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TU: Librarian

Monthly observations from TU Delft Library Director Wilma van Wezenbeek

International Data Week

This time I am wrapping up the “International Data week” in Amsterdam, with the RDA 4th plenary (Reaping the fruits) as main event on 22-24 September 2014, and a range of satellite events on data were taking place in the same week. Just a (very) short impression!

Robert-Jan Smits kicked off the RDA meeting on Monday, where 520 attendants were present, by saying that only 10-30% of scientific articles can be reproduced.  He urged the community to change their culture, and “treat your data as you treat your publications”.

The video by Neelie Kroes contained a few nice phrases, e.g. “Open science depends on open minds, and it can grow if we build it upon trust”.

Barend Mons held a very entertaining keynote on “Bringing Data to Broadway”, and introduced his FAIR play, to make research findable accessible, interoperable and reusable. Barend referred to his Data FAIRPORT. Do not say open all the time, perhaps call it fair science (I will give this suggestion at the end of the EC public consultation on Science 2.0!).

He showed us that data loss is real and significant, while data growth is staggering. We should realize how important data stewardship is: Educate, reward and keep data scientists.  Professionalize data stewardship! 5% of research funding should go to data stewardship,  it is really worth the money. So award the data steward, introduce a research object impact factor. And do not forget: “Knowledge is like laughter, it increases when shared”.

I could only attend this first day partially and then the third day. The RDA always holds a lot of parallel sessions, similar to the previous plenaries, where the interest groups and working groups talk about their challenges and progress.

The working group on workflows (part of the interest group Publishing Data) is in the midst of a workflow analysis, and they called for people to look at their Excel sheet, add new workflows or columns to address. A few examples of workflows were presented, Martina Stockhause opened a discussion on versions of data, where her suggestion was to have a high-level persistent identifier based on a collection, and then allow for changes within. We thought that her discussion would be addressed by the group on Dynamic Data (I cannot find the correct link to this group though!).

The closing panel on the third day gave an overview of the data situation in Brasil, Japan, Canada and the US. A few interesting, some slightly contradictory, observations:

  • Should we refer to open data, or should we make a variety of how access can be arranged,  realizing that private sector wants to  exploit their data?
  • Do not create artificial silos between research and industry.
  • Data requires us to think in objects and connections,  and we should work on improving  services.
  • Beware to be “going in the rathole of sustainability”. At the end it is of course far more expensive not to invest in infrastructure.

The coming six months (to the next plenary, in San Diego) the RDA will focus on adoption, to be using and eating the fruits, and they will be clustering the interest groups and working groups. I think that this is a sensible thing to do.

One of the remarks of the panel was that you need a national infrastructure to be able to participate in a global infrastructure,  and that we should exchange best practices.  I am proud that we managed in the Netherlands to have Research Data Netherlands, a coalition where now three data archives are sharing their experience and work together on realizing sustainable data archiving.

On 24 September 2014 Research Data Netherlands (RDNL), the collaborative partnership between 3TU.Datacentrum and DANS, welcomed SURFsara.

On 24 September 2014 Research Data Netherlands (RDNL), the collaborative partnership between 3TU.Datacentrum and DANS, welcomed SURFsara.

Talking about the processes is useful and necessary, but it was very rewarding to have presentations of six researchers during the Dutch Data Prize Award on 24 September.

On Thursday the RECODE Workshop had a meeting (and there were as said much much more interesting events this week). RECODE aims to have their final conference in Athens in January 2015. People at the workshop were invited to comment on the draft recommendations document of work package 5.

The group wants to produce evidence-based policy recommendations. They have identified four stakeholder groups, funders, research institutions, data managers and publishers (question was raised whether researchers should be added as stakeholder). To give a quick idea:

  • Funders:  Develop, implement,  monitor and evaluate open access to research data. (During the panel later on, we discussed whether there was a funder that supports reusing data, that could be an addition to this short list.)
  • Research institutions: Develop data management strategies,  develop reward systems, develop training programs and support awareness-raising.
  • Data managers: Develop mission and responsibilities,  develop sustainable business models,  achieve trust worthiness of repositories and content, and develop data management services.
  • Publishers: Get policies for deposit of data and require data submissions in certified repositories.

Daniel Spichtinger (from European Commission,  DG Research and Innovation) took part in the workshop and told us about the European Commission’s pilot for open access to research data. A few things were new for me, apparently the deposit in repositories is mandatory, but there is no requirement to have it in a trusted repository. The opt-outs for opening up your data have a wide range: there may be a conflict to protect results,  a confidentiality issue or possible risk for national security, protection of personal data, and more. Another new thing for me was that apart from the selected areas (in the Excellence, Industrial Leadership or Societal Challenges programmes) all projects might go for a pilot on a voluntary basis. Further the data management plans are mandatory,  but are not part of the project evaluation,  they are required 6 months after project starts. At the end Daniel gave a nice quote: “This pilot gives you a chance to coshape policy on opening up research data.“  We also now know the take out so far (out of 3054 proposals): opt out is 24% in core areas, and 27% is the opt in, in other areas.

