Digital Scholarship @ The Libraries

Inspiring innovative digital scholarship at the OSU Libraries and beyond

Month: October 2013

OSU Libraries Lecture on Transnational Literate Lives


Transnational Literate Lives: Stories of Lives in Digital Times
A Lecture by Distinguished Professor Cynthia Selfe
Thompson Library Room 165
Monday, November 4, 2013

Light refreshments provided

Please join the Ohio State University Libraries for a lecture from Humanities Distinguished Professor, Dr. Cynthia Selfe, on the co-authored, born-digital work, Transnational Literate Lives in Digital Times, designed “to document how people outside and within the United States take up digital literacies and fold them into the fabric of their daily lives.”

This work of scholarship incorporates textual, audio, and video narratives to form the book length project accessible online from publisher Computers and Composition Digital Press. This event is sponsored by the Ohio State University Libraries Global Crossroads Steering Group.

OA Week: Four questions with Joe Donnermeyer, editor of the International Journal of Rural Criminology

Editor’s Note: As part of our celebration of Open Access Week, we are posting brief interviews with editors of OA journals who are part of the OSU or Ohio community. Read the previous interviews with Lynn Elfner, acting editor of the Ohio Journal of Science, and George Billman, editor of Frontiers in Physiology.

Today’s interview is with Joe Donnermeyer, Professor in the School of Environment and Natural Resources, editor of the International Journal of Rural Criminology (IJRC), and co-editor of the Journal of Amish and Plan Anabaptist Studies (JAPAS), both of which are published the the OSU Libraries Publishing Program. We asked Joe to answer a few questions about his experience launching and editing IJRC.

Q: How did you come to edit the International Journal of Rural Criminology?

A: The International Journal of Rural Criminology filled a great need in the area of criminology, especially criminology in the U.S.  U.S. criminology is very biased to crime as expressed in an urban context, yet, there is plenty of evidence that rural communities have as much crime, if not more for certain types of offending, than urban America.  Gradually, during the 1990s and the first years of this new century, a growing cadre of criminology scholars turned their attention to rural criminology subject matter. Hence, the establishment of IJRC in 2011 seemed liked the “right time” and the Knowledge Bank seemed like the “right place.”

Q: How is open access viewed in your field? Did you have any concerns about editing an OA journal?

A: There are many journals in criminology, and most scholars recognize the dual challenges associated with the rigorous standards of the top-ranked journals, and the “office politics” and cronyism necessary to have one’s manuscript seriously considered by the editor.  Given the number of specializations in criminology, there are a host of very rigorous journals in terms of standards for publication, but not ranked as highly because their subject matter is more specialized, hence, a smaller network of scholars cite the publications.  Some of these are online journals, or, are “hard copy” journals which have now turned to online publication in order to be competitive and attract scholars who desire more rapid publication of their work in response to the demands for promotion and tenure at their universities.

Q: Has the openness of IJRC benefited it? Have you had any interesting interactions with readers who would not have had access to it otherwise?

A: In my field of rural criminology, open access is a big benefit, and in two ways.  It provides a focused or centralized outlet for rural-related criminology work, and it strengthens the international network of scholars who are interested in rural criminology topics.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to share about the journal or about open access publishing?

A: Open access journals, like the International Journal of Rural Criminology, do not function effectively without good cooperation between the editor and reviewers/editorial board, and the editor and the staff who administer the journal’s repository.  Foremost to effective cooperation is a shared attitude or ethos given to the importance of advancing and/or improving scholarship.

OA Week: Four questions with George Billman, editor of Frontiers in Physiology

Editor’s Note: As part of our celebration of Open Access Week, we plan to post brief ‘interviews’ with editors of OA journals who are part of the OSU or Ohio community. The first interview was with Lynn Elfner, acting editor of the Ohio Journal of Science.

Today’s mini-interview is with Dr. George Billman, a professor in the Department of Physiology and Cell Biology at the College of Medicine, and the editor-in-chief of Frontiers in Physiology. The journal is published by Frontiers, a “community-oriented open-access academic publisher and research network.” Frontiers uses a ‘tiering’ system that consists of broad ‘field’ journals, with sub-speciality journals within them. Frontiers in Physiology is the field journal, and its specialty sections range from Fractal Physiology to Systems Biology. Frontiers recently formed a partnership with the Nature Publishing Group to handle its open access publishing.

Q: How did you come to edit for Frontiers?

A: I was approached in 2009 by the President of Frontiers, who asked if I would be interested in applying for the position of editor of a new journal they were getting ready to launch. I wasn’t very aware about Open Access, so I was skeptical at first. After talking with colleagues in neuroscience, however, I found that Frontiers in Neuroscience was becoming one of the top journals in the field. After talking with the people at Frontiers about their philosophy and their expectations, I decided to apply, and was selected. It’s caused me to become an advocate for Open Access.

