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Results/findings from research reports

North American academic libraries struggle to meet demand for non-English language content, says new report
- 08 Dec 2017

Academic libraries are struggling to meet a rising demand for non-English language content, according to new survey results published by ProQuest. Rising international student enrolments and the popularity of programs that use foreign language content are increasing the importance of foreign language materials in library collections, yet more than a third of respondents say they are falling short in making these resources available to students, faculty and researchers.

ProQuest surveyed more than 177 academic librarians in North America to assess trends in non-English language collection development. Among the survey's findings: budget and expertise are common hurdles North American libraries face in meeting users' needs for non-English language content. Libraries struggle to justify the expense of content that will be used by a small number of users and unless they have the relevant language skills, they find it challenging to select materials that address researchers' needs.

According to the report, the greatest unmet content needs are in Chinese, Arabic and Spanish languages. Technological shortfalls hinder users' access to non-English language materials. Librarians commented that researchers struggle with 'unreliable formats and downloads' as well as the lack of 'language interface to do searches.' Content can be 'lost in a sea of English, on English-only platforms, with English-only licensing agreements.' Diverse non-English language content types are in demand, including newspapers, video, journals and ebooks.

Among the top digital formats, 31% of libraries would like to offer non-English language frontlist ebooks, but currently do not. Comparatively, only 25% of libraries currently offer non-English language frontlist ebooks.

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New Nature Index data indicates surge in collaboration as businesses outsource discovery to academia
- 07 Dec 2017

New data from the Nature Index show that as corporations have scaled back their own in-house research, there has been a surge in collaboration with academic and government research bodies, as they look to share the burden of scientific discovery. These findings are featured in the recently published Nature Index 2017 Science Inc. supplement, which investigates corporate institutions' changing role in science, how the academic research landscape is evolving as a result, and the costs and benefits of these shifting arrangements to high-quality research.

Previous research has shown that the long-term decline in corporate scientific output - evident across every industrial sector, from electronics to telecommunications to pharmaceutical industry - has coincided with a reducing investment in research. Between 1980 and 2006, the share of corporate investment in basic and applied research in the United States, as a proportion of total research and development funding, shrank from 26% to 22%. According to researchers at Duke University, in 1980 the average US corporation published 29 papers a year in the Web of Science database, but by 2006 this had fallen to 12 papers.

However, while overall corporate research output has declined, data from the Nature Index show that the number of partnerships between businesses and academic or government institutions in the index has more than doubled over the past five years, from 12,672 connections in 2012 to 25,962 in 2016. Over the same period, close to 90% of the papers that corporations authored in journals included in the Nature Index were in collaboration with researchers in academic or government labs.

According to the supplement, this shift towards corporate-academic collaboration could help broaden the reach of scientific research, as well as improve academic productivity. An analysis of the high-quality papers tracked by the index showed that academic publications were more likely to attract public attention if they included a corporate co-author, as measured by their Altmetric Attention Score, which tracks discussion around published papers including news articles, policy documents and blog and social media posts.

At the same time, as corporate-academic collaborations are on the rise, academic institutions themselves are becoming increasingly focused on applied research. American universities are filing patents at an increasing rate, from 2,266 in 1996 to 5,990 in 2014. The number of university-spawned start-ups nearly doubled from around 400 in 2001 to nearly 760 in 2013. Compared to a decade ago, more patents also cite more science and engineering literature, but only a small fraction of the cited articles are authored by corporations.

Data from the Nature Index over the five year period between 2012 and 2016 also show which countries are the leading sources of corporate high-quality research, as well as the countries where businesses are contributing the most in terms of countries' overall output.

US corporations represent almost half (49.25%) of all global corporate research tracked by the Nature Index. Japan is second, with a 10.65% share, followed by the UK (6.07%), China (5.03%) and Germany (4.99%).

Switzerland, with its leading pharmaceutical companies, has the highest corporate share of total country output at 3.73%. Japan again is second at 3.34%, followed by South Korea at 3.18%. In the United States this figure is 2.76%, and the UK 1.83%.

The top performing corporate institutions for high-quality science for the five-year period from 2012 to 2016 are listed in the supplement's tables. IBM Corporation, the American technology giant, is first globally, followed by Swiss pharmaceutical companies F Hoffmann-La Roche AG (second) and Novartis International AG (third). South Korea's Samsung Group is fourth, followed by Pfizer Inc., Merck&Co., Inc. and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT), the highest entry from Japan, respectively. Two British pharmaceutical companies, GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK) (eight) and AstraZenica plc (ninth), and Amgen Inc. from the US, complete the top ten.

The supplement also shows the most productive corporate-academic collaborations, ordered by their bilateral collaboration score between 2012 and 2016. Novartis' partnerships with the University of Basel and Harvard University are first and third respectively. The partnership between South Korea's Samsung and Sungkyunkwan University is second, and BGI in China and the University of Copenhagen is fourth.

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37% of UK research outputs freely available immediately at the time of publication, says new report
- 06 Dec 2017

The Universities UK Open Access Coordination Group has released a report, according to which, the proportion of UK research which is available via open access is increasing at a considerable rate, with 37% of research outputs freely available to the world immediately at publication.

