Google Scholar: Great at NLP-driven Rapid, Global Indexing; Awful at LOD, Author Engagement, and User-facing Metadata

Just saying, Anurag. Y’all could use some help from librarians who specialize in LOD metadata, academic/library UX, InfoDesign, and InfoLit.

Google Scholar is a barren wasteland in terms of meaningful author- and user-engagement and information literacy. No ORCIDs. No displayed DOIs. No bibtex. Just incomplete and difficult-to-edit metadata and unpredictable link resolution.

My retort: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=dlsBqrAAAAAJ&hl=en&oi=ao

Because it’s completely legal and ethical, as well as pretty f*** cool, to hack one’s own Google Scholar account to stage a Linked Open Data protest.

Three Major Reports Released on Open Data Science

Collecting and summarizing these recently issued reports in a single place:

UNESCO’s 2021 Recommendation on Open Science. The meeting of UNESCO’s General Conference throughout most of November this year resulted in a 36 page report outlining common standards for open science signed by 193 countries, forging an international definition of “open science” for the first time, calling for robust governmental, NGO, and educational funding and policy-making in this area, and highlighting the vital importance of open publications and open data to reduce global and societal inequities in all areas of life.

ITHAKA S+R’s December 1st report, Big Data Infrastructure at the Crossroads: Support Needs and Challenges for Universities. The document distills down findings from over 200 interviews with faculty facilitated by librarians from over 20 colleges and universities. Consistent themes emerged of the inherently interdisciplinary and collaborative nature of data management and data analysis, the advantages of international teams, and the lack of consistent coordination and infrastructure (technical and staffing) to support big data planning, wrangling, storage, and ongoing curation. The concluding, detailed list of recommendations for University Research Offices (including IRB processes), Departments, Libraries, Funders, Scholarly Societies, and Vendors are spot on and highly valuable.

Digital Science, Springer Nature, and figshare’s joint November 30th report, 2021 State of Open Data Report. This report stands out as “the largest longitudinal survey of researcher motivations, challenges, perceptions and behaviors toward open data with over 21,000 responses from researchers in 192 different countries over a six year period.” The results show a sharp uptick between 2020 and 2021 over concerns about misuse of data and researchers not receiving appropriate credit or acknowledgement for their work on creating, collecting, and managing data, pointing to the increasing importance of open data/science for research and institutional lag in keeping up with these trends.

Lessons in Transformational Use: The Copyright Permissions Request

In the interest of sharing my academic research and publishing experience as a form of Scholarly Communications advice, I’m appending below the full text of my email to Brill’s copyright office today asking for copyright permissions for a major transformational use of a small portion of a monograph to which Brill holds copyright. I look forward to their response and may opt to post updates here.

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Article Published in Journal of Open Humanities Data

Title: Normalized Datasets of Harnack’s Reconstruction of Marcion’s Gospel

Abstract: These two datasets are the first born-digital, normalized, peer-reviewed datasets of Harnack’s classic reconstruction of Marcion’s Gospel. The first consists of human-readable postclassical Greek, the second of lemmatized and morphologically tagged text following the openly licensed BibleWorks Greek Morphology schema. The recent deluge of critical editions of Marcion’s Gospel makes Harnack’s public domain work even more relevant as scholars turn from theology- to text-based approaches to restore Marcion’s Gospel and account for its place in the editorial history of early canonical and non-canonical Gospels. These datasets resource Marcion’s Gospel becoming a major topic of interest in Computational Linguistics research.

DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/johd.47

Unglue.it Campaign Successful

Yesterday the $3100 fundraising campaign announced six months ago concluded successfully! Thanks to the generosity of ten different donors, we were able to meet the goal in the nick of time yesterday. Because of you, my monograph (As the Bandit Will I Confess You) will be transformed into an Open Access digital book by the publisher (University of Strasbourg) and distributor (Brepols). Thank you to Eric Hellman for creating the Unglue.it project and site, as well as your donation. Thank you also to Alexander Sterkens at Brepols and Prof. Rémi Gounelle at Strasbourg for putting together the terms of the agreement to flip/unglue/unlatch this book to Open Access. It’s exciting to think about this print book getting a new, digital life as an Open Access resource!

