Friday, October 23, 2009

And Yet More on Open Access

... this news just in. The faculty at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, passed an open access mandate similar to the one passed by Harvard's Faculty of Arts & Sciences. Trinity is the first liberal arts college to pass such a mandate.

The news is so fresh I don't have anything to link to, but you will no doubt be reading about it in the Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed on Monday.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

More on Open Access

A bill currently in Congress would instruct federal agencies that provide significant funds for research to ensure that the results of that publicly funded research are made public. (That's a lot of "public" in that last sentence, but hey, there's a reason for that. It's a simple equation: public funding of research = public knowledge.)

Publishers of that research - some of them for-profit organizations and others non-profit scholarly societies - are naturally wary of losing their monopoly on content and the revenues brought in by subscriptions, but libraries are having trouble sustaining increasing subscription costs and scholars have been pushing for their right to share their research. Many publishers have already agreed to let authors post copies of their work on institutional websites. (You can find out what publishers' policies are by looking them up in the SHERPA/RoMEO database.)

SPARC, an organization of librarians and scholars who are pushing for open access, have published useful guides such as one on campus collaborations for publishing and another on funding models. Though the Association of American University Presses supported a bill that would rule out open access mandates for publicly-funded research, ten presses broke ranks and issued a statement supporting open access. They've found ways to make it work for them in support of their scholarly mission.

The bill now in Congress - the Federal Research Public Access Act - is limited in scope to only a certain kind of research: that which is funded by public dollars. The National Institutes of Health has shown how this can work with PubMed Central, a clearinghouse of published research funded by NIH grants.

If you'd like to read more about it, seasoned with a dose of opinion, see the Peer to Peer Review column written by one of our librarians in Library Journal's Academic Newswire. Or visit the Alliance for Taxpayer Access site.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Open Access Week

Happy Open Access Week! What are we celebrating? The gathering momentum of a movement to make research more available by changing the dynamic of how it is produced, presented, and accessed.

Basically, scholars write up their research to share it. They submit it to their peers for review through the channels of book and journal publishers. Then their work becomes a layer of understanding as more research is built upon it and our understanding of the world is deepened.

Or at least that's the theory. In practice, there's a bottleneck.

Though the labor behind creating and reviewing research is part of a scholar's job, not a commercial enterprise, the results are often published by commercial publishers - whose prices can be too expensive for libraries. Journal subscription costs rise some ten percent annually. Some journals cost over $10,000 a year. And since publishers typically assume the copyright over work they publish, libraries that don't subscribe often have to pay $35 - $50 for the right to get a copy of an article made at another library. That money goes to the publisher, not to the author or the library. And that seems particularly odd when the research is paid for by our tax dollars through federal funding for basic research.

The open access movement is an attempt to make research conducted for the public good more easily available to more people. Here's how the Open Access Week website describes it:

Open Access is a growing international movement that uses the Internet to throw open the locked doors that once hid knowledge. It encourages the unrestricted sharing of research results with everyone, everywhere, for the advancement and enjoyment of science and society.

Open Access is the principle that all research should be freely accessible online, immediately after publication, and it’s gaining ever more momentum around the world as research funders and policy makers throw their weight behind it.

The Open Access philosophy was firmly articulated in 2002, when the Budapest Open Access Initiative was introduced. It quickly took root in the scientific and medical communities because it offered an alternative route to research literature that was frequently closed off behind costly subscription barriers.

Now Open Access is on a roll. Recent Funder Mandates — including that of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (the world’s largest research funder), which now requires that all their funded research be placed in an openly accessible database, and Harvard University — have further strengthened the prospects for Open Access to all research.

We'll post more this week on the topic, but meanwhile, here are some resources on the issues:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Win $1,200!

Applications are now available for the Patricia Lindell Scholarship. The scholarship, established through the generosity of the Gustavus Library Associates, awards a junior or senior student $1,200 to undertake a research project for the Gustavus library. This year's project focuses on how undergraduates utilize space in academic libraries. During spring semester 2010, the recipient of the scholarship will work with Professor Julie Gilbert to design and execute an ethnographic study exploring the use of space in our library; the study will ultimately provide insight into the ways the library can better meet the needs of Gustavus students. To apply, pick up an application at the library circulation desk and complete by November 9. Questions? Contact Julie Gilbert by email at or x7552.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

American Archives Month

October is designated by the Society of American Archivists as “American Archives Month.” The SAA calls this month a time to “celebrate the American record” and raise public awareness about the importance of archives to the preservation of American history and culture.

For our part in the celebration, the College Archives is displaying an “Inside Look” at our collection including a display case of various documents and artifacts relating to the history of the college. This display, created by intern Erin Anderson, is located just outside of the archives’ office on the library’s third floor. We will also be offering behind-the-scenes tours of the archives storage and work areas. These two sessions will occur on October 20 at 10:30 am and again on October 26 at 2:30 pm. If you have any questions, please contact Jeff Jenson in the College and Lutheran Church Archives.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Nobel Conference 45

If you're on campus this year, chances are you're enjoying the irony of pouring rain on a Nobel Conference concerning water resources.

Regardless, this year's conference promises to be eye-opening. Though water may be an uncertain resource, we certainly have excellent resources related to the conference in our Audio Visual Department in the Library.

Please stop by the service counter on the first floor for more information on our videos.

*Thank you to Paige A. for creating an appealing display featuring some of our materials.*

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Music Everywhere! -New borrowing policy for CD's

We have a vast collection of musical compact discs (aka cd's) in the Music Library. Previously students were unable to borrow them, they needed to be used in the library. Now students have the ability to check out music cd's for a 7 day loan period. This is exciting and we hope students will take advantage of this new collection opening up to them!