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Posts tagged open access

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.


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!

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


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!

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, representing the very best of Open Educational Resources.

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.


Sweet day cafe

Sweet day cafe

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.


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?

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.


… 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.


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, 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.


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!

Science for all

Today is a special day – it is the 3rd TEDxDelft. Unfortunately I had to leave the sessions. I would like to share, however, some of my own ideas with you. Perhaps it is a bit easy to do it this way … but anyhow please find my ideas on how open access to research publications will evolve the coming years. With thanks to Tomas van Dijk, who so nicely wrote it down for Delft Integraal (page 23).

More than marshmallows and candy bar wrappers!

Fourteen colleagues attended the first Ticer Library Directors’ Course from August 19-21, 2012. The last day was a joined one with the participants of the Ticer Summerschool. We did not have time to evaluate this last day with the fourteen of us, so I decided to provide my summary and short comments on this blog.
Firstly it would be appropriate to mention that I indeed valued the Directors’ course: we had some good practical exercises, a lot of things and literature to think about and work on, perhaps not so many strategy issues as I would have anticipated on the first 2 days, but best of all was that I met new and interesting colleagues and the Course Director, Janet Wilkinson, and senior lecturer Roger Fielding, who both did an excellent job. I will never forget our Marshmallow Challenge!

Lorcan Dempsey introduced the Ticer Tuesday (being its Course Director) and did a quick wrap-up of the talk I enjoyed in Birmingham last February. He introduced David Lankes (@rdlankes, see his own post). This was the talk that I liked best, a bit provocative, typical American, but filling in the gap that I had slightly missed on days 1 and 2. Of course not everything was new, but here are a few quick-and-dirty quotes or lines to remember:
– The mission for the library has not changed over all these years, how we do it has  changed.
– What makes it new librarianship is if you realize that knowledge is created through conversation (and not contained in “static” containers).
– As a library we have a voice, if we e.g. give instructions these should be focused on helping the members to learn, not on how they can get access.
– We do not have users, clients or consumers; we have members and they “own” the library and add value to it.
– A place with books is a storage place; a place with librarians is a library.
– A librarian does not need the library building to be a librarian … so a librarian is the one who creates the library.
– We are librarians and we are on a mission. Be radical!
There is a lot I have not put in this summary, a question could be the possible disbalance in the phrases above on “membership or ownership” and “the librarian who creates the library”. Of course we should see this as cocreation, but this puzzles me.

The other three in-depth talks were on Open Access, Research data management and Networks. These were less strategic, but interesting because of the overview we received on the relevant situation, reports and papers. Marc van den Berg had a good interactive voting exercise where all participants had to give theire scores on the ten recommendations the LIBER Working Group on e-Science and Research Data Management had just released. We apparently (and typically?) gave all recommendations almost similar scores. Lorcan Dempsey, in his role as Chair of the day, asked the presenters where they would make their choices in their own libraries, not per se referring to research data management, but in general. The answer to that question remains difficult – I myself would be interested to see whether we in The Netherlands would be able to differentiate between the university libraries the coming years. Further I was triggered by the reference made by Marc on the Gartner hypecycle for education, 2012, where it shows that Digital preservation of research data as a trending topic has had his peak, and could now be overhyped.

At the end of the day we got a Library tour at Tilburg University. Interesting to see that Tilburg invites faculty to come over to the library. Apart from the datalab and teaching lab there is also a dedicated faculty space, only accessible for faculty staff. It is not yet crowded, but a good initiative!

Finally, Rachel L. Frick ( provoked us to come from our often institutional to a networked focus and gave some good examples how this could work for libraries. We discussed the question she gave us, i.e. if the library is unified by a brand (and then, what is this brand)? Interesting for us in Delft (involved as we are as a Library in social innovation, see the (Dutch) weblog) was the reference she made to the constellation model, often used when organising collaborative efforts.


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“Open Access is sacred”

On May 21 and 22 I attended the general meeting of the COAR (Confederation of Open Access Repositories) in Uppsala. Sweden.

Two things from the first day: first the presentation by Xiaolin Zhang (National Science Library, Chinese Academy of Sciences), on institutional repositories in China, going strong and enriched. They increased in three years from 2 to 72 research institutes, not a giant uptake yet though. He advocates that we should see the institutional repository as a knowledge management services, not just as an open access issue or a library issue. He defines three roles, from high stake risk & task (explaining the researcher or group chair what can be accessed, and how achievements can be demonstrated), to high-level responsibility (for the Chinese Academy of Sciences, for the research institutes) to high-level involvement (both the institutional task as well as the CAS expertise).

Further Ralf Schimmer, from the Max Planck Society, Max Planck Digital Library. At MPS the open access commitment is driven by researchers and research directors, so coming from the heart of the researchers. The whole open access debate should be more than a monetary debate, remember the phrase out of the Berlin declaration, it is about “the full exploitation of the internet”. Ralf also tells us that licensing is more than paying to read! Libraries ought to be the organizers of the economic relationship of their institutions with the publishers, open their perspectives and eyes to accept new concepts. Libraries should not just be organizing access to content, but also be arranging use and re-use, archiving & hosting rights, or open access options. The licensing process is where the organised interests of publishers and research community meet, where services are defined and money transactions are organized. MPS has a unified acquisition and open access publication cost budget since 2005. For MPS open access is sacred, if choices need to be made, they cancel subscriptions not open access activities.

The afternoon of my second day was well spent by an elaborate (I refer to it as slow touring) guided tour through the Uppsala university library by Ulf Goranson. Carolina Rediviva is the oldest university library in Sweden, founded in 1620. The university was also the first one and dates from 1477. And then the Uppsala cathedrale, which is scandinavia’s largest and tallest church (and it is equally tall and long: 118,8 metres).


The library today contains 5 million books – with 700000 books from before 1850 – the duplicates are mainly used for decoration in the (not publicly accessible) library conference rooms.

The “new” library building (beginning 19th century) is an inpractical library building, you are not allowed to take your bags and drinks with you. But at least there is central heating now.
“Each library should have a globe”, says Ulf. And they have many in his library, mainly in the closed areas. In the exhibition area you can find the silver bible which is a Gothic (language) gospel book – the silver refers to the cover, which was made later. The text book is almost 1500 years old.
Ulf showed us (me) how a library director can be a story teller, about the building, the library, the university, the books, the history … really impressive. I invited Ulf over to Delft, but warned him that my stories would be different. His room really belongs to him.
I learned that back in the old days the book were reversely stacked, making it actually easier to open them this way.

At the second day the best experience for me was the rotating workshops where 5 topics were discussed with the same group guided by topic moderators. Perhaps not each workshop (we only had 10 minutes per topic) ended up in creative discussions, but altogether this is a way to get all participants to think and work.

The overview from DRIVER to DRIVER2 to OpenAIRE and OpenAIREplus by Donatella Castelli, CNR, Italy, was very useful. Donatella explained to us that each e-infrastructure can play both provider and consumer roles and that the most effective and sustainable e-infrastructure will survive. DRIVER served mainly the community of researchers (retrieval and access of open access scientific documents). The OpenAIRE pilot and now also OpenAIREplus serves the whole community of actors. Whereas OpenAire concentrated on supporting the open access mandate for peer-reviewed publications and monitoring its impact, OpenAIREplus adds all research outputs, and facilitates the exploitation of these outputs.


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