I am ending my post here, but our team, especially the product group Research Data Services, were of course in (almost) full-strength present, and apart from helping the main organisation DANS, sponsoring as 3TU.datacentrum (which we coordinate) the programme, we followed or contributed to Libraries for research data, Data publication, Long tail data and workshops on technique, training, policy and certification. A very busy week indeed!

And the most important people are … our authors

Reporting on the ALPSP international conference, 10-12 September 2014.

While I am at this (learned society) publishers’ congress, our Board of Directors have sent on September 11 a message to all employees at TU Delft announcing that the way forward is open access. Open access so that contributions to science are spread, read and re-used. In the Netherlands, State Secretary Dekker recently expressed his views on the transition of Dutch academic publications to Open Access, which he hopes to achieve within five years in 60% of the cases. 

A few days in London, that’s what you think. However, the ALPSP meeting is based in a hotel (Park Inn) at Heathrow, so the only thing you see (and hear) is the airport.

Keynote opener was Amy Brand from Digital Science. She presented an overview of the products (a lot fall under Digital Science) that help taking away pains from the researchers. “Pain is the mother of invention”. Products or services I had not heard of before were: Sparrho, Sciencescape  and Uberresearch.

A bit about libraries

The first day (being only the afternoon) held (after the keynote) two things. A library panel (I think that those were the only librarians, apart from me, present) and the presentations of the Innovation Award (winner to be announced Thursday September 11). Surprise surprise, I liked the library panel. The topic was about whether we (librarians / publishers) were competitors or customers. Jill Taylor-Roe asked us to recalibrate the collaboration. Would it be better together? Graham Stone tried to tickle the audience (as you will understand mainly publishers) by explaining that repositories actually help in impact. “It is not about stealing. We have paid, we link and drive usage”. At his university (Huddersfield) they now have their own Press, and publish their undergraduate journal with severe peer reviewing. As Jill also pointed out, Graham said that libraries and publishers are both contributors (not competitors) to advance science. The really important people are the authors, not the librarians or the publishers.

Innovation Award

Seven nominations for the Innovation Awards, 5 minutes each. Wow! I liked (but information might not be complete;-) BioRXiv , initiated by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, as I understand a good filter to proceed to journal publications.  Another success was presented by Frontiers from Open Science platform, where open access journals are being (openly) peer reviewed, with top scientists as Editors, and maximising impact for authors.  They even started a Frontiers for young minds! With an Editorial board of kids. Last one I mention is Edifix (from Inera), where inaccurate references are something from the past.

Congratulations to Kamila Markram from Frontiers. They won!

Congratulations to Kamila Markram from Frontiers. They won!

Impact and relevance

A panel opened the next day, but it was lively enough to attend. I especially appreciated the contributions from David Smith (IET) and chair Toby Green (OECD). Take a look at OECD’s Freemium Access publishing, more or lest the differentiated access Amy Brand presented the day before. It is a mixture of free (just reading) and premium (paying, for downloads or usage). With David I had a nice chat afterwards, where we discussed the typical behaviour of engineers i.e. IET noted having a very low percentage of mobile traffic on their platform. I spoke also with the panellist from Thieme who claimed that open access would leave libraries without a job. What we see in Delft is that we advise in the publication route and start to administer apc’s, so I did not agree with his observation.

31 flavours of research impact. CC-BY-NC by maniacyak on flickr.

31 flavours of research impact. CC-BY-NC by maniacyak on flickr.

Melinda Kenneway opened an interesting session on metrics. I had heard Mike Taylor from Elsevier at the APE, but his story this time was different, he advocated the use of multiple or mixed metrics, not bibliometrics or altmetrics, but choosing the right answers based on the questions of the customers. We also had the joy of listening to Euan Adie, founder of Altmetric. He defines altmetrics as everything in metrics that is not citations, resulting in a broader view of impact. An idea that popped up in my head when he talked was whether we (as librarians) should be starting to tweet much more about the Delft publications, as part of our workflow.

Discovery

In the afternoon presentations on “cracking the discovery code” were scheduled. where EBSCO, Sage and Graham Stone (again, see day before) talked. Graham’s university was the first Summon client in the UK (2009). I liked the way he referred to the discovery system as a tool that is “levelling the playing field,  giving every journal a fair chance” and warned us, librarians, to avoid the desire making minilibrarians out of our users. I also made a note to look at the TERMS – top 14 deal breaks when licensing electronic resources, that he cocreated, so I will definitely get back to his presentation.

Big data

Fiona Murphy chaired the final session of the day on big data. There was in that session not much new for me, though it struck me that the underlying message was that we should be careful. We should not make confusing correlations, will need human interaction to structure the data, and need to make authors aware how to correctly cite data. I learned from my neighbor, one of the nominees for the Innovation Award from Inera, that 20% of the provided data citations have incorrect doi’s. We can of course also have fun, e.g. with the autocomplete text Google makes (why is UK so … cold).