This report, Monitoring the transition to open access: December 2017, is the second in a series commissioned by the Universities UK Open Access Coordination Group. It aims to build on previous findings, and to examine trends over the period since the major funders of research in the UK established new policies to promote open access.

The research was delivered by a partnership involving Research Consulting, the University of Sheffield and Elsevier, and was led by Jubb Consulting.

According to the report, more than half of UK-authored articles are made accessible for public view within 12 months, either through Gold or Green OA. 37% of UK outputs (vs. 25% globally) are freely available to the world immediately on publication, either through Gold or Green OA.

Further, the report notes that the proportion of UK-authored articles published open access rose from 12% in 2012 to 30% in 2016, an annual growth rate of over 30% sustained throughout the period. The global proportion of articles accessible for public view after 12 months via Gold or Green OA rose from 25% to 32% between 2012 and 2016; and the UK proportion rose from 37% to 54%

The proportion of journals indexed in Scopus that offer immediate OA is rising, with over 60% of journals offering the option in 2016. OA articles are downloaded from publishers' sites more than non-OA articles, says the report.

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COAR publishes Behaviours and Technical Recommendations of the COAR Next Generation Repositories Working Group report
- 30 Nov 2017

The Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR) has published the report, Behaviours and Technical Recommendations of the COAR Next Generation Repositories Working Group.

In April 2016, COAR launched the Next Generation Repository Working Group to identify new functionalities and technologies for repositories. This report presents the results of the work of this group, including recommendations for the adoption of new technologies, standards, and protocols that will help repositories become more integrated into the web environment and enable them to play a larger role in the scholarly communication ecosystem.

The report notes that the current system for disseminating research, which is dominated by commercial publishers, is far from ideal. In an economic sense, prices for both subscriptions and APCs are over-inflated and will likely continue to rise at unacceptable rates. Additionally, there are significant inequalities in the international publishing system both in terms of access and participation. The incentives built into the system, which oblige researchers to publish in traditional publishing venues, perpetuate these problems and greatly stifle the ability to evolve and innovate.

COAR believes that the globally distributed network of more than 3000 repositories can be leveraged to create a more sustainable and innovative system for sharing and building on the results of research. Collectively, repositories can provide a comprehensive view of the research of the whole world, while also enabling each scholar and institution to participate in the global network of scientific and scholarly enquiry. Building additional services such as standardised usage metrics, peer review and social networking on top of a trusted global network of repositories has the potential to offer a viable alternative.

The vision underlying the work of Next Generation Repositories is to position repositories as the foundation for a distributed, globally networked infrastructure for scholarly communication, on top of which layers of value added services will be deployed, thereby transforming the system, making it more research-centric, open to and supportive of innovation, while also collectively managed by the scholarly community.

An important component of this vision is that repositories will provide access to a wide variety of research outputs, creating the conditions whereby a greater diversity of contributions to the scholarly record will be accessible, and also formally recognised in research assessment processes.

COAR's vision is aligned with others, such as MIT's Future of Libraries Report and Lorcan Dempsey's notion of the "inside-out" library, that are defining a new role of libraries in the 21st century. This future involves a shift away from libraries purchasing content for their local users, towards libraries curating and sharing with the rest of the world the research outputs produced at their institution. COAR's mission is to ensure that, as libraries and research organisations invest in and enhance their local services, they adopt common standards and functionalities that will allow them to participate in the global network. The recommendations provided in this report will contribute to the transition towards this new role for repositories and libraries.

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New Digital Science report reveals potential behind blockchain technology for scholarly communication and research
- 28 Nov 2017

Global technology company Digital Science has released a landmark report titled - Blockchain for Research - Perspectives on a New Paradigm for Scholarly Communication. The report offers a perspective on blockchain technology and how it could impact scholarly communication and research. It also features views from global industry experts on how future technologies in the scholarly arena will be impacted by blockchain technology.

In support of this new technology, Digital Science is offering a special Catalyst Grant of up to $30,000 / 25,000 specifically aimed at blockchain technologies in the scholarly arena.

Blockchain is a revolutionary technology that has the promise to radically change many industries. This report zooms in on its potential to transform scholarly communication and research, focusing on important initiatives in this field. The report highlights how blockchain technology can touch many critical aspects of scholarly communication, such as transparency, open science, and reproducibility.

The report includes an introduction into 'What is blockchain technology?'; a discussion around the challenges in scholarly communication including the reproducibility crisis, correctly assigning credit and the peer review process; thoughts on how blockchain technology can be applied to certain activities such as managing research and data, disseminating content, offering new metrics and supporting alternative economic models; latest examples and initiatives of how blockchain technology is currently being utilised in the scholarly arena; and a look to the future of blockchain technology for scholarly communication&research.

The report, written and produced by Dr. Joris van Rossum, includes interviews with industry experts including Dr. Soenke Bartling, a German radiologist and founder of Blockchain for Science; Eefke Smit, Director, Standards and Technology, International Association of STM Publishers; and Prof. Dr. Philipp Sandner is Head of the Frankfurt School Blockchain Center at the Frankfurt School of Finance&Management.

The report is available for download on Figshare.

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