Beyond Open Access: Five prerequisites for a sustainable knowledge commons

Open access is about the democratization of knowledge.

However, as open access becomes widely adopted, there is a risk that we will accentuate the inequalities and unsustainability of scholarly publishing, through widespread implementation of pay to publish business models.

At COAR, we recognize that we need to go beyond open access, to consider how to create an open and fair system for sharing research outcomes.

See the full document here. Disponible en español aqui.

Recording and the Slides of Webinar on IR Usage Statistics

CARLCOAR joint webinar on institutional repository (IR) usage statistics was held yesterday with number of
participants. The webinar was moderated by Leah Vanderjagt, Digital Repository Services Coordinator at University of Alberta. She made an introduction for the webinar pointing out the need for standardised metrics for repositories and the efforts of RAMP and IRUS-UK initiatives which are tackling this issue. Speakers, Kenning Arlitsch, Dean at Montana State University Library and Paul Needham, Research and Innovation Manager at Kings Norton Library at Cranfield University, provided us with two very informative talks on each project.

You can find the recording of the webinar and the slides at the following links:

Recording: Arlitsch, Kenning, Needham, Paul, & Vanderjagt, Leah. (2017). CARL-COAR Joint Webinar on IR Usage Statistics.

Slides: Arlitsch, Kenning. (2017, October). RAMP: Repository Analytics & Metrics Portal: Accurately measuring citable content downloads from institutional repositories.

Slides: Needham, Paul. (2017, October). IRUS-UK: Standardised institutional repository usage statistics

CARL-COAR Joint Webinar on IR Usage Statistics

COAR Members are invited to a webinar entitled “Two Approaches for Accurately Counting IR Usage: RAMP and IRUS-UK” jointly organised by CARL and COAR. The speakers are Kenning Arlitsch, Dean at Montana State University Library and Paul Needham, Research and Innovation Manager at Kings Norton Library, Cranfield University. The webinar will be moderated by Leah Vanderjagt, Digital Repository Services Coordinator at University of Alberta.

Date: Tuesday, October 3, 13:00 ET / 19:00 CEST

Please register online for this free webinar. Priority will be given to registrants from CARL and COAR member institutions/organizations, as well as repository managers at Canadian institutions.

About the webinar

Institutional repositories (IRs), by virtue of their ability to give increased visibility to the institution’s scholarly outputs, are valued for their vast amount of open scholarly content. Libraries wishing to demonstrate use (and value) frequently report the number of file downloads sustained by their IR. However, commonly used analytics tools are unsuited for this purpose and produce results that dramatically under-count or over-count file downloads. As well, although statistics can sometimes be accessed through the various repository interfaces, without an agreed standard it is impossible to reliably assess and compare usage data across different IRs in any meaningful way.

The first part of this presentation will explain the reasons for the inaccuracies in most IR download counts and will introduce a new web service called Repository Analytics and Metrics Portal (RAMP), which provides much more accurate counts of file downloads to IR managers, with almost no installation or training requirements. Aggregated data collected with RAMP also creates the potential for interesting new streams of research about IR. RAMP was developed with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The second half of this presentation will focus on another approach at standardizing institutional research data download statistics: IRUS-UK, a national aggregation service, which contains details of all content downloaded from participating IRs in the UK. By collecting raw usage data and processing them into item-level usage statistics, following rules specified by COUNTER, IRUS-UK provides comparable and authoritative standards-based data and also acts as an intermediary between UK repositories and other agencies.

About the speakers

Paul Needham is the Research and Innovation Manager at Kings Norton Library, Cranfield University. For the last ten years, he has primarily worked on Jisc-funded projects, initiatives and services relating to usage statistics based on the COUNTER standard. These include IRUS-UK and JUSP (the Jisc Usage Statistics Portal). He is a member of the NISO SUSHI Standing Committee, the COUNTER Executive Committee and the COUNTER Robots Working Group, and co-chair of the COUNTER Technical Advisory Group. For the past 18 months, Paul has been deeply involved, along with other COUNTER members, working on the development of Release 5 (R5) of the COUNTER Code of Practice, which has been designed to ensure that it is internally consistent, unambiguous, and flexible, making it easy for publishers and repositories to be compliant.

Kenning Arlitsch is dean of the library at Montana State University, where he leads a research library actively engaged in student success, statewide collaboration and the university’s research enterprise. In his 24-year career as a professional librarian, he has held positions in library instruction, digital library development, and IT services. His funded research has focused on search engine optimization, as well as measuring impact and use of digital repositories. He writes a regular column in the Journal of Library Administration and serves on the editorial board of Library Hi Tech. Arlitsch holds a MLIS from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a Ph.D. in library and information science from Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany. His dissertation on Semantic Web Identity examined how well research libraries and other academic organizations are understood by search engines.

Either you missed it or want to listen to it again: Slides and the recording of today’s webinar are now available

We had such a diverse audience today for COAR Members-only webinar: “Driving Traffic to Institutional Repositories: How Search Engine Optimisation can Increase the Number of Downloads from IR” by Kenning Arlitsch, Dean of the Library at Montana State University.

Thanks ever so much to those who made it and joined us. The slides and the recording are now available through our COAR Community in Zenodo.

Elsevier acquisition highlights the need for community-based scholarly communication infrastructure

This blog post was written jointly by Kathleen Shearer, Executive Director of COAR, and Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC, and is also available on the SPARC website.