Text mine or yours or …

On Friday morning we had our final sessions. Both were interesting. Gemma Hersh from Elsevier explained their Text and Datamining policy and went through the criticism received, via a.o. LIBER. They have changed a few things since, e.g. users are not asked anymore to provide a project description when they register for mining. The fact that registration is needed however will not be changed, according to Hersh. CrossRef is now working on a cross publisher solution. The talk by researcher Lars Juhl Jensen  (here is his blog) nicely touched upon some of these issues. Jensen gave a wonderful talk about what text and data mining is all about, and that researchers like himself just want to be able “to take it, mine it and make it publicly available”.  Furter reading about this (and other) sessions at the alpsp blog.

... Ours?

The final session had open access as topic. Chair Wim van der Stelt from Springer tried to bring some different angles to the discussion. We had people from Wiley, Royal Society and BMC talking about flipping your subscription journal, learning from starting an open access journal and having the dialogue with your customer, respectively. I liked the contribution by Jackie Jones (Wiley). She gave the Wiley criteria to flip or not to flip. Obviously parameters such as rejection rate, submission level, funder behaviour and proven open access success in the discipline are relevant in this decision. Phil Hurst (The Royal Society) mentioned that they only would be launching open access journals. He referred to the SPARC page, that summarizes why open access is a big benefit. I did not really get an answer when asking when the time would come that the default for launching a new journal would be open access, realizing that large publishers also could drive the change and influence behaviour. Well, I wrote earlier about that of course! Though we all agreed at the congress that our authors and researchers are the most important stakeholders, perhaps some other stakeholders might influence the direction publishers are taking;-)

View from my room. Heathrow!

View from my room. Heathrow!

Looking forward: TU Delft Library

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About #inspiration. This Summer in our Library the exhibition "Island of Thoughts". Visual artist Eveline van Duyl is exhibiting her larger-than-life-size portrait sculptures of philosophers.

About #inspiration. This Summer in our Library the exhibition “Island of Thoughts”. Visual artist Eveline van Duyl is exhibiting her larger-than-life-size portrait sculptures of philosophers.

 

LIBER 2014 – Reach out, get into the light!

LIBER 2014 was held in Riga this year, obviously for two reasons (or perhaps three): it is the European Capital of Culture this year, the new National Library (“castle of light” opens this year, and hosted the conference). And perhaps because we could have the former President of Latvia give a wonderful speech about “the power of the word”. Three days around 350 participants gathered from 36 countries, talking about or listening to a variety of subjects, but all under the main theme of this year’s conference: “Research Libraries in the 2020 Information Landscape”. I am picking just a few topics. This year (see last year’s blog) I attended the conference with my colleague Will Roestenburg.

The castle of light

The castle of light

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The book gallery in Riga

Open Access
On Tuesday NEREUS (information hub of libraries in supporting research and education in social sciences) organised an Open Access Workshop on Open Access Policies in practice and lessons learned. Five institutes presented their open access policy, mainly focusing on research papers or proceedings and including deposit in the institutional repository. These repositories are named e.g. WRAP (at Warwick, UK), or Lirias (Leuven, Belgium) or RepositoriUM (Minho, Portugal). Main take aways from this session were that you need marketing & advocacy skills in your library, you need to think of how to position your CRIS, repository and personal pages, and you need to diversify your message, because researchers (and their disciplines) are different, and stakeholders (researcher, student, institute, public, companies) are different too. Institutional mandates come in (and prove to be) very handy to increase your success, but you still need to implement the mandate and spread the word.
On Friday there was also a track on Open Access. Inge Werner told us about the new strategy for OA publishing in Utrecht University Library: from services to partnering. Their idea is to work as a greenhouse, and after helping journals in their first phase (though this may last 6 years), to have them transferred to a commercial open access publisher. The main problem for the library is that they really need to educate the editors that publishing cannot be done for free, and although the library is still sponsoring a substantial part of the publishing costs, that will not be the case after the transfer. It is good that we (as libraries) test different models with our main shared goal: get research “reachable”.

Open Framework
Maurizio Lunghi presented on Thursday morning the results of the APARSEN project.  Without (being able to) becoming too technical, the idea of the interoperability framework is that it connects all sorts of persistent identifiers (PI’s), without trying to make one of them redundant or obsolete. It is pictured as a ring of trust (if all PI domains expose their content on LOD, linked open data, in the same way). There is a demonstrator demo online, and I have the idea that this is a very useful development.

Innovation, Flow & Friction
Rachel Frick, Council on Library and Information Resources, USA, started off with telling us where she originates from, and had a nice keynote on Wednesday afternoon, where she referred to DPLA, the digital public library of America. How to minimize friction and maximize flow? We live in a mash-up culture, crossing national and international boundaries, and we know that the network changes everything. We should not wait until people find what we have (after we have at least digitized the most interesting stuff that is not digitally borne), but enrich Wikipedia, make our metadata part of the network and expose our dark matter to the light as true leaders and practitioners of openness ourselves.
Lorraine Joanne Beard and Nick Campbell, from the University of Manchester, UK, explained how the library links to the university strategy. They also confirmed that the library should be vocal and tell how they can help the university to reach its goal. The Eureka example YouTube Preview Image that they have initiated in their Innovation group was a nice one.  In a dragon’s den like event students’ ideas were selected by a professional jury and the winner got some money, and the realisation of his/her idea. Several themes emerged in the contest that were picked up. The Manchester representatives told us to put ideas in practice, and to be more risk taking.
Eva Dahlbäck, from Stockholm University Library, Sweden, told us how they have (internally developed) managed to create the web-based software Viola, which helps staff in the closed stacks to fetch any requested material from the physical stacks, with a smartphone as device.

The right colour!

The right colour!

E-books
One of the plenary lectures on Wednesday was about the e-Book Phenomenon and its impact (by Prof. Thomas Daniel Wilson, University of Borås, Sweden). What I liked (it was a pity that he could not finish his talk due to time constraints) was his remark that e-book development has the potential to make an impact on every stakeholder. His suggestion for universities was to produce open-access textbooks, because now you can tailor the textbook to the course (instead of the other way around). Examples he mentioned were the Florida Distance Learning Consortium and Intermediate Algebra (see http://collegeopentextbooks.org/), representing the very best of Open Educational Resources.

Crowdsourcing
Zooniverse, figshare, distributed proofreaders, metadatagames: they are just a few examples of crowdsourcing. Elena Simperl (from University of Southampton, UK) had a lot for us to learn about it. With crowdsourcing you have a problem and solve it by an open call, using the large network of potential. You can have macrotasks (e.g. innovation), microtasks (e.g. tagging, many people at the same time in parallel), crowdfunding, or contests. Of course it is a nice opportunity to engage with your customer (though you need to understand what drives participation). As Simperl said, computers are sometimes better than humans; this is the age of social machines. Improve information technology, but do not overdo crowdsourcing. Let people do the creative work, and the machines the administration. And in her conclusion she said that creativity remains as task for (the staff of) the library, and we should be glad that you “free up” time to spend on creativity.

Research data management, what works?
This workshop  in the morning of July 2 was organized by the LIBER working group / steering committee on Scholarly Communication and Research Infrastructures. I was moderating the second part and thanks to some good suggestions made by Marina Noordegraaf, we had a very interactive session about training and skills, and encouraged people to start research dating. In short the main take-away messages were that you need to remember that the research groups are not all the same, that you need to be brave (again!) and go out to the researchers, and that we should take advantage of our own network, and learn from each other.
Arlette Piquet from ETH Libraries and Collections, Zurich, Switzerland showed the next day how they are dealing with data curation. Starting with a research survey in 2011, they have defined a timepath and approach, where they have decided to work from one solution, being Ex Libris Rosetta (including administrative data).

Cultural programme
On Tuesday morning we had some time to stroll around in (a very rainy) Riga. We visited the Dome or Riga Cathedral, which is very famous for its organ (for which Frans Liszt, although he has never been there, wrote a chorale “Nun danket alle Gott”). Especially the old cloistral corridors with Riga heritage was worth our visit. Afterwards we drank a coffee at a lovely place, called Sweet Day Café.

Away from the tower now

Away from the tower.

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Sweet day cafe

Sweet day cafe

The library environment, finding a shared purpose

The meetings of the Liber Architecture Group are great to reflect on library spaces. I had the opportunity to combine a lecture in Helsinki, Finland, with some site visits and talks.

The first preseminar visits were on Tuesday May 6, and our starting point that day was exactly in our line of thinking. Valeria Gryada, from Aalto University, the Otaniemi campus, presented a way of involving the users in the design process, which we are also doing in Delft (see presentation I held on Friday to be published at the LAG website, prepared with Liesbeth Mantel).

The greenhouse project of Aalto University was a very low-budget (50 kEuro) project, where a student team rooted the basis for the set-up of the area. The students really get to know the insights of the specific school. Normally a design project is finished after transfer, but in this case it just started after the furniture had been brought in, with observing, learning and improving. Further her presentation had three more interesting elements, being: 1. mentioning the number of alumni (80000) as key element of the university details; 2. focusing on the areas of strength of the library; and 3. positioning the library as the place where “the university is seen”, as neutral ground. The library’s vision of seeing the learning centre network as a living organism seems to be a future proof one.

We visited two more libraries this first day, the Viiki Korona infocentre and the Terkko Medical Library. Both are examples of places that opened 15 or 16 years ago and that are now thinking of redesigning their locations and getting rid of the book stacks. Walking around in these places opened the discussion about what really remains after removing the books. A library context (adding meaning to meeting) adds commitment for a shared cause, knowing that all people in that learning environment are there for a shared purpose.

A lot of students put off their shoes.

A lot of students put off their shoes.

Aalto University - the techncal school.

Aalto University – the technical school.

Liber attendees listening during Terkko tour.

Liber attendees listening during Terkko tour.

The second preseminar (half) day was a visit to the beautiful music centre and the Sibelius Library. This building was created by putting the function as first priority (the acoustic designer’s voice was always listened to). The concert hall has glass windows though, and the stage is put in the middle of the hall, as in an arena. Music researchers, teachers, artists, students and lovers can work, listen and create together, a very well-thought concept. For us in Delft the word “creation” is also very important, and we would really like to see this realized in our physical library, both to show what was created by Delft’ hands, and by feeling the creative atmosphere during your study or work. This makes a nice bridge to my earlier thoughts about a library as a commitment to a shared purpose.

The stage and the windows in the concert hall.

The stage and the windows in the concert hall.

Pike statue outside the music centre.

Pike statue outside the music centre.

On Wednesday May 7 in the afternoon Kirsti Lonka, Prof. of Educational Psychology, University of Helsinki, held her keynote lecture, and tried to engage us participants by asking us to think how we should design our spaces for the digital natives (and digital immigrants). She explained the differences between these two groups, and these are quite huge. We of course still have to accommodate both. In her opinion e-learning is dead, and blended learning is king. Every third meeting Kirsti said  should be a face-to-face one. Blended learning environments combine physical, virtual, social, mobile and mental spaces of learning – beyond the classroom! This is a very short wrap-up of her presentation. Surprisingly though was that she referred to the library as a space attached to the learning centre, of course connected, but not (yet) included or renamed. That is not how we position our library in Delft.

Then the topic moved to office work spaces for librarians and a few trends were highlighted. One of them was the idea of an activity-based office where different work profiles should fit into, being the anchor, connector, gatherer (collector) and navigator. Or the acknowledgement that the library staff should not think of their own spaces as separate from their users’ spaces. We all need to discover, gather, analyse, create and share.

I would like to summarize the second day of the seminar, Thursday May 8, with a tripadvisor (and I am selecting just a few of the presentations!). Today we could go to see the Vienna Resource Centre. The biggest question is whether the space is embraced by the users, or remains an artistic impression, You could only know by really visiting the site. If you wait just a few months you could see the Sleeping Beauty of Riga, the castle of light or national library, to be opened end of August. Elif Tinaztepe, from Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects, won the 2012 Collaboration Award for their user involvement in the DOKK1 project for Aarhus. Within a year you will be able to visit it. A bit further down the road (first half of 2016) lies the opening of LILLIAD Innovation Learning Center (a refurbishment of the Library), where they are creating a place to support the culture of innovation. And the day ended with a double trip to Kaisa House, first in the afternoon during the normal tour and then with Liesbeth Mantel and Francine Houben in the evening after our conference dinner.

Kaisa House opened September 2012

Kaisa House opened September 2012

The Library still has a lot of bookshelves, but a very nice design.

The Library still has a lot of bookshelves.

After our exciting evening adventure our last day of the seminar arrived on Friday. In the morning we heard in the first session technical aspects of the libraries built and to be renovated in Bern (Switzerland), and the huge building (85000 sqm and capacity of 320 km records shelving) of the national library of France. Then I could present my talk about our Living Campus and the use of personas. It was very nice that Francine Houben, our architect, made the connection in her presentation afterwards and showed the difference in the floormap of our Library between 1998 and 2014. Further I heard again her very nice presentation about the Birmingham Library, never boring. Francine also asked all librarians and architects to speak up to the politicians so that they would be able to understand that a library is more than books (and as I put it “more than a building”). The seminar was closed by the lecture of Anne Hanneford (the Hive at Worcester), which is a truly combined library for both the main public, researchers and students and in all ways connects the city with the university. They won the Times Higher Education Award for Library Team last year.

Concluding remarks: the library should not just reach out to its users, but put  them central in their innovation process. Without interaction with other disciplines, other ideas, other people you will have no innovation. So make sure that you not only facilitate this process for your users, but also apply this to your own staff and actions. And always keep your eyes and ears open. You can add context and people will find their shared purpose in the library environment that suits them best.

A “No access” insurance policy – would this work?

There’s something that’s been nagging at my mind the last few days. We are preparing for the open access “mandate” that our Dutch secretary of state has challenged us with. How can we link open access and toll access in a sustainable manner? What are successful examples (what can we learn from others, or what are pitfalls to avoid?), how can we make the transition without (too much) extra cost, what can we do on a national level?

During these preparations it occurred to me that we seem to make things pretty complex. And things are quite simple. We as librarians “just” want to make sure that our users have access to the content they need. And we feel annoyed by paying more and more for content that was produced in and reviewed by our university staff. We want to give our scientists and students the assurance that they have access. But at what cost?