Q: How is Open Access viewed in your field? Did you have any concerns about editing an Open Access journal? 

A: The NIH requires researchers to archive the publications that result from their grant funded projects, and they have been pushing for instant Open Access, but they are getting pushback from publishers and professional societies. The American Physiological Society is dependent on subscription and page charge fees, so they follow a hybrid, fee-based OA model where authors can pay extra to make their articles open. They also make all articles older than one year Open Access.

In physiology, most investigators and research scientists don’t know much about OA, but when they hear about it, they think it’s a good idea. The people who resist are those involved in publishing, and the senior management of the societies.

Q: Has the openness of the journal benefited it? Have you had any interesting interactions with readers who would not have had access to the research otherwise?

The journal is still growing, but word is starting to get out. We have had over 950 papers published, and we are seeing increasing momentum. It is being read predominantly in the US and Europe, but we also see usage in Africa, South America, New Zealand, Asia, Russia.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to share about the journal or about Open Access publishing?

A: Junior scholars do need to be careful with Open Access publishing, but they also need to be careful with print. Bottom line, they need to make sure that the journal they are looking at is legit and not a vanity press.

Frontiers is unique in that it allows the ability to track the response to articles, rather than just throwing them up online and forgetting about them. We are also experimenting with non-anonymous peer review, open peer review, and social media-type interaction.

OA Week: Four questions with Lynn Elfner, editor of the Ohio Journal of Science

Editor’s Note: As part of our celebration of Open Access Week, we plan to post brief ‘interviews’ with editors of OA journals who are part of the OSU or Ohio community. If you know someone who edits an OA journal, and would like to see them recognized here, email me.

OASlogoOur first mini-interview is with Lynn Elfner, the CEO Emeritus of the Ohio Academy of Science, and the acting editor-in-chief of the Ohio Journal of Science (OJS). OJS is a peer-reviewed journal covering all fields of science, that has been in publication for more than a century. This year, Dr. Elfner led the journal in changing from a traditional, subscription-access model, to a ‘hybrid’ Open Access model. Here, we have asked him a few questions about the reasons for that change, and how it has worked so far.

Q: Why did you decide to switch the Ohio Journal of Science to a hybrid OA publishing model?

A: We felt that going to Open Access would speed up publication; it’s frustrating to do a print-only journal that gets published at the rate of the slowest author(s). The most significant benefit of Open Access for The Ohio Journal of Science is that it is also available very quickly on the Knowledge Bank. We also expect to realize some cost savings in printing and postage.

Q: How is open access viewed in your field? Did you have any concerns about the impact of the switch on the journal?

Probably mixed. Our basic concern is whether our new financial model will work. We’ve increased our page charges and redesigned the pages to make it easier to read online.

Q: Have you seen benefits from making the journal content freely available online immediately upon publication?

It’s too early to tell but nobody has complained.

Q: Any interesting interactions with readers who would not have had access to it otherwise?

No. All is quiet. It’s been difficult to explain the change to subscription agencies and librarians. This is partly our fault.

Thank you to Dr. Elfner for answering our questions!

Free Webinar to Kick Off Open Access Week 2013

Editor’s Note: We will feature Open Access-related content on the blog all week to celebrate International Open Access Week. Keep an eye on the ‘OA Week‘ tag to see more.

For six years now the OSU Libraries has set aside time, first one day and now a full week, to recognize open access publishing issues and initiatives.   We’ve hosted some lively debates and thought-provoking workshops.  This year we will be highlighting a few national programs and discussions.

OAweekLogoOn Monday, October 21, SPARC (The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) and the World Bank will kick start Open Access Week with a 60-minute panel discussion, Open Access: Redefining Impact.  Panelists will discuss changing methods for measuring scholarly output.

The session will be recorded so you can choose to join it live or view at your convenience.  The event is scheduled to begin at 3:00pm (Eastern).  A list of panelists and instructions for accessing the webcast are available on the event website.

By the way, if you are new to the concept of open access or need a quick overview to use when explaining it to others, Peter Suber’s Brief Introduction will probably do the trick.

— Lynda Hartel

Innovation Grant Report: Digital Exhibits Pilot Project

Editor’s Note: You may remember the King James Bible exhibit from three early posts on this blog: A curator steps from the analog to the digitalPiloting a new platform for digital exhibits, and Developing the King James Bible digital exhibit. This post introduces the final report from the project that created the exhibit.

The exhibits pilot innovation grant project was a partnership of three departments, Digital Content Services (formerly SRI), Rare Books and Manuscripts, and the Web Implementation Team (now Applications, Development and Support). The Preservation and Reformatting Department (Amy McCrory) and the Copyright Resources Center (Sandra Enimil) were also heavily involved. The grant was “to develop a new model for creating and delivering digital exhibits at the Libraries.” The project was developmental in scope, and the specific goals were to create a polished digital version of a physical exhibit, and to gather information about what would be required to develop an exhibits program in the Libraries.

