"Peter Suber is the Director of the Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication (OSC), Director of the Harvard Open Access Project (HOAP), a Faculty Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, and Senior Researcher at the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC). He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and a J.D., both from Northwestern University, sits on the boards of many groups devoted to open access (OA) and scholarly communication, and has been active in promoting open access for more than a decade through his research, speaking, and writing. His most recent book is Open Access (MIT Press 2012), which Choice named an Outstanding Academic Title for 2013."
"A few months ago, I gave up the commercial hosting service I used for my professional website in favor of a small company known as Reclaim Hosting. Reclaim Hosting comes out of the groundbreaking Domain of One’s Own project from the University of Mary Washington, which gives all UMW faculty, staff, and students their own domains and associates them with a college webserver. Reclaim Hosting, run by Jim Groom, Tim Owens, and Lauren Brumfield, is giving the commercial hosting services a serious run for their money with plans that start from $25/year for individuals and $45/year for users needing multiple domains–seriously, the best prices I have found on the the Internet."
"With greater numbers of historians making contributions to scholarship through digital means, the discipline must grow to encompass the variety of formats and media available in the rapidly evolving digital environment.
We can only do so by giving proper credit for work on digital projects that contribute to historical knowledge. To encourage these developments in our discipline the AHA has published Guidelines for the Professional Evaluation of Digital Scholarship by Historians.
The guidelines encourage departments to evaluate such work on its scholarly merits: “Work done by historians using digital methodologies or media for research, pedagogy, or communication should be evaluated for hiring, promotion, and tenure on its scholarly merit and the contribution that work makes to the discipline through research, teaching, or service.” When there are good reasons for presenting historical scholarship in new formats or media, scholars should be encouraged to do so."
"Like most breakups, those between higher education and the academics who choose to leave it typically happen quietly. But as in romance, sometimes these breakups become very public affairs -- usually when an academic decides to reflect on the decision in a blog or other medium. The genre, called “quit lit,” has been around for several years, at least according to social media. And it’s enjoying a resurgence of sorts, thanks to some recent high-profile Dear John letters.
Oliver Lee Bateman, an assistant professor of history at the University of Texas at Arlington, attracted lots of attention this week with his Vox column called “I have one of the best jobs in academia. Here’s why I’m walking away.”"
"The present report examines policies and strategies that aim to foster open access (OA) and discusses how OA policies are monitored and enforced. The analysis is supported by findings from the literature on the global progression of OA since 1996, and comments on themes and debates that have emerged from the OA movement."
"Central to the ongoing success of the liaison model is the need for liaison librarians to stay informed and up-to-date about recent developments in the subject areas of their assigned academic departments and programs. This article describes an exploratory study conducted to determine whether information obtained from the social media accounts of discipline-based scholarly associations can be used by liaison librarians as a no-cost expedient method of staying informed and up-to-date. The results of the study provide insights into the disciplines and associations that are using social media, the social media platforms that associations are using, the quantity and type of information that associations are posting, and the potential for liaisons to use the information as a means of staying current and up-to-date in their assigned subject areas. "
"Academic social networking (ASN) sites are becoming a popular communication medium among scholars. This case study was designed to explore communication behaviors of physicists, linguists, and sociologists on an ASN site called Academia.edu, their motivations for using it, and the perceived impact of their use of the site on their professional activities. Results from this study are valuable for designing computer-mediated and web-based communication media for scholars and also for adding richness to the literature related to scholarly communication. For the purpose of this study, data was collected using three different instruments: Server log, survey, and interview. Data used for analyses included a total of 20,309 server log data, 267 survey responses, and 28 interviews from scholars of Physics, Sociology, and Linguistics who use Academia.edu. Results from the study showed that the use of Academia.edu is dependent on the discipline scholars are affiliated with, their professional status, and the time of the year. Unlike physicists, linguists and sociologists are more inclined to using Academia.edu and other ASN sites. Although linguists and sociologists actively use Academia.edu, their motivations to use the site are different. These differences in user-motivations and user-activities across the disciplines are influenced by variations in the social and cultural practices of the disciplines. This study used Whitley’s (2000) theory of degrees of mutual dependence and task uncertainty to explain the differences in the adoption and use of Academia.edu across the three disciplines."
"Peer review has been with humans for a long time. Its effective inception dates back to World War II resulting information overload, which imposed a quantitative and qualitative screening of publications. Peer review was beset by a number of accusations and critics largely from the biases and subjective aspects of the process including the secrecy in which the processes became standard. Advent of the Internet in the early 1990s provided a manner to open peer review up to make it more transparent, less iniquitous, and more objective. This chapter investigates whether this openness led to a more objective manner of judging scientific publications. Three sites are examined: Electronic Transactions on Artificial Intelligence (ETAI), Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP), and Faculty of 1000 (F1000). These sites practice open peer review wherein reviewers and authors and their reviews and rebuttals are available for all to see. The chapter examines the different steps taken to allow reviewers and authors to interact and how this allows for the entire community to participate. This new prepublication reviewing of papers has to some extent, alleviated the biases that were previously preponderant and, furthermore, seems to give positive results and feedback. Although recent, experiences seem to have elicited scientists’ acceptance because openness allows for a more objective and fair judgment of research and scholarship. Yet, it will undoubtedly lead to new questions which are examined in this chapter."
