing. When I first began to think about the economics of scientific journals in the late 1990s, it occurred to me that at least in this one case the converse was more accurate: economists knew the value of their journals, but not their prices. Indeed, economists were experts on the quality rankings of their journals; they kept close tabs on which economics faculties published the most articles in top journals, etc. But if I asked them about subscription costs, or the identity of a journal’s publisher the average response I received was simply “no idea.” Furthermore, it seemed that the same pattern was true in other disciplines like biomedicine or chemistry, i.e. acute awareness of journal quality but little or no knowledge of other seemingly important product characteristics.

Go to source:

The Development of Open Access Journal Publishing from 1993 to 2009

Wednesday, 29 June 2011 2:58:39 p.m.

Open Access (OA) is a model for publishing scholarly peer reviewed journals, made possible by the Internet. The full text of OA journals and articles can be freely read, as the publishing is funded through means other than subscriptions. Empirical research concerning the quantitative development of OA publishing has so far consisted of scattered individual studies providing brief snapshots, using varying methods and data sources. This study adopts a systematic method for studying the development of OA journals from their beginnings in the early 1990s until 2009. Because no comprehensive index of OA articles exists, systematic manual data collection from journal web sites was conducted based on journal-level data extracted from the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). Due to the high number of journals registered in the DOAJ, almost 5000 at the time of the study, stratified random sampling was used. A separate sample of verified early pioneer OA journals was also studied. The results show a very rapid growth of OA publishing during the period 1993–2009. During the last year an estimated 191 000 articles were published in 4769 journals. Since the year 2000, the average annual growth rate has been 18% for the number of journals and 30% for the number of articles. This can be contrasted to the reported 3,5% yearly volume increase in journal publishing in general. In 2009 the share of articles in OA journals, of all peer reviewed journal articles, reached 7,7%. Overall, the results document a rapid growth in OA journal publishing over the last fifteen years. Based on the sampling results and qualitative data a division into three distinct periods is suggested: The Pioneering years (1993–1999), the Innovation years (2000–2004), and the Consolidation years (2005–2009).

Go to source:

Funding for Sustainability: How Fundersí Practices Influence the Future of Digital Resources

Wednesday, 29 June 2011 2:44:05 p.m.

Funding for Sustainability: How Funders’ Practices Influence the Future of Digital Resources offers an overview of funders' policies and practices, and provides a framework to assist funders and their grantees in thinking about the key elements of post-grant sustainability planning for digital resources.
Over the past decade, philanthropic organizations and government agencies have invested millions of dollars, pounds, and euros in the creation of digital content in the not-for-profit sector. Their grants have facilitated major digitization efforts and encouraged innovative scholarly work possible only in an online environment. Still, the path from initial grant funding to long-term sustainability of these resources can be challenging.

Ithaka S+R, with generous support from the JISC-led Strategic Content Alliance, interviewed more than 80 individuals, including representatives from more than 25 funding bodies in Europe and North America with a focus on digital resources in the higher education and cultural heritage sectors. Through a year-long research process, Ithaka S+R observed a rich range of sustainability planning activities, but also identified areas for improvement in the funding process that are valuable to both funders and grant seekers. The report also offers funders and project leaders a high-level process for working together at the proposal stage to set plans for post-grant sustainability.

Go to source:

Report and Recommendations of the U.S. RDA Test Coordinating Committee

Wednesday, 29 June 2011 2:42:38 p.m.

The senior management at the Library of Congress (LC), National Agricultural Library (NAL), and National Library of Medicine (NLM) charged the U.S. RDA Test Coordinating Committee to devise and conduct a national test of Resource Description & Access (RDA). The Coordinating Committee would evaluate RDA by testing it within the library and information environment, assessing the technical, operational, and financial implications of the new code. The assessment would include an articulation of the business case for RDA, including benefits to libraries and end users, along with cost analyses for retraining staff and re‐engineering cataloging processes. The Coordinating Committee began its work by reviewing RDA’s stated goals.

The Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA (JSC) crafted a strategic plan that enumerated a set of goals that was shared with the cataloging and information communities. The U.S. RDA Test sought to determine how well these goals were met. In this report, the Coordinating Committee describes how it devised its test plan, selected test partners, identified materials to be cataloged, crafted questions for various survey instruments, drafted evaluative factors, and analyzed test data—all to demonstrate whether the results were commensurate with goals RDA developers set for the code.

Go to source: