All posts by colleenlyon

Evaluating Journal Quality

With the proliferation of new journals enabled by online publishing, it can be difficult for researchers to know if a particular journal is worth publishing in. Here are two resources that could help librarians and researchers when looking into an unfamiliar journal.

The first is the Quality Open Access Market (QOAM). The QOAM enlists the help of academics to evaluate a journal’s online presence and the experience of publishing with a particular journal. The journal’s website is evaluated for editorial information, peer review, governance, and workflow. This evaluation results in a Base Score Card. Authors can share their experience publishing with that particular journal, which results in a Valuation Score Card. The journal score cards are combined to give users an indication of whether this is a strong journal, weaker journal, opportunity to the publisher to improve, or a threat to the author. The QOAM measures the quality of service of the journal, not the quality of the research being published.

The other journal evaluation tool is the Journal Publishing Practices and Standards (JPPS) framework. This project was started to help journals from the global south improve their international reputation. The criteria used to assess the journal include: publication of original research, functional editorial board, verified involvement from editorial & advisory boards, accuracy of the description of the peer review and quality control processes, availability of author and reviewer guidelines, and display of editorial and publishing policies. Assessed journal are assigned to one of six levels: inactive titles, new title, no stars, one star, two stars, three stars.

These tools are not white lists or black lists. They are designed to provide some information about the transparency and quality of the publication services of a given journal. They should be used in conjunction with disciplinary knowledge, consultation with colleagues, and the author’s own professional judgment.

OA Week 2017 Summary

Thank you to everyone who helped with Open Access Week 2017 activities! I wanted to share with you a summary of our celebration this year.

In person activities:

Sign up for an ORCID ID
Tuesday, Oct. 24th, from 1-3 in the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) Building
18 students, faculty, and staff engaged with us about ORCID

Open Access Trivia Game
Wednesday, Oct. 25th, from 12-2 in the lobby of the Perry Castañeda Library (PCL)
We gave away 68 prizes, which means we talked to at least that many people. The majority of them were students, but we also talked to some faculty, staff, and visitors.

Data & Donuts: Archiving & Publishing Research Data with Texas Data Repository
Friday, Oct. 27th, from 3-4 in PCL Learning Lab 1
8 students, staff and faculty attended. Most of the attendees stayed late to continue asking questions and one person has already followed up with the presenter.

Posters in branch libraries
The posters & whiteboards we put up in branch libraries didn’t generate a lot of interaction in the form of people sharing their thoughts. I heard from folks at the branch libraries that they did notice students reading the informational poster – so hopefully we were able to get the message out.

Online activities:

TexLibris blog: https://blogs.lib.utexas.edu/texlibris/
We had four guest blog posts on TexLibris, the Libraries’ main blog, this month.

Those posts, and the one I wrote, have collected 164 page views so far this month.

Open Access at UT blog: https://blogs.lib.utexas.edu/oaw/
Our posts for OA Week on the Libraries’ Open Access blog collected 65 page views last week

Research Data Services blog: https://blogs.lib.utexas.edu/dmatut/
The Research Data Services blog collected 45 page views last week

Twitter: https://twitter.com/utdigitalrepo
Our OA Week tweets earned 3700 impressions (number of times people saw the tweet) and 43 engagements (clicking on, retweeting, following, etc) last week.

If you would like to access any of the materials we used for OA Week, they are available in Texas ScholarWorks: http://doi.org/10.15781/T2SF2MT71

Open Access Week 2017

Knowledge unfortunately isn’t free.

Much of the research being conducted at universities, colleges, and institutes around the world is written up by professors, graduate students, and research associates and published in toll-access (subscription) journals. Anyone lacking a subscription to that journal will not be able to access the articles published there. This creates a serious access problem for many people across the globe.

An alternative method of publishing, called Open Access, is gaining in popularity and it allows for anyone to read the results of research for free.

Why should I care?

The short version:

expensive journals = less access to research results, especially for those outside of wealthy higher-ed institutions

less access = less research being done and/or research not happening quickly because of access barriers

The long version:

Most scholarly work is currently published through toll-access journals. The work is given to the journals for free by researchers and faculty at colleges and universities – they do this in exchange for the prestige that comes with publishing their work. Many times the research being described in the journals was funded by public agencies such as the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. These journals charge a subscription fee for access to the articles they publish. Sometimes the subscription fees are quite reasonable and other times they are outrageously expensive. At most colleges and universities, the Library assumes responsibility for the subscription and for providing access.

