I had an amazing chat with a library user the other day. The kind of interaction that ends in the user proclaiming “you rock!” and that makes me happy to be a librarian. The thanks really goes to Annette Bailey, Godmar Back, and the wonderful tool that is LibX. Sure it’s a toolbar, but its real value lies in how it grabs metadata from any page displayed in your browser and creates openURLs that a link resolver can, well, resolve.
So yesterday in this chat session, I got a partial citation for an article with the call to action: can you find it?
I looked up the journal title in our a-to-z list, but (no surprises here) we did not have any access. I wanted to be able to send the user an openURL that would resolve to our SFX menu with a link to our document delivery service. In my pre-LibX days, I would have looked up the title in Ulrichs, found a database that indexed the title, searched in that database for the article, and gotten to the SFX menu from the article. Not an easy process to explain to users!
With LibX, I first copied the citation information into Google. The first result was a link to the published version on Sage (again, no access!). I grabbed the DOI from the link, dragged it to the magic button (Google Scholar search) on LibX, and the resulting Google Scholar link included a link to our openURL resolver.
This story was supposed to have this heart-warming ending:
In the end, I didn’t have to send the user that link to document delivery. The second link displayed in Google Scholar was a link to a version of the article that the author had self-archived on his faculty web page. I was able to send the user the full text of the article instead of a lengthy link and explanation of how to use document delivery. I plan to use this example to show faculty why self-archiving is important.
Full disclosure, however, means telling you that upon further investigation, the second link in Google Scholar was not from the author’s university. Also, the article was not a version of the published article, it was the published article. Turns out, the article was part of a syllabus and should have been secured behind a firewall of some sort, but was not. I alerted the instructor to chat with her university librarian post haste.
After more digging, I eventually did find the author had posted a version of his article on his faculty web space, but it took quite a bit of digging. I look forward to the day when search engines make self-archived material more easily accessible and when every author follows this practice. Because self-archiving is a win-win all around. I need to learn more about self-archiving. I’ll be reading Self-Archiving Journal Articles: A Case Study of Faculty Practice and Missed Opportunity and JISC’s information on Repositories and Self-Archiving. Ultimately, I’d like to develop procedures for my campus. Yet another summer project!
Have you heard the news out of Cambridge this week? Read the quick and dirty version at the Boston Globe. To summarize, faculty at Harvard will be required to deposit copies of scholarly articles with a yet-to-be-named Office of Scholarly Communication (within the library of course). This office will then add each paper to an institutional repository, making the research available to anyone in the world who cares to read it. Faculty who wish to publish their research in journals that do not allow them to retain their copyright can file a waiver.
I am cautiously excited about this news. If other universities (University of Wisconsin anyone?) quickly follow suit, I think the open access movement will gather some inspiring momentum.
The blogging world has already contributed many thoughtful pieces on the Harvard decision. If you are interested in reading further, try Dorothea Salo’s piece in Caveat Lector and Peter Suber’s post from Open Access News, which includes background and the full text of the Harvard statement.
Rock on open access, rock on!
I get most of my information about open access issues from Peter Suber (former philosophy professor still associated with Earlham College), who writes a blog called, Open Access news. If you are interested in all in the myriad changes that scholarly communication is undergoing, please subscribe to Suber’s blog. Suber writes today about some interesting developments over at American Chemical Society. ACS employees have been involved in some whistle blowing about the increasingly corporate behavior of ACS executives and their anti-open access stance. Read the full account here. Conflict of interest, anyone?
Taylor & Francis has joined the open access movement. Many of its journals now give authors the option of paying to have their articles published open access. The cost to authors for granting open access rights to one article is staggering at $3100. I wonder how many authors will go this route, but it’s another step down the road in this ever changing world of scholarly communication. Do you publish in Taylor & Francis journals? Be sure to check out iOpenAccess.
Murphy Library subscribes to this title, so you may not have realized it without me going ahead and just telling you: The 2007 Annual Reveiw of Anthropology is available open access. Free to the world. Thank you Annual reviews!
PhysMath Central, BioMed Central’s open access publishing platform for the fields of physics, mathematics and computer science, today announced that PMC Physics A, the first PhysMath Central journal, has published its first research articles. The articles included a groundbreaking study that could change the way physicists understand dark matter.