Opening the Heart of Science: A Review of the Changing Roles of Research Libraries

Author : Jorge Revez

In a world of information overload and data deluge, is opening science a research library’s duty? Or is the openness of science deeply changing libraries, ultimately converting them into something else?

The purpose of the review is to highlight the challenging issues stemming from the relationship between research and libraries. A broad literature analysis was performed focused on the intersection of three different perspectives: (1) the future of research libraries, (2) the emerging new roles, and (3) the ongoing openness of science.

Libraries are still at the heart of science but challenged by several stakeholders within the complexity of present science production and communication. Research support services, research data management, or research information management are emerging roles, among others, sustaining an open path where libraries thrive to be more collaborative while looking forward to establishing new partnerships.

URL : Opening the Heart of Science: A Review of the Changing Roles of Research Libraries


Reflective Practice: Eight Stages of Publishing a Scientific Research Paper

Author : Stephen K. Donovan

This paper suggests a methodology of academic paper classification for the scientist intending to contribute to peer-reviewed scientific literature. This will enable the progress of the typescript through the publication system to be accurately determined at any stage.

The publication process is split into eight subdivisions of differing worth and import: in navel contemplation; in preparation; submitted; in review; revision, revised, and resubmitted; accepted; in press; and publication.

Papers in navel contemplation are referred to as in preparation by many, which can be an embarrassment when asked exactly what has been prepared. Rather than listing papers as in preparation in academic submissions, it is better to list them as unpublished data until published.

Efficient authors keep a close watch on their papers between submission and the proof stage. They must be sufficiently organized to manage their publications and to be aware when things slow down.

The methodology is flexible and, if it does not work for some authors, then they have a simple framework to adapt to their own preferences. In short, scientists need to show care and not be overly optimistic about the progress of any paper.

URL : Reflective Practice: Eight Stages of Publishing a Scientific Research Paper


Commons Praxis: Toward a Critical Political Economy of the Digital Commons

Author : Benjamin J Birkinbine

The concept of the commons has provided a useful framework for understanding a wide range of resources and cultural activities associated with the creation of value outside of the traditional market mechanisms under capitalism (i.e., private property, rational self-interest, and profit maximization).

However, these communities often continue to intersect with capital and the state attempts to appropriate their resources. Recent scholarship has sought to unpack some of the contradictions inherent in the claims made about the revolutionary potential of the commons by offering conceptual frameworks for assessing commons-based projects.

This paper builds upon this research by developing a two-pronged argument. First, by drawing examples from the free software movement, I argue that critical political economy provides the most useful analytical framework for understanding the contradictions inherent in the relationship between capital and the commons. Second, I argue for a commons praxis that attempts to overcome some of these contradictions.

Within this discussion, I build on the notion of ‘boundary commoning’ to understand organisational form, and I develop the concept of ‘subversive commoning’ for understanding various forms of commoning that seek to undermine the capitalist logics of the digital commons.

URL : Commons Praxis: Toward a Critical Political Economy of the Digital Commons

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Collectivity and collaboration: imagining new forms of communality to create resilience in scholar-led publishing

Authors : Janneke Adema, Samuel A. Moore

The Radical Open Access Collective (ROAC) is a community of scholar-led, not-for-profit presses, journals and other open access (OA) projects. The collective promotes a progressive vision for open access based on mutual alliances between the 45+ member presses and projects seeking to offer an alternative to commercial and legacy models of publishing.

This article presents a case study of the collective, highlighting how it harnesses the strengths and organizational structures of not-for-profit, independent and scholar-led publishing communities by 1) further facilitating collective efforts through horizontal alliances, and by 2) enabling vertical forms of collaboration with other agencies and organizations within scholarly publishing.

It provides a background to the origins of the ROAC, its members, its publishing models on display and its future plans, and highlights the importance of experimenting with and promoting new forms of communality in not-for-profit OA publishing.

URL : Collectivity and collaboration: imagining new forms of communality to create resilience in scholar-led publishing


Ethnic Diversity Increases Scientific Impact

Authors : Bedoor K AlShebli, Talal Rahwan, Wei Lee Woon

Inspired by the numerous social and economic benefits of diversity, we analyze over 9 million papers and 6 million scientists spanning 24 fields of study, to understand the relationship between research impact and five types of diversity, reflecting (i) ethnicity, (ii) discipline, (iii) gender, (iv) affiliation and (v) academic age.

For each type, we study group diversity (i.e., the heterogeneity of a paper’s set of authors) and individual diversity (i.e., the heterogeneity of a scientist’s entire set of collaborators). Remarkably, of all the types considered, we find that ethnic diversity is the strongest predictor of a field’s scientific impact (r is 0.77 and 0.55 for group and individual ethnic diversity, respectively).

Moreover, to isolate the effect of ethnic diversity from other confounding factors, we analyze a baseline model in which author ethnicities are randomized while preserving all other characteristics.

We find that the relation between ethnic diversity and impact is stronger in the real data compared to the randomized baseline model, regardless of publication year, number of authors per paper, and number of collaborators per scientist.

Finally, we use coarsened exact matching to infer causality, whereby the scientific impact of diverse papers and scientists are compared against closely matched control groups. In keeping with the other results, we find that ethnic diversity consistently leads to higher scientific impact.


Data Sustainability and Reuse Pathways of Natural Resources and Environmental Scientists

Author : Yi Shen

This paper presents a multifarious examination of natural resources and environmental scientists’ adventures navigating the policy change towards open access and cultural shift in data management, sharing, and reuse.

Situated in the institutional context of Virginia Tech, a focus group and multiple individual interviews were conducted exploring the domain scientists’ all-around experiences, performances, and perspectives on their collection, adoption, integration, preservation, and management of data.

The results reveal the scientists’ struggles, concerns, and barriers encountered, as well as their shared values, beliefs, passions, and aspirations when working with data. Based on these findings, this study provides suggestions on data modeling and knowledge representation strategies to support the long-term viability, stewardship, accessibility, and sustainability of scientific data.

It also discusses the art of curation as creative scholarship and new opportunities for data librarians and information professionals to mobilize the data revolution.


David Allan Bromley: The Early Champion of Information Super Highway and Open Access to Science

Author : Randy Ray

Having grown up as a small boy on a farm in Northern Canada without plumbing or electricity, David Allan Bromley went on to become the first sterling Professor of the sciences at Yale University, Chair of its Physics Department, and Dean of Engineering; at various times President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Union of Pure and Applied Physics, and the American Physical Society; the first cabinet-level assistant to the President of the United States for Science and Technology with direct access to the President; and the Senate-confirmed Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

He was an early champion of high speed network which he called ‘data superhighway’ now known as the Internet and Information superhighway, as well as the concept of Open Access to Science. He was a leading figure in nuclear physics. In the area of public policy he will be remembered as one of the most effective Science Advisers to the President of the United States.