"Increasingly, in both the health sector and beyond, we have expectations that those making important decisions will consider and apply research evidence to inform what they do – be that public policy, program and health service delivery, or individual practice. The underlying logic for this expectation being of course that good research generates important and valuable knowledge – and that when this knowledge is applied it leads to better and/or more efficient policy and program decisions.
Concurrently, many now have the also growing expectation that publicly funded research will offer some practical ‘real-world’ relevance and value – beyond that of merely generating interesting insights. Thus research funders, research institutions and researchers themselves increasingly expect that research findings will, ultimately at least, contribute towards social, material, health or technological improvements. Indeed much of the current discourse and analysis of what we mean by research ‘impacts’ have been reflected in the LSE Impact blog. As a result, indicators of post-research impacts have been considered and trialled as measures of the overall merits and value of funded research. At the same time, the epistemological and practical implications of this have also been challenged."
"Many historians and even some scientists argue that we are living in the Anthropocene, a new epoch characterized by the human control of the biosphere. Next year the International Geological Congress will consider recognizing this name as the latest addition to the standard geological time scales.
My reaction, echoing the Romans: Festina lente. Make haste slowly."
"There is a growing rift between those who believe the library’s most fundamental purpose is to support and advance the goals of its host institution and those who believe the library’s most important role is as an agent of progress and reform in the larger world of scholarly communication. Although these two areas of endeavor are not mutually exclusive, they are in competition for scarce resources and the choices made between them have serious implications at both the micro level (for the patrons and institutions served by each library) and the macro level (for members of the larger academic community). The tension between these two worldviews is creating friction within librarianship itself: as tightening budgets increasingly force us to choose between worthy programs and projects, there is growing conflict between those whose choices reflect one worldview and those who hold to the other. How this conflict plays out over the next few years may have significant implications for the scholars who depend on libraries for access to research content and for the publishers and other vendors for whom libraries are a core customer base.
I would like to begin by giving away the ending. The culture war that I believe is currently brewing in research libraries is between two general schools of thought: the first sees the research library’s most fundamental and important mission as serving the scholarly needs of its institution’s students, scholars and researchers; the second sees the research library’s most fundamental and important mission as changing the world of scholarly communication for the better."
"I cannot “just” show them the databases because there are so many layers of destruction inherent in my process of pointing, clicking, and narrating. I am not demonstrating how students can find a scholarly article, I am demonstrating how profoundly students are marginalized from academic knowledge production. I am not identifying aspects of peer review, I am silencing all non-academic voices–including the students’. I am not modeling good search strategies, I am erasing myself as a teacher.
Databases embody the exclusionary nature of academic discourse. Students are on the outside, in search boxes, using natural language that the database most likely won’t understand. On the inside of the databases are millions of articles written by experts. Undergraduates cannot even begin to fathom their own ideas and writing being on the inside of a database. With search boxes and keywords as their only entry point, they are left to slog through vast amounts of information. The information they need is troublesome to locate because of language–both the language used to describe the articles themselves, and the academic insider language (jargon + argumentative structure) in which the articles are written.
The database demo–just showing them the databases–has bothered me for the entire time I’ve been a librarian. Lately I’ve been using James Gee’s ideas about Discourses to understand my angst. Basically, Gee says that we all receive at least one primary Discourse naturally as we grow up through socialization in the home and a peer group. This is our original sense of identity. From there, we can acquire secondary Discourses throughout our lives. There are many types of secondary Discourses, but what I’m addressing here are school-based academic Discourses. In higher education there are many different academic Discourses, usually based in disciplines, but there are also Discourses based in theoretical approaches that can be applied across disciplines."
"Silence AND (Power or Marginalization)
When silence is our rhetorical choice, we can use it purposefully and productively–
but when it is not our choice, but someone else’s for us, it can be insidious, particularly
when someone else’s choice for us comes in the shape of institutional structure. (264)
Glenn says that silence can be used in different ways by people in marginalized and powerful groups. Here, in terms of the academy, I’m going to discuss librarians as a marginalized group and subject faculty as a powerful group.
What I see happening is a vicious cycle of silenc*.
When powerful groups use silence to maintain their power: This happens when you pitch an idea to a faculty member (perhaps at a campus schmooze event), and they act at least mildly interested–and then when you follow up via email, they never respond. It happens when a faculty member books an instruction session but then refuses to engage in a discussion about what that session should look like. It happens when faculty members don’t accompany their classes to library instruction. There are a lot of examples, all frustrating. All of these silences serve to maintain a situation where subject faculty have absolute control over their students, their assignments, and (to a certain extent) the content of library instruction sessions."
