16 February 2008

Open Access Collections

Thursday, Library Lovers Day, Valentines Day -- I'm at Open Access Collections at Customs House in Brisbane. (It seems that the 8.01 train from the Gold Coast is late enough for everyone to get a seat. I must say that typing on the train is not easy on the eee pc.) This is an APSR event also supported by QULOC.
Customs House is a University of Queensland facility located on the Brisbane River in the CBD. Too bad I didn't bring my camera - you will have to be satisfied with this one on FlickR by Brewbooks. The facility is used for functions including weddings as well as educational events like this one. There was a wedding on another floor while we were there.

Brisbane River Walk and Customs House by Brewbooks
Much of this post is just my rough notes - sorry - I just don't have the time to write this up properly.

Tom Cochrane welcomed everyone and told us "it's never too late" for open access. He also acknowledged progress of Australian government in getting to the position it has in advancing open access to research outputs.


Peter Murray-Rust then enlightened us on open data from the perspective of a chemist. He says he is impressed with what Australia has been doing in e-research including a pragmatism that has been missing in some other areas of the world.

His message is that data is the key thing - not the technology - and that data that is critical to saving the planet must be open for re-use, analysis and further research.

He started an entry on wikipedia for 'open data' and recommended his paper in Nature Precedings.
Murray-Rust, Peter. Open Data in Science. Available from Nature
Precedings <http://hdl.handle.net/10101/npre.2008.1526.1> (2008)

He blogs at petermr's blog: a scientist and the web.

Notes get even rougher from here on.

How do you deal with scientists and their data? Different in dealing with the single scholarly work. Funded globally. Preservation of data at long tail in science is poorly managed, supported.

People are worried about using data that is critical for the future of the planet.

PDF is 'beautiful' but inappropriate for communicating the data - how do you do something with the data in it. Scientists want complete access to the experiment. Why don't we publish experiments as we do them?

Information is badly published - uses outdated methodology that was fantastic back in the 60s but no longer relevant. Subscriptions are actually now an access fee to a database maintained by a publisher.

Factual data that is not copyrightable - but publishers consider it to be copyrighted. OSCAR - takes paper and analyses for chemistry content. Produces an interactive table of what is in the paper.

Good data could potentially be reviewed by machine!

Blue obelisk - espouses open data, open access, open standards, open source

Scientists need to use data in a different way from scholarly communications - semantic web will do this for us.

Open Access has not looked at how things are made open - more on politics, not on technical documentation. Does not specify what can be done with the papers that are open access.

Sherpa/Romeo shades have become fuzzy - not clear what you can do with the content - taken to mean you can see it, but nothing else is explicit. To a chemist, reading a chemical paper is not terribly helpful - they want the data. Raw data should be made freely available to all researchers.

Open knowledge foundation - lists licences compatible with Open Knowledge Declaration - includes cc-by and cc-by-sharealike from the CC selection, and other appropriate licences.

Talis (library systems) is discussing community licence - legal definitions that tell you what you can do with a piece of information.
Science Commons - arisen from CC when it was realised that it was designed for creative not scientific works

Bermuda rules - (Read more about it here ... Marshall, Eliot Bermuda Rules: community spirit, with teeth. http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/291/5507/1192)- protocol for implementing open access data. - Public domain does not protect data - focuses on community norms - everyone knows that you can use the data - things that are better done not by licence. Still being worked out. Only a couple of months old.

Open data is a necessity for saving the planet.


Very briefly from the middle section:
Leanne Harvey gave an update on what was happening in terms of the Australian Government's Accessibility Framework - and the news that there is no news yet on what is likely to replace the RQF in the coming years. Danny Kingsley's presentation was very similar to the one at VALA so I won't add anything more here.
Anne Fitzgerald and Scott Kiel-Chisholm discussed the legal relationships between authors, repositories, publishers and users and highlighted the sample policies, etc. that are available from the OAK Law project. They also mentioned the OAKList - a web-enabled database containing info about publisher's open access policies, practices and publisher's agreements


After lunch we got to hear the experiences of two academics.

Hubert Chanson Civil Engineer, UQ

Marketing was used as an important motivator for promoting open access repository - refutes this as an important consideration. More important as a means to support teaching and research and essential tool to share with research students. Emails requesting eprints, now papers can be simply downloaded.
Repositories are a means to addressing gaps BUT in developing countries and some areas it is difficult to access - open access provides affordable access compared to commercial databases,

Problems encountered with repository...
bugs and inconvenience for 1st 3 months
not linked with google scholar for 6 months
still flawsand bugs after 12 months

MUST be user friendly to the researcher

2/3 of downloads from eprints are not listed in ISI web of science. Despite high downloads.

Very little demand from developing countries - possibly linked with financial constraints, but for other regions such as Japan more likely to be a linguistic barrier.
Can repository statistics inform where to publish? Geographic distribution of downloads on a particular topic used to plan conferences in regions where there is strong interest.
digital bandaids do NOT replace scholarship and critial thinking




Ray Frost
, QUT - Open Access Repository - a researcher's tool
Inorganic materials research program at QUT
Must be published in refereed journals - publish in journals with an impact factor of 2 or more - or else they won't be read.

Repositories are great for..

  • student acess to recent papers
  • obtain most up to-date science
  • observe relevance of their study
  • students can download
  • enables students to plan their future


Benefit of OAR from researcher's point of view
  • increased citation rate
  • increased awareness - be on the international stage
  • time saver
  • paper is included in DEST collection = funding
  • research tool
  • colleagues and collaborators to obtain copies of manuscripts
  • saves time - don't have to send hard copies
Important that the repository does not become a management tool. Open access must be a research tool, rather than a management tool, must recognise that open access is also a teaching tool.


The last section I stayed for was a panel session with repository managers from UQ, Newcastle, UNE and QUT along with Margaret Hentry from APSR. This covered a number of topics including policies about authors who leave an institution and duplicate copies in different repositories, Also trends and difficulties faced in particular intitutions.

From what my colleagues say I would have enjoyed the last presentation - I'll have to check if the video is available from the APSR site in a couple of weeks or so. The Public Knowledge Project was included.




Image by Brewbooks
AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike Some rights reserved.
Original image available on FlickR