For students, researchers, and faculty at wealthy institutions this arrangement has worked relatively well for the past 100+ years. For those researchers at less-wealthy institutions or those unaffiliated with a college or university, it has created an access barrier that makes research difficult. Without a subscription to a journal, a researcher needs to try contacting colleagues at other institutions that do have a subscription or needs to email the authors to see if they will send a copy. These techniques are not always successful which means those researchers are left without access to information they need.

In addition, costs for scholarly journals have been rising rapidly at rates outpacing what libraries can anticipate and plan for based on the inflation rate.  This has created an unfortunate situation in which libraries have to cancel some journal subscriptions and purchase fewer books each year in order to keep up with price increases for the journal subscriptions that are considered critical to maintain.

What is Open Access?

Open Access (OA) is the free, immediate, online availability to scholarly works without significant copyright or licensing restrictions. Put another way, it means access to scholarly and creative works without price and permission barriers.

There are two main routes to OA:

  • publish in an open access journal – this means the work is freely available from the moment of publication. This is sometimes called gold open access.
  • Deposit a copy of the work in a freely available archive – this generally happens either at the time of publication or after publication. This is sometimes called green open access.

What can I do?

As a student you can support OA by asking your professors if they publish their work openly – either in open access journals or in an openly available archive. You can also deposit your own work in the University of Texas at Austin online archive called Texas ScholarWorks.

As a researcher or faculty member you can publish your work in an open access journal, and/or you can deposit copies of your work in Texas ScholarWorks. And, you can start discussions in your department about how faculty and researchers are evaluated for promotion and tenure.

For anyone at UT:

  • Stop by tables we’ll have set up during Open Access Week. We’ll have swag, treats, games, and enthusiastic librarians who can answer your OA-related questions.
    • Tuesday, Oct. 24th, from 1:00-3:00pm in CLA on the main level
    • Wednesday, Oct. 25th, from 12:00-2:00pm in the PCL lobby
  • Come to Data & Donuts on Friday, Oct. 27th at 3:00 to learn about sharing data with the Texas Data Repository
  • Tweet about open access using #openaccess
  • Read about, write about, and talk about open access
  • Check out and share the resources we’ve created

What is Texas ScholarWorks?

Texas ScholarWorks (TSW) is an online archive managed by UT Libraries. The goal of TSW is to provide open, online access to the products of the University’s research and scholarship and to preserve these works for future generations. TSW is highly indexed by Google and managed by the Libraries for long-term preservation. It’s easy for members of the UT Austin community (faculty, researchers, students, and staff) to share their work through TSW. Simply check out the FAQs or send an email to tsw at utlists dot utexas dot edu for information about how to submit.

What is Texas Data Repository?

Texas Data Repository (TDR) is an online repository for research data managed by UT Libraries. The goal of TDR is to provide a platform that makes it easier for researchers to collaborate on projects and share the data resulting from their research. It’s easy for members of the UT Austin community (faculty, researchers, students, and staff) to share their work through TDR. Simply check out the documentation or send an email to datamanagement at lib dot utexas dot edu for information about how to submit.

OA Week Promotional Materials

We’re getting excited for Open Access Week 2017 and wanted to share some of the posters we’ve created. They are all licensed CC-BY, so go ahead and reuse/remix them!

Sticker Shock
OA and OER
Paying for Articles – Don’t Do It!
Library Haiku
ORCID Identifiers

We’re having three activities for OA Week this year.

Tuesday, Oct. 24th, 1:00-3:00pm in CLA
Stop by the CLA main floor, talk to us about ORCID, and get a cookie

Wednesday, Oct. 25th, 12:00-2:00pm in the PCL Lobby
We’ll be having a trivia game event in the lobby. Those who participate will get prizes.

Friday, Oct. 27th, 3:00-4:00 in PCL Learning Lab 1
Data & Donuts – Archiving and Publishing Research Data with the Texas Data Repository

Data & Donuts room change

Our first Data & Donuts event was a huge success – we had almost 70 people in attendance! To accommodate larger audiences, we’ve decided to move future Data & Donuts events to larger rooms. We’ll also be ordering more donuts!  With the exception of Sept. 22nd and Oct. 13th, all future Data & Donuts will be in PCL Learning Lab 1. We’ll always post a sign on Learning Lab 4 directing people in case you forget where to go.

TX Student Research Showdown

Are you a UT Austin undergrad doing research? If so, here’s your chance to show everyone why your work is so great. Undergraduate Studies is sponsoring a video and presentation competition for undergraduate researchers. Students in the first round will make two minute videos about their research. In the second and final round, students will give a six minute presentation to a live audience and judges. Prizes for the winners include an iPad and scholarships. Video submissions close on Oct. 10th. More information about this opportunity is available on the UGS website.