Thursday, 19 June 2008

Various snippets

Research Information - April/May 08:
- article by Sian Harris on peer review referring to recent report from Mark Ware Consulting on behalf of the Publishing Research Consortium - quotes 93% of academics disagreed with the statement that peer review is unnecessary. However, the report does note criticism with the current approach to peer review e.g. overloading of reviewers, time taken, methods used, bias of single blind method, lack of guidance from editors. Open review is an alternative, but apparently not a popular one.
- article by Nadya Anscombe on changes to the peer review process across a number of neuroscience journals - the Neuroscience Peer Review Consortium (NPRC). The journals (22 currently) have agreed to share reviewers' comments thereby reducing the number of times a manuscript might be reviewed.
- article by John Murphy on Google Book Search - mentions the Partner Programme where Google works with publishers and the Library Programme where Google has worked with the Bodleian as well as Cornell, Princeton and Harvard. About 10,000 publishers are involved and 28 large libraries are supplying material. IPR is obviously an issue and lawsuits are underway - one area of uncertainty is orphan works although Google is tackling this by publishing only snippets.
- article by Tom Wilkie and Sian Harris on e-books. We've all been waiting a while now for e-books to really take off and the authors suggest that "despite this enthusiasm amongst researchers, however, there are formidable barriers to the wider acceptance of e-books" including file format (with XML emerging as the preferred standard); legacy file formats; effective multimedia support; archiving and preservation; standardising e-book information; pricing models; understanding user behaviour. Ebooks have a lot of potential - we can do more with the content (e.g. translations) and enable users to build their own personal libraries but like other types of content, our thinking still seems restricted by what we could achieve with paper. One concern is what the role of the librarian will be if they are no longer seen as the intermediary/gatekeeper for accessing books.
Research Information - June/July 08
- article by Nash Pal on multi-product platforms for e-products - as opposed to the current model where e-books and e-journals have developed along separate paths resulting in silos. Benefits to the user include uniform online experience; seamless search; unified access control; potentially lower management/maintenance costs. "... what is needed is an integrated front end supported by a single, comprehensive, content-agnostic set of admin tools to manage all content types".
- article by Jay Katzen on "collective intelligence" as a solution to the volume of information/data facing researchers. Katzen quotes recent research from Carol Tenopir - "Scientists now read 25% more articles from almost twice as many journals then they did 6 years ago". Essentially (although very much from a vendor perspective) the author proposes a combination of quality corpora, user-focused tools and collaborative space.
Information World Review - April 08
- Tracey Caldwell reports on Pfizer's attempt to make JAMA reveal confidential peer review documents as part of its legal case concerning its arthritis drugs Bextra and Celebrex - again, raises the question of open review
- ALPSP (Assoc Learned and Professional Society Publishers) agrees platform deal with MyiLibrary
- Peter Williams in his editorial: "Information professionals should put themselves at the heart of the current debate over payment models for information and content. As the information gatekeeper for their organisations, they exercise a major responsibility on a daily basis in deciding what information is paid for, the value of that information, and the subsequent return on investment"
- article by Tracey Caldwell on ebooks - noting that business models are still at an experimental stage. Quotes Mark Carden, senior VP at MyiLibrary "paper and shipping account for only 5-10% of the cost of a book". Refers in some detail to JISC's eBooks Observatory project and CIBER's SuperBook project. Ebooks have potential in helping librarians provide access to knowledge free at the point of use - they can incorporate Web2.0 technologies such sa social networking, tagging; they are easily updated; online chats with authors could add an interesting dimension; integration into workflow; and the idea of iChapters, content can be purchased as chunks rather than as an entire monograph or collection. Also quotes Jay Katzen, from Science Direct: "...there needs to be a publisher paradigm shift so that more information is put in at the creation of content such as better tags". Mentions the Automated Content Access Protocol which will enable publishers to make content machine readable (semantic web?). Chris Armstrong is quoted: "Journals are more granular; access is to the article, which has an abstract, while access to and abstracts for e-books tend to be at the book level. Journals are also serials, so an access habit can be built up". A key early challenge is to tackle the issue of monitoring usage to inform future purchasing decisions.
- article by Michelle Perry on new business models for publishers. Mentions O'Reilly which looked at how tutors were using their titles online and came up with the idea of an online model that allowed them to design their own books for their courses. Apparently, Elsevier has developed a product to enable medics to search for diagnoses (???). David Worlock, from Outsell, highlights 3 areas publishers must grapple with to avoid being left behind: workflow, community, and vertical search.
Information World Review - May 08
- article by Kim Thomas on grey literature reporting that regulations to mandate deposit of electronic material is in hand but unlikely to be implemented before Autumn 09. There is a hope that this regulation will allow the BL to harvest websites for grey literature. Refers to 2 projects part-funded by JISC: Manchester Uni repository of Access Grid events; and Kings repository of documents relating to committee meetings.
Information World Review - June 08
- news that OCLC members participating in Google Book Search will now be able to share their MARC records with Google, the idea being that if an individual finds a book through Google Book Search, they'll be able to drill down to find where the book is physically located
- article on open access in social sciences and humanities, reporting on the EU promoting OA through something called Action32 of the STM-based COST programme (Co-operation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research). There is increasing pressure from users to link to source data - it has been suggested that a useful first step might be to open up access to research already in the public domain.

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