"And here are the key figures: among those 9,824 journals, in 2014, 71.7% (call it 72%) did not charge APCs but 59.1% of the articles (down from 64%) were in journals that did charge APCs. The average APC per article for articles published in APC-charging journals was up slightly, to $1,086; that yields an overall average that’s actually down slightly at $609. (Part of the slight increase may be a shift from 2013 to 2014; part may be due to including more than three thousand additional journals.)"
"It’s no secret that science courses, particularly at the first- and second-year levels, can be dry. The classes are big, the content is wide but typically shallow, and professors often resort to lectures. There’s a lot of talk among science educators about how to make these courses more interesting, to attract students and retain them as majors, but much of the conversation thus far has focused on improving individual faculty members’ teaching. And that’s not a bad thing: one innovative teacher in a department is better than none.
But that approach relies more on a ripple effect than seeking to change the tide. And many faculty members at research universities report that they have a tough time getting higher-ups' attention for anything but research and securing grant money, making teaching a decidedly lower priority.
The Association of American Universities, a group of 62 leading public and private research institutions, wanted to do something about science education on a bigger scale. So in 2011, it launched the Undergraduate STEM Education Initiative to encourage systemic improvements to science education. As AAU program officers and other scholars wrote last month in a Nature article on revamping science education, the initiative is “based on understanding the wider setting in which educational innovations take place -- the department, the college, the university and the national level.” It “emphasizes the separate roles of senior university administrators (who can implement top-down change), individual faculty members (bottom-up change) and departments (change from the middle out), all of which are necessary for sustained institutional improvement to undergraduate STEM teaching and learning.”"
"AAU STEM Initiative
AAU has launched a five-year initiative in collaboration with our member universities to improve the quality of undergraduate teaching and learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. This is not another study or research project on STEM education. Instead, it is an effort based on overwhelming existing research to influence the culture of STEM departments at AAU universities so that faculty members are encouraged to use student-centered, evidence-based, active learning pedagogy in their classes, particularly at the first-year and sophomore levels."
"Automated methods for the analysis, modeling, and visualization of large-scale scientometric data provide measures that enable the depiction of the state of world scientific development. We aimed to integrate minimum span clustering (MSC) and minimum spanning tree methods to cluster and visualize the global pattern of scientific publications (PSP) by analyzing aggregated Science Citation Index (SCI) data from 1994 to 2011. We hypothesized that PSP clustering is mainly affected by countries' geographic location, ethnicity, and level of economic development, as indicated in previous studies. Our results showed that the 100 countries with the highest rates of publications were decomposed into 12 PSP groups and that countries within a group tended to be geographically proximal, ethnically similar, or comparable in terms of economic status. Hubs and bridging nodes in each knowledge production group were identified. The performance of each group was evaluated across 16 knowledge domains based on their specialization, volume of publications, and relative impact. Awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of each group in various knowledge domains may have useful applications for examining scientific policies, adjusting the allocation of resources, and promoting international collaboration for future developments."
"University libraries provide access to thousands of online journals and other content, spending millions of dollars annually on these electronic resources. Providing access to these online resources is costly, and it is difficult both to analyze the value of this content to the institution and to discern those journals that comparatively provide more value. In this research, we examine 1,510 journals from a large research university library, representing more than 40% of the university's annual subscription cost for electronic resources at the time of the study. We utilize a web analytics approach for the creation of a linear regression model to predict usage among these journals. We categorize metrics into two classes: global (journal focused) and local (institution dependent). Using 275 journals for our training set, our analysis shows that a combination of global and local metrics creates the strongest model for predicting full-text downloads. Our linear regression model has an accuracy of more than 80% in predicting downloads for the 1,235 journals in our test set. The implications of the findings are that university libraries that use local metrics have better insight into the value of a journal and therefore more efficient cost content management."
"Quantifying scholarly output via citation metrics is the time-honored method to gauge academic success. Altmetrics, or alternative citation metrics, provide researchers and scholars with new ways to track influence across evolving modes of scholarly communication. This article will give librarians an overview of new trends in measuring scholarly influence, introduce them to altmetrics tools, and encourage them to engage with researchers in discussion of these new metrics."
"If you were a satellite, you’d probably want to be DSCOVR. Unlike most of the junk floating around Earth’s orbit, this piece of flotsam doesn’t have to jostle for a position in an orbital commuter lane—DSCOVR just gets to hang out, chilling in a gravitationally neutral spot between the Earth and the Sun. While it’s there, it calmly waits for waves of solar particles to stream by, beaming back warnings to Earth when it catches them. And while it’s waiting around for those solar storms, it gets to take amazing pictures of its home planet. DSCOVR has the best view of Earth in the solar system—just check out this amazing shot of the moon passing in front of the Earth. "