Blogs selected for Week Nov 28 to Dec 4, 2016 -

1. Institutional Conservatism in Scholarly Communications: Thoughts from UKSG’s One-day Conference

A recent UKSG conference explored what researchers need from scholarly communications, and whether the provisions of publishers, libraries and others are keeping up. Once again, the biggest frustration is rooted not in publisher / library services but in institutional structures for recognition, notes Charlie Rapple, in her post in the Scholarly Kitchen Blog.

The blog post says (quote): Though not expressly on the agenda, open access (OA) and open science ran like threads through the day - one of the researcher panelists was a co-founder of the OA journal Studies in Arts and Humanities, the library speakers had collaborated to form an OA repository and press, the publisher speaker talked about re-usability of published research (look out for the imminent launch of the linked data platform from SpringerNature). You could take from this that open is mainstream, an established rather than evolving need, not something we needed to focus on specifically. On the other hand, Sabina Michnowicz talked about researchers having to fund OA from their own pockets, and Jane Winters lamented the institutional conservatism that means humanities scholars still consider OA too “risky” a model for communicating their work because it is conflated with a lack of rigorous peer review. The framing of the issues around open has moved on: a newcomer to their sector might have concluded from the discussions that it is institutions, not publishers, who are blocking progress towards open..…………… (unquote)

The full entry can be read Here.

2. Reproducibility: a Cinderella Problem

The reproducibility of research has been an increasingly important topic in the scholarly communication world for several years. Despite the academic world’s commitment to peer-review as part of the communication ecosystem, reproducibility - which might be seen as a form of in-depth peer-review - has never been treated as seriously, notes Mike Taylor, in his guest post in the Digital Science Blog.

The blog post says (quote): Problems relating to reproducibility are not going to be a universal experience, the different characteristics of different fields are as present here as in other aspects of research. A proof-based discipline, such as mathematics, requires a different approach from a probabilistic science, or from social sciences involving perhaps observations and conversation. Much of the research world has an inherent bias against integrating this more rigorous method of testing results. Journals are optimised to publish new or unique works: research output - as measured by published papers - is the key data by which researchers are measured, and funds are - broadly speaking - in favor of new research. In short: reproducibility is a Cinderella problem, in need of some attention and investment if it’s to flourish..…………… (unquote)

The full entry can be read Here.

3. Working with the media can be beneficial but linking to and citing your research should be compulsory

It’s great when academic research is covered by the media but too often this coverage fails to link back to or properly cite the research itself. It’s time academics insisted on this and Andy Tattersall, in The Impact Blog, outlines the benefits of doing so. As well as pointing more people to your work, the use of identifiers allows you to track this attention and scrutinise where and how your research has been used. At a time when academic work is vulnerable to misreporting, such a simple step can help ensure the public are able to view original research for themselves.

The blog post says (quote): Any academic knows that to cite another’s work in their own outputs they must cite it in the body text and add a reference to the research pointing readers to this supporting work. Students are taught this as being part and parcel of the process of conducting research. So it should follow that anyone dealing with the media should insist that their work is correctly cited and linked back to once online. Not only does this linking aid interested members of the general population find the research for themselves but also peers, research groups and bodies as well as other journalists and people working in the media. You may not always be able to control how your research is reported in the media and how the general public talk about it, but you can do more to ensure readers get better access to the actual research..…………… (unquote)

The full entry can be read Here.

4. Aggregators and Libraries – what’s in it for them?

Aggregators are among the most important content providers for libraries, and libraries have been working hand in hand with publishers and aggregators for many years. Library patrons want a seamless, integrated service that allows them to link quickly and effortlessly to content they need. Until comparatively recently, there were service providers which perhaps could be accurately, if somewhat clumsily, described as ‘licensed full-text content aggregators’, enabling access to full text content which was licensed to them expressly for that purpose, notes Byron Russell, in his post in the Ingenta Blog.

The blog post says (quote): Until November 2016 Ingenta had a service called Connect Complete which, along with the limited Alerting facility, was popular in terms of features, but expensive. Both Alerting and Connect Complete have now been replaced by a single service, the Library Membership scheme. This offers most of the features of the former services plus additional benefits, including externally-provided services such as Athens and Shibboleth, for a single annual payment of £250. There is no obligation to join – the company still do not charge to register with Ingenta Connect, or use the regular features that they themselves provide, such as subscription access control and Counter statistics. Uniquely, Ingenta is also negotiating a range of member-only discounts on a range of products from other technology providers such as Kudos and Redlink Library Dashboard. Personalisation is a way of creating a more individual experience for users, and Members can add their institution’s logo, links to institutional departments and library-supported facilities, and include customised text on the body of the home page..…………… (unquote)

The full entry can be read Here.

5. Economics, Silicon Valley, and Information Warfare - Is Accuracy Becoming a Luxury Item? Or a Casualty?

Information warfare is both tactical and strategic, with much of its success stemming from the weakened economics of the current information economy. Scholarly publishers have experienced this in many ways, from Google Scholar to predatory publishers to pre-print archives - all answers to the calls for “free information” and all revealing tactical and strategic vulnerabilities as accuracy and facts become luxury items in the information war, discusses Kent Anderson, in his post in the Scholarly Kitchen Blog.

The blog post says (quote): You can find predatory publishers in Google Scholar, which aims to be comprehensive, and because predatory publishers are almost by definition OA publishers, their free content is preferred over paywalled content, making Google Scholar an interesting search engine - one that prefers preliminary and predatory content to final, paywalled content, simply because of the economics. In the face of all of these cultural and economic warning signs, we continue to shy away from the nasty paywall, even though the metaphor is faulty - is a movie ticket a “paywall”? - and despite the increasing prevalence of subscriptions in industries Silicon Valley once tried to gut, from television to film to music..…………… (unquote)

The full entry can be read Here.

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