So let’s imagine that we could buy a “no access” insurance (in the Netherlands we don’t arrange a health insurance, but a “sickness” insurance). We always get access to the information we need, and we insure ourselves in cases access fails. Our insurance broker gets an insurance fee from us for this.

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And we pay for publishing to quality publishers, if we think that this adds to our impact. Otherwise we “publish” through our own university channels. We all acknowledge that the quality publishers do not change or moderate our content (this is done by our peers), but that they can add value by making our content part of a highly-used platform and that they can add value to the user experience of this platform.  But now I am making things more complex again. Back to the basic question: How about a “No access” insurance?

Moving towards a culture of data citation

It was March 2013 that the first plenary of Research Data Alliance took place. I attended that meeting in Göteborg, Sweden. On 26-28 March 2014 Dublin, Ireland, was the venue for the third plenary. It coincided with a lot of satellite meetings, and DataCite also had its General Assembly and strategy meeting on the two days before the RDA. So I combined the two, and was present (in a way pretty straightforward being a Board Member of DataCite) at the DataCite gatherings and the first day of the RDA.

I would have loved watching a rugby game here at the Croke Park stadion / conference centre. Probably the combination of a conference and a game is not very practical. And I was told that this is not the rugby season.

I would have loved watching a rugby game here at the Croke Park stadion / conference centre. Probably the combination of a conference and a game is not very practical. And I was told that this is not the rugby season.

It is not really possible to tell a lot then about all the things that happened at the RDA. I observed that there were a lot of interest group and working group sessions for the remainder of the conference. The first morning was a real plenary one. I thought that the introductory talk of Mark Ferguson (DG of Science Foundation Ireland) was interesting. He made a few statements that would be worth checking (I would love to have his sources!):
– The most highly-cited papers find their origin in:

  1. collaboration between academia /industry
  2. international collaboration
  3. national collaboration

“Isolated” research is at the bottom of the list. I can imagine that there a few parameters influencing this ranking, e.g. the discipline or the sort of peer groups you work with. Another statement was about the hitrate for patents, where he claimed that jointly funded projects give a better chance, and that the patent is often not attributed to the first (original) research(er). For Ferguson a reason to promote open innovation.

The panel about data policy was more a range of short presentations, which was in a way OK. I have to look at the ideas that Mercé Crosas (Director of Data Science, Harvard University) put forward. Being the initiator of Dataverse Network, she showed us their guidelines for data publishing. Moreover she referred to guidelines for connecting journals to data, where integration between journals and data is encouraged through Dataverse. That is a different use of Dataverse than I knew about.

In retrospect, but this is based on a very short (1-day) presence, I had expected more real activity and results (after 1 year) to come out of the RDA groups and workshops. The problem of course is that one can only attend one session at the time. I am eager to hear what is happening in all these groups, but it is difficult to get a “quick-and-dirty” overview.

The people I talked to were very positive about the excellent networking opportunities. Everybody you want to talk to, is at the RDA! Finally, to conclude this very short report I thought that I heard (at least) one very interesting idea at the Data Publishing Interest Group Introductory session, and that was the idea by Laure Haak (ORCID) to assign doi’s to data management plans. That could solve a missing link in the chain from project to data to publication. Simon Hodson (CODATA) who hammered at the plenary panel on the fact that at RDA it should be about putting all the available principles to practice (I could not agree more!), showed the very good cycle created by ANDS (one of the co-organisers of this plenary) of building a culture of data citation: create, use, measure and reward.

data_citation_poster_sm

And to end with the beginning: apart from a lot of good discussions and nice get-togethers three things stood out from the DataCite meetings:
– DataCite will endorse the data citation principles that were recently published by Force11.
– DataCite has entered an agreement with Databib / Re3data. First step is that both data repository registries will merge their two projects into one service and this one service will be managed under the auspices of DataCite by the end of 2015.
– DataCite and RDA have signed a memorandum of understanding, so that both organisations can intensify their dialogue, and actively work on promoting data citation as an important element in the scholarly workflow.

 I normally have no recollection at all what art is being displayed in hotel rooms or corridors. This time my attention was drawn into some of the pictures. Is it because of an intriguing scenery, the black-white of the tulip or the typical birds? I actually do not know. They are shown at the Gresham hotel, and at the Croke Park hotel, both in Dublin.


I normally have no recollection at all what art is being displayed in hotel rooms or corridors. This time my attention was drawn to some of the pictures. Is it because of an intriguing scenery, the black-white of the tulip or the typical birds? I actually do not know. They are shown at the Gresham hotel, and at the Croke Park hotel, both in Dublin.

scenery tulip

.. To inspire .. to make you feel at ease

It is March 6, 2014 – apparently the time of the year that our Library finishes its retrospective. Almost exactly one year ago I wrote about the highlights 2012, and now I am proudly presenting 2013 to you.