The King James Bible exhibit, curated by Eric Johnson, is indeed a polished exhibit.  We learned a great deal from working on it, such as the need to create a glossary of terms as reference for all people on the project.  We also identified the strengths and weaknesses of the Omeka software for our environment. The research into what it would take to build a sustainable program took many forms.  We looked at existing digital exhibits at OSUL, as well as curator expectations for exhibit functionality, and the use of Omeka at other institutions.  We tracked information on the time it took to create the exhibit.

What’s next?  The report is done and has been given to the Executive Committee.  The suggestions in the report are just that – suggestions.  We were not charged to develop a program.  We applied for funding to explore the possibilities; the report is what we discovered.  It is also worth noting that the environment has changed since the report was written.  Most important, is that the Libraries have hired an Exhibits Coordinator.  However, many of you have expressed interest in our results.  The report is posted on the Digital Exhibits Subcommittee web site (docx).  Happy reading!  …and, of course, we welcome your comments. –thc

Science Article on Open Access Journals

Old news.  I refer to the article “Who’s Afraid of Peer Review?”  by John Bohannon published today in Science.  The article is described as “A spoof paper concocted by Science reveals little or no scrutiny at many open-access journals.”  That statement is true.  However, it is also true that traditional publishers have been found to lack scrutiny as well.

Bohannon did confer with a small group of scientists.  He reports that some say “that the open-access model itself is not to blame for the poor quality control revealed by Science‘s investigation.”  For me, that is the salient point.  Whether articles are open access or not is independent of quality peer review.  The benefits of making research available for other researchers to read and build upon outweigh the rogue publishers, or instances of shoddy peer review.  Traditional methods of publishing were developed to make science more accessible.  Open access extends that goal.  The issue now, for us in academia, is to teach others how to evaluate critically the quality of research in an article, however delivered.

Just keep swimming

When my two boys were small, well, smaller than they are now, they were both in love with Finding Nemo.  For years, every time we visited a pet store, aquarium, or body of water – we had to go out of our way to try and find Dory or Nemo.  The kids loved the characters, but they also loved quoting from the movie.

Me: “Dinners ready”
Son2: I didn’t know you could speak whale.
laugher…followed by different whale dialects

Or a personal favorite – Fish are friends, not food.  Lots of fun.

So what does Finding Nemo have to do with digital initiatives?  To this day, one of my favorite parts of the movie is the song Dory sings when Marlin, the clown fish, feels ready to give up.  She tells him to just keep swimming.  I like that, because in a lot of ways, I think that it reflects the place where libraries and librarians are as we’ve transitioned into a digital world.  I was thinking about it recently – at some point over the past decade, we transitioned to a point where most cultural heritage and research data is born digital.  And while that transition brings with it lots of benefits…the expansion of interdisciplinary research, a democratization of information, a lowering of barriers to information access…it has come with a number of challenges unique to digital data as well.  Libraries, for example, haven’t traditionally dealt with things like format obsolescence, because information written on stone thousands of years ago, or vellum hundreds of years ago, or paper in the last decade are just as accessible today as they were when they were produced (save for issues around things like condition and  fragility).  Grab yourself a 5 ½ in floppy disc from 25 years ago, a ZIP disc from 10, or an HD DVD from a few years ago and you are likely going to have trouble finding a device that can read the data, let alone an application that can open it.  I sometimes get asked what keeps me up at night – it’s the thought that this might be the first generation that is just a hard drive crash away from losing large swaths of cultural heritage information simply because research data isn’t replicated and copied the same way anymore.  And the sad reality is that most libraries simply aren’t in a position to provide long-term data security as well.

It can be daunting – but like Dory – the library community keeps on swimming.  This week, I’ve been up in Cleveland attending Hydra Camp.  It’s one of the dozens of research projects that libraries and librarians are leading to look at the long-term viability of our preservation systems.  It’s exciting work, but one of dozens of projects like DSpace, Omeka, Zotero, LOCKS, the Digital Preservation Network, etc. that librarians are participating in, shaping, and leading to protect our digital future.  It is exciting – the kind of work that reminds me why I’ve stayed in academia and at research libraries – it’s a view of libraries and librarians actively taking back their role as caretakers of the cultural records and flexing their muscles as researchers in their own right.  As we talk about the digital initiatives program at The Ohio State Library, much of the discussion rightly falls around the nuts and bolts of providing an environment that supports the Libraries’ ability to support discovery, preservation, etc.; and by and large, this is how people will judge the success of the program.  However, I think equally important will be The OSU Libraries’ ability to become an active partner not just in the larger library research community; but in how we support and encourage innovative research and development within The OSU Libraries.



Open Access Week 2013

International Open Access Week 2013 is October 21-27, and we will be publishing a lot of related content on this blog. Stay tuned to the OA Week tag