September 6, 2017

Like many others in the scholarly community, we were very disappointed to learn about the recent acquisition by Elsevier of bepress, the provider of the popular Digital Commons repository platform. (1) The acquisition is especially troubling for the hundreds of institutions that use Digital Commons to support their open access repositories. These institutions now find their repository services owned and managed by Elsevier, a company well known for its obstruction of open access and repositories. (2)

While we were disappointed, we were not surprised. Elsevier’s interest in bepress and Digital Commons is reflective of the company’s long term strategy to stake an ownership claim in all the functions vital to the research cycle—from data gathering and annotation, to sharing and publication, to analytics and evaluation. Prior high-profile acquisitions (including SSRN and Mendeley) have made this strategy crystal clear. While this might be a smart business move on the part of a commercial company, it presents significant challenges and risks to the academic and research community.

The dangers inherent in the increasing control of crucial research communication functions in the hands of a small number of commercial players are well-known and well-documented. (3) The dysfunction in the academic journal market serves as a case in point. This consolidated control has led to unaffordable costs, limited utility of research articles, the proliferation of western publishing biases, and a system in which publisher lock-in through big deal licenses is the norm. This situation is damaging for the research enterprise, individual researchers, and for society. Further consolidation of the market across functions and platforms—including key elements like research information systems and open access repositories—will exacerbate this already unhealthy situation.

As organizations and communities, COAR and SPARC have spoken out and regularly taken action to support researchers and academics in taking back control of the research enterprise  to ensure that it functions in a manner that has the public good at its center. We share the end goals of maximizing the benefits of research through investing in and sustaining an ecosystem that nurtures openness, innovation, diversity, and equity. We also share a commitment to supporting the vital role that open access repositories play in making this kind of an ecosystem a reality.

COAR’s Next Generation Repositories initiative aims to position repositories, libraries, and research institutions as the foundation for a distributed, globally networked infrastructure for scholarly communication. This work involves developing new functionalities for repositories on top of which layers of value added services, such as peer review, can be deployed. (4) We believe that an international network of next generation repositories, collectively managed by the scholarly community, has the power to transform our system for communicating research—making it more research-centric, and open to and supportive of innovation. The use of open source platforms, with appropriate community governance, is also critical to this goal and to preventing greater commercial control of scholarly content and associated services. COAR has also been working to strengthen and align the major repository networks around the world to help advance this vision. (5)

Rather than viewing the bepress acquisition as simply another occasion to register our collective disappointment, we are committed to making the development of community-owned infrastructure a priority, and to using this opportunity to catalyze positive community action. This acquisition has highlighted the vulnerability of the research communication enterprise and underscores the need for us to more clearly articulate our vision for the future of scholarly communication, the principles associated with that vision. In the coming months, COAR and SPARC will work together to move this discussion forward, and collaborate with the broader library community and other stakeholders to undertake the actions required to ensure that research communications is a community supported and owned enterprise.

(1) See the news article: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/08/03/elsevier-makes-move-institutional-repositories-acquisition-bepress

(2) https://www.coar-repositories.org/activities/advocacy-leadership/statements-and-guidelines/petition-against-elseviers-sharing-policy/

(3) https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/jun/27/profitable-business-scientific-publishing-bad-for-science

(4) https://www.coar-repositories.org/activities/advocacy-leadership/working-group-next-generation-repositories/

(5) https://www.coar-repositories.org/activities/advocacy-leadership/aligning-repository-networks-across-regions/aligning-repository-networks-international-accord/

Upcoming COAR Members-Only Webinar: Driving Traffic to Institutional Repositories

You are invited to COAR Members-Only Webinar: “Driving Traffic to Institutional Repositories: How Search Engine Optimisation can Increase the Number of Downloads from IR” by Kenning Arlitsch, Dean of the Library at Montana State University.

Date: September 18th, Monday at 16:00 CEST / 08:00 MDT. Online registration is required by September 14th.

For more about the event please visit the webinar page.

COAR Annual Report 2016/17 published

The public version of the association’s Annual Report of the year 2016/17 is available now. The report contains information about strategy and outreach, annual meetings, activities of the Executive Board, Executve Director and Office as well as working and interest group accomplishments. Moreover, the report covers themes like marketing and communications, membership, publications and representation of COAR at major international and regional conferences. An internal version is available for members and partners only. The public version can be found here.

COAR Member-Only Webinar: DSpace-CRIS: How to Bring Repositories and CRIS/RIMS Together

COAR Member-Only webinar: DSpace-CRIS: How to Bring Repositories and CRIS/RIMS Together will take place on July 10th at 9:30am CEST. Please register by July 7th, Friday.

CRIS/RIMS (Current Research Information Systems / Research Information Management Systems) are becoming more and more relevant to monitor research activities and outputs, highlighting strengths and weaknesses of institutional performance and providing insight for budget allocation, collaboration and funding opportunities, etc.

Susanna Mornati, COO of 4Science, will introduce challenges and opportunities of CRIS/RIMS from the perspective of the repository managers. DSpace-CRIS, its main functionalities and its added value for institutions, including the integration with ORCiD and the new add-on modules for viewing images and documents, video/audio streaming and data management will be presented.

Andrea Bollini, CTIO of 4Science, will present the open source technologies and the international standards adopted for DSpace-CRIS (e.g.: IIIF and CKAN), the interoperability with external systems and the new enhancements that came with the latest releases. The evolution from traditional IRs to components of a VRE (Virtual Research Environment) will be explored.

Please see the event page for more details.

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