No need to repeat of course what you can find in our annual report, but just because I really like it;-) here is just a bit:

Whether it´s inspiring people, facilitating new forms of education or offering the best possible collection: ingenuity is the key to achieving success. The key to distinguish ourselves and excel in all we do. We, therefore, seek to stimulate and embrace this quality of being ingenious every single day. In both easy-going and challenging times we push our limits to make sure we always deliver through our services

As I wrote in earlier blogs, my own inspiration can come from so many different people, events or features. This week I hope to get inspired by two events with a strong link to our university. The first is a performance by Jasper van Kuijk in Theater de Veste, and the second is the opening lecture of our Cultural Professor Paulien Cornelissen.

I hope that all our 2014‘s actions may bring you some inspiration as well!

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Painting made by Marleen van Rijckevorsel, graduation work.

 

The way forward – Being sufficiently ignorant

Flying back to Amsterdam after two days of attending the APE Conference and one day of attending a Board Meeting of DataCite in Berlin, I try to capture what APE has brought me this year. It has been 4 or perhaps 5 years that I attended this conference. Each year it is organized by Arnoud de Kemp and this was its 9th edition.

I will not report in chronological order, but just take a few strands out. The topic of the meeting was “Redefining the Scientific Record, The Future of the Article, Big Data & Metrics”, and participants were (mainly) publishers, some researchers involved in funding or publishing, and library, governmental or funding agency representatives. A lot of Dutch people attended APE2014, of course also due to the  keynote speech of Sander Dekker, our State Secretary, of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, at the start of the conference.

If you want to view any or all presentation(s), that is possible via the recorded live stream.

Peer review under discussion

David Black, Secretary General ICSU (International Council for Science), and from origin a researcher in organic chemistry, claimed that the interdependence between curators and creators would also remain in this digital era. According to Black authors will in future send their findings to repositories (standardized, subject-focused and international)  instead of primary journals.  Anybody should be allowed to add comments to papers submitted to this repository. The peer review is an open evaluation, and takes place after publication. Out of this repository secondary publications can be selected (and that could still be a role for the major publishing houses). Reputation building is not merely based on these publications, but also on local contributions, your presence at conferences and individual (personal) references. An important condition for this to be a success it that the author takes his or her responsibility for his own work (be aware of what you submit). Jan Velterop referred me via twitter to a recent blog he wrote about this, .

ScienceOpen, also present at the conference, mentioned that they are already supporting scientists and are offering public post-publication peer review.

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… a cold, cold, winter …

From the publishers

APE is really a conference for and with publishers. Let me highlight two presentations from the publishers. The first one was by H. Frederick Dylla, Executive Director and CEO of the American Institute of Physics. He talked about CHORUS, that started in September 2013. CHORUS stands for ClearingHouse for the Open Research of the US and provides public access to manuscript/articles reporting on federally funded research, using existing infrastructure. Another one was from Eefke Smit. Apart from giving some nice poetry and examples, e.g. the Atlas of Digital Damages, she asked all publishing participants to make sure that they are aware they need preservation strategies for their content (outsourcing, normalisation, migration and emulation). In the Keepers Registry, as we later learned from Peter Burnhill (EDINA and Head of Edinburgh University Data Library), 22000 e-serial titles are being preserved with “archival intent”. Knowing that 113000 titles (issn’s) are registered, we have only 19% save. Eefke therefor called out to solve the identifier soup and to make sure that we are creating the connections to the future, so that they in future can make their connections back to us.

Interesting

Talks that might be worthwhile to be watching if you have a spare moment would be the ones from Jaso Swedlow, Professor of quantitative Cell Biology at the University of Dundee and President of Glencoe Software, talking about OMERO: The Open Microscopy Environment. OMERO deals with (the storage of) images. Swedlow introduces the ubiquitous image problem: is it a pretty picture, a measurement or a resource? According to Swedlow his tool brings in a driver for integrity, and published trusted scientific data.

Paul Groth,  from the Department of Computer Science & the Network Institute at the Free University in Amsterdam, wondered what impact really is. Policy makers are interested to know whether you are doing good science. Evidence up till now has been limited to the publication (article), and not included slides, videos, codes, data or the fact that you might have different types of story to tell (citation is not always the driver). Altmetrics catches activity in online tools and environment. Paul gave us a few examples (ImpactStory;  Open Phacts – published AND discussed AND cited; LISC 2013 – where results of a workshop are saved as short wrap-ups in figshare).

Mike Taylor, from labs.elsevier.com, presented seven reasons why one could be bothered about altmetrics and gave us an insight what work-in-progress is at Elsevier. Would it not be great to have real-time information on what others are reading right now?

And just quickly to wrap this up, the “dotcoms-to-watch” session was a good addition to the other lectures. The company Kudos makes an effort to match people to the right articles. ReadCube told us about ReadCube Instant PDF (keeping users online and engaged) and ReadCube Access, an eCommerce system for libraries, with access restrictions in exchange for lower prices, rent, buy or download. The latter one has recently been launched with the University of Utah as development partner.