The Moral Imperatives of Controlled Digital Lending

Library Futures, in concert with the Georgetown Intellectual Property and Information Policy (iPIP) Clinic, has recently released an excellent, succinct summary of the ethical reasons for public policy-makers to craft legislation that protects the ability of libraries to continue practicing Controlled Digital Lending:

  • CDL Maximizes ECONOMIC Efficiency and Opportunity for Communities
  • CDL Promotes Equitable and Dependable EDUCATION
  • CDL Improves the CIVIL RIGHTS Function of Libraries
  • CDL Democratizes Knowledge by Expanding ACCESS

Libraries have traditionally been not merely purchasers but more importantly stewards of content, content that they own and which they distribute on their own terms in accordance with Fair Use and First Sale law. More and more these days, Libraries are becoming mere consumers, mediators for digital content vendors to extract as much money and data as they can from their patrons. CDL preserves the traditional role of Libraries while allowing us to have alternatives to accepting restrictive, expensive, and exploitative vendor terms and licenses.

Kudos to the Library Futures team for elaborating these moral imperatives as excellent and thoughtful supplements to the legal reasoning in the CDL White Paper.

Libraries have an important role in legislative activism for the sake of the public good. Let’s get to it!

Turning Open Access Academic Books into BIPOC Art Galleries

One of the best parts about my job as a ScholComm Librarian is working with amazing students on meaningful publishing projects. As part of a team working on a Dept of Ed funded grant with our National Resource Center for Asian Languages, I had the wonderful privilege of collaborating with a team of BFA and MFA illustrators to make Vietnamese language books in support of bilingual K-12 education in Orange County. One of our illustrators, a young, gifted and Black artist by the name of Leah Simone Metters, brought tremendous energy, creativity and leadership to the project.

Now that my Open Science book experiment on the First Gospel (Qn) is almost a year old, over 1000 pages, more than 325,000 words, has over 2500 unique downloads, and is the basis for an upcoming peer-reviewed presentation in the Digital Humanities section of the Society of Biblical Literature this November, it felt like the right time to take the book to the next level of professional publishing. So I decided to commission book cover art, and I could think of no artist better suited to realize my vision for the book than Leah.

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Heartfelt Congratulations to CSU East Bay for Passing the First Green OA Policy in the CSU

Heard today from my ScholComm colleague Lana Wood that the President at CSU East Bay today signed the Green Open Access Policy passed for the second year in a row by their Academic Senate. Congrats to Lana, her policy co-champion (Vanessa Yingling from Kinesiology), the CSUEB Committee on Research, the CSUEB Academic Senate, and the CSUEB President on being on the first CSU to achieve this honor. CSUEB joins the hallowed ranks of the UCs, Harvard, MIT, Caltech, Stanford, and lots of R1, R2, M1, M2, and Liberal Arts institutions that have passed such policies!

This is not only a tremendous honor for Lana and CSUEB, but also a significant milestone in the Open Access movement and achievement in the scientific community and for the public good. Like comparable Green OA opt-out policies at other universities, this one retains faculty copyright over articles and secures default open access licenses that benefit students, the general public, and institutional web/repository usage. It’s a win-win-win for everyone except publisher monopolies. And it finally got done at the nation’s largest public university system!

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Publisher Monopoly Long-Game: Make Libraries Renters, Not Owners

Lifting up this excellent article in the Daily Beast by Jennie Rose Halperin, the Executive Director of Library Futures. It highlights the recent forum at Georgetown Law with Senator Ron Wyden and provides a quick litany of the negative impacts of ebook licensing on public education. To quote just one example:

The draconian terms mean, for example, that a single e-copy of The Diary of Anne Frank can cost a school district as much as $27 per student per year—with the lion’s share of the money going to billion-dollar publishing companies.

Library Futures is welcoming consortial and university partners to join in activism around technological and educational initiatives to preserve Library rights. Johns Hopkins has recently joined as a partner. Here’s hoping the Cal State Libraries will consider joining as well!

How to Make an Open Access Article Fee Waiver Request

Copying the letter I sent today to Cambridge University Press both as a ScholComm diary entry and as an example to authors as to how you can self-advocate for OA fee waivers. Squeaky wheels and such…

April 17, 2021

Dear Cambridge University Press Representative,

Thank you for your excellent work supporting high-quality, peer-reviewed academic publishing. I am writing as the corresponding author of an article recently accepted for your journal, Harvard Theological Review, to ask for a waiver of the Gold Open Access APC of $3200.

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