Access to Scientific Literature by the Conservation Community

Authors : Daisy Larios, Thomas M. Brooks, Nicholas B.W. Macfarlane, Sugoto Roy

Access to the scientific literature is perceived to be a challenge to the biodiversity conservation community, but actual level of literature access relative to needs has never been assessed globally.

We examined this question by surveying the constituency of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a proxy for the conservation community, generating 2,285 responses. Of these respondents, ∼97% need to use the scientific literature in order to support their IUCN-related conservation work, with ∼50% needing to do so at least once per week.

The crux of the survey revolved around the question, “How easy is it for you currently to obtain the scientific literature you need to carry out your IUCN-related work?” and revealed that roughly half (49%) of the respondents find it not easy or not at all easy to access scientific literature.

We fitted a binary logistic regression model to explore factