Saturday, January 20, 2007

ALA Midwinter Meeting - 3 ACRL/SPARC Forum on Public Access

SPARC is the acronym for the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition. The forum is on public access and features a panel presentation and discussion. By "Public Access" I assumed that they were talking about open access.

[I arrived late to the session and missed the first speaker's presentation]

Carl T. Bergstrom, Dept. of Biology at the University of Washington spoke about "Fostering a Culture of Open Access"

Benefits to academics of open access: Authors attain a broader distribution of their work which, in turn, will bring them higher citation rates, global accessibility and make their work available beyond academia. Readers attain instant access to what one wants to read as well as accessibility via a very power search and indexing. He also cited the economic benefits of OA to publishers in a subscription model, to publishers (and readers) in the author pays model.

He posed the question do authors self-archive their publications? He described a study of the top ten economics journals that seemed to indicate that in most cases (9 of 10) one could find the articles published in them freely available on the Internet. In the field of physics, about 95% of articles published in the top journals are freely available on the Internet. But in political science and evolutionary biology the percentages are strikingly lower. He hypothesized that the difference between fields is differences in the publishing and information sharing cultures of each discipline.

An additional benefit that he sees is that people actually read and respond to research papers which is accelerating the rate of research and knowledge. He suggests that academics foster a culture of open access at every stage of the research process.

He's working on a project that seeks to create a criterion for judging article relevance other than impact factor (which he feels is not a good proxy for journal influence). His criteria, eigenfactor uses the entire network of links similar to Google's page rank process. The Eigenfactor process allows judgements to be made of how much time researchers spend with each journal. It also allows an examination of cross-disciplinary citation and the impact of non-journal publications in various fields. It includes journals that are not included in the ISI index at all. See

Ellen Duranceau presented on "Eight Principles for an Emerging Ecosystem"

The idea of the "commons" is not a new one, just updated thanks to new communication technology.

She's taken Simon Levin's eight principles (Fragile Dominion) for maintaining the ecological system and what he calls the biological commons and applied them to the information commons.

1. Reduce uncertainty: move beyond traditional services and systems. Provide support for the OA repository, for faculty publishing in the OA domain. This can come from faculty but should also come from administrators.

2. Expect surprise: grow awareness of new publishing opportunities and prepare for them.

3. Maintain heterogeneity: resilience is necessary because there will be no single model to support OA in the near future.

4. Sustain Modularity: move away from hierarchical organizational structures, make services available to users to use in their own ways via modular designs.

5. Preserve redundancy: archiving models should have built-in redundancy; sufficient

6. Tighten feedback loops: includes new pricing models that make the market work; what's reasonable? The University of California's value-based pricing is one that might help answer that question.

7. Build trust: "evolution works most effectively when individuals interact most with their near-neighbors"; building cross-disciplinary relationships on campuses as well as between other campus groups (like librarians and administration).

8. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you: "we're all in this together, it's an ecosystem", "we can harness the forces of evolution and self-organization for the common good"

1 comment:

Dorothea said...

Thanks for the summary! Very useful.

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