International Association of Scientific and Technological University Libraries

IATUL News Alerts

Archive September 2014

Does Discovery Still Happen in the Library? Roles and Strategies for a Shifting Reality

Monday, 29 September 2014 3:31:28 p.m.

In the age of the ubiquitous single search box, what role do libraries play in the discovery of scholarly resources?

In this Issue Brief, Roger Schonfeld explores how the vision that the library should be the starting point for research—a vision many library directors hold—is often in conflict with the practices of faculty and students.  As users migrate to other starting points, librarians could invest in ways to bring them back. But there is also an opportunity for librarians to re-think their role and perhaps pursue a different vision altogether.

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A Scalable and Sustainable Approach to Open Access

Monday, 29 September 2014 3:26:19 p.m.

As the open education resources (OER) movement continues to evolve - most recently through high-profile university MOOCs and distributed open collaborative courses (DOCCs), as well as in nontraditional online educational opportunities such as those at Khan Academy and General Assembly - an even greater urgency arises for an open, sustainable scholarly information ecosystem. How can OERs succeed if the research and scholarship that students and faculty need to learn and teach is inaccessible?

In the 12 years since the Budapest Open Access (OA) Initiative launched the OA movement, we've made considerable strides toward widespread adoption of OA principles. Practice, however, has often lagged behind, as both credibility and business models have struggled to gain traction. The transition to OA from subscription-based scholarly society publishing operations in the humanities and social sciences (HSS) has been particularly difficult, for reasons that expose many current OA models' limitations:

  • in HSS, articles are not the only publication type of value or even the most valued type of publication;
  • external funding for research is minimal or nonexistent; and
  • HSS societies often consider their publications to be the primary benefit they offer their members and thus find it difficult to imagine how they might support their society's activities if current publishing operations change

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UK research secures new national data centre

Monday, 29 September 2014 3:22:38 p.m.

Research in the UK has been given a boost this week as specialist data centre provider, Infinity, has secured a five year framework agreement with Janet, the UK’s national research and education network, provided by Jisc.

The deal sees the creation of a Jisc data centre to support the requirements for academic research and will be the first shared data centre for medical and academic research in the UK. The funding of approximately £900,000 to make the facility happen has been provided by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

At launch, in September 2014, the Jisc data centre will house the IT of a consortium of six of the UK’s most successful scientific and academic organisations. 

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Digital 3D Content

Monday, 29 September 2014 3:18:43 p.m.

A digital 3D model is essentially a set of instructions, interpreted by a computer and displayed as an object which appears to have length, breadth and depth. Using sophisticated computing technologies, models can look ‘photorealistic’ – i.e. visually identical to real world objects. The technology is widespread and is used in videogames, architectural visualisations, movies and by industrial designers.

The digital 3D model is a virtual object which can be viewed from many different perspectives. In addition to being 'viewed' the 3D digital model can be used within digital simulations of real-world scenarios. For example, a digital aircraft model, when used with appropriate simulation software, will display similar aerodynamic properties as an actual, physical aeroplane. Another example, seen by a large number of people, is where the Met Office create 3D digital models of predicted weather patterns.

3D digital models can also be ‘printed out’ as real, tangible objects in a process known as 3D printing. In addition to enabling the creation of novel designs, 3D printing means fragile original objects can be digitised and their 'printed' copies displayed instead. This technique, which theoretically allows infinite duplication of real world things, promises significant impact on museum and special research collections. The limitations of viewing 3D information on 2D monitor screens are also being overcome. Technologies such as Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality represent powerful new methods to help us engage with digital 3D content.

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Is There a Serials Crisis Yet? Between Chicken Little and the Grasshopper | Peer to Peer Review

Monday, 29 September 2014 3:11:25 p.m.

Summer lets me teach my favorite course, the rundown of what’s going on with several publishing industries and how libraries are riding the rapids. (It’s actually a course in environmental awareness and handling change, but such skills are much easier to teach given a concrete context in which to exercise them.) As I tore through syllabus and lecture revisions earlier this month to clear time for other necessary work, I found a few spare milliseconds to wonder whether the serials crisis, which hasn't felt like an immediate,all-hands-on-deck crisis in some time,might finally be heating up into one. Into many, really; the localized nature of serials pricing means that crises hit consortia and individual libraries at varying times, not all of academic librarianship at once.

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Going beyond data management planning: Comprehensive research data services

Monday, 29 September 2014 3:07:47 p.m.


The number of academic libraries offering research data management services increased dramatically after the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced that all funding proposals from 2011 onward must include a data management plan (DMP). Motivated by this NSF requirement, DMP-related outreach, training, and consultation has become a core service offered by many libraries. However, because most researchers do not receive federal funding that requires creation of a DMP, a focus on providing DMP services serves to ignore the majority of campus researchers. Therefore, DMP services should be only one component of a more comprehensive research data services program designed to meet the needs of a larger researcher population.

Making DMP services the pinnacle of a library’s research data services program can reinforce the idea that most researchers, at least those in the sciences, receive federal funding that requires submission of a DMP and adherence to requirements for data accessibility.

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Net Neutrality Principles

Wednesday, 3 September 2014 10:00:50 a.m.

On July 10, 2014, ARL along with 10 other higher education and library organizations released a joint set of Net Neutrality Principles they recommend form the basis of an upcoming Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decision to protect the openness of the Internet. The groups believe network neutrality protections are essential to protecting freedom of speech, educational achievement, and economic growth.

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Research Libraries in the 2020 Landscape at LIBER 2014

Wednesday, 3 September 2014 9:58:04 a.m.

This year’s annual LIBER Conference took place in Riga, at the newly opened National Library of Latvia. In addition to dozens of papers from members of the research library communities of Europe (and sometimes beyond), there was a series of keynote and plenary talks by invited speakers, to set the tone for, or reflect upon the established themes of the conference.

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Stop the deluge of science research

Wednesday, 3 September 2014 9:55:51 a.m.

The increasing pace of human discovery is a curse – we need to rethink what it means to publish the results of research.

The rapid growth of scientific literature is often seen as evidence, if evidence were needed, that the pace of human discovery is accelerating. On the contrary, however, it is becoming a curse – one that requires us to radically rethink what it means to publish the results of

Relentlessly – day after day, year after year – scientists are uncovering new facts about the world. If anything, the startling rate at which this happens appears to be increasing, but how would we know if such an impression was true? One way is to look at the rate at which scientific papers are published and these have indeed been appearing at an ever-increasing rates for decades or even centuries.

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Nearly 50 Signatories Ask Elsevier to Withdraw TDM Policy

Wednesday, 3 September 2014 9:52:15 a.m.

At the beginning of July, LIBER and 17 other research and library organisations across Europe called on Elsevier to withdraw its current policy on text and data mining (TDM).

The number of signatories to the letter now totals 38 organisations, plus individual researchers, professors and librarians. All signatories are listed in the third release of our letter.

The letter explains why we believe that Elsevier’s current TDM policy places unnecessary restrictions on researchers by limiting their ability, and their right, to mine content to which they have legal access.

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