A moral appeal

As said one of the exciting moments was the keynote of Sander Dekker. His full speech is in full-text available at Science Guide. Dekker is convinced that the digital world will be a game-changer in the world of scientific publishing. Above all he sees open access as a moral obligation, and a matter of principle: the whole of society will benefit from free and open access. So a true challenge for all stakeholders, let us hope we will indeed be able to put the flags out! Connecting this opening keynote with the closing one by David Sweeney (from HEFCE),  is interesting. Sweeney, experiencing the UK situation as a big funder, sees three things we should be doing, i.e. address the double dipping issue; do what you are allowed to do (publishers are doing their part, how about academia and funders?); and test if we really need embargo periods.

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Something different

It is perhaps enough to repeat two of the Einstein quotes Bernhard A. Sabel (giving a guest lecture about The Psychology of Innovation) presented, they are always so true:

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds”

“Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can work in freedom”

And three  to take away from Sabel:

“Old technology or lawyers are in committees”

“Get the brightest people, do not compromise on people – ever”

“Sometimes it is better to be sufficiently ignorant”

 What remains?

At the closing panel there were representatives from a funding agency, publishers, and research communities. The panel drew no real conclusion, but the voice of librarians was clearly not included in the panel, which is perhaps typical. Libraries were a logical partner as a license broker, and now that open access is growing to become a commodity (why not;-), we should (and will) find new challenges. Susan Reilly from LIBER used a few keywords at her lecture earlier that day: Libraries should focus on digital preservation, improve findability and integrity, and aim at resource sharing / collaboration.

Data were addressed at the conference, but no new insights for me. As DataCite representative it was clear though that we should keep on pushing the necessity to use persistent identifiers to make your data findable, citable and usable. Partners such as Brian Hole from Ubiquity Press might be able to help us. In one of his last slides he said that they help universities to set up a data repository, and by doing so give power to the university presses.

Finally I would like to repeat the reference Peter Burnhill made to the State of the Union, 2014 should be the Year of Action!

Choices: our common ground

No matter who you are, or what role you play, what we all have in common is a choice. Being a mother, singer, librarian, colleague, former publisher, friend, sister, daughter … I can make choices. These may of course be wrong, strange or just right,  and sometimes the circumstances leave you no other option to do this or that, and your final decision does not feel like a choice at all. However, my point is that somehow down the line you always have a choice. For years now I perform in a band (Guano), and we make our own songs. I complain that we do not have gigs anymore, that I would like to be on stage again, but I can only blame myself. I have the choice to do something about it (and stop complaining).

During the seasonal holiday break we played a game where you can select who you are, the bomb, the general, the spy ... could we enable that play in the real world ;-) ?

During the seasonal holiday break we played a game where you can select who you are: the bomb, the general, or the spy and change it along the way … could we enable that play in the real world 😉 ?

Choices are also current in our professional life. If I could add just one tiny bit to the open access discussion, it would be this thought or insight.

The author or researcher chooses a journal to publish his or her article in – sometimes in an emerging field or looking for a certain quality stamp there is not that much to choose from. He or she has done the homework, checked all references, worked with the co-authors, optimized (though not manipulated) one or two figures, has datasets available and submitted the paper. The reviewer (via a peer review selection process) is asked (within a certain timeframe) to review the paper, and to give a fair and sound review report, based on which the author can revise (which is most often the case) his or her paper.

The Publisher has a portfolio of journals that are either launched via an idea of the Publisher themselves, or via societies or (Chief) Editors who had a great idea or had seen an opportunity. The journals are processed, priced and promoted via set routines. In this chain of activities there is ample room to make a choice. Certainly when it comes down to choosing the way the articles can be accessed or the value that can be added. Should a traditional toll access journal be flipped to open access? Should a new journal be launched as an open access journal? What is the market attitude, the revenue stream, will any change affect journal submissions, and ultimately the journal’s impact factor?

We librarians also have choices. Space and time limit me to name all choices for all stakeholders. We are not really selecting the (primarily subscription-based) content we provide to our university staff based on quality anymore, but far more based on our budgets. The big deals, selection profiles and PDA (patron driven acquisition) have contributed to diminishing our role as content “selector”. However, our choice has been and still is to try to encourage all players to make their publicly funded research available in open access. This still costs a substantial amount of money (to process the article in its open access form), and we librarians should take responsibility and arrange the money stream needed for this. The big advantage is that it releases us from the dilemma that we might not be able to offer the best available scientific resources to our own researchers. A global choice to free up the scientific content guarantees that our students and researchers have easy access to today’s knowledge. There is a choice we can make. And stop complaining.

TU Delft Library 2014 new year greetings - today's knowledge will impact all your tomorrows

So librarians, do not forget that as all players in the field, we can also make our own choices. We are representing an institute that cherishes the past, lives in the present, but with a firm vision on the future. Get up on that stage!

© 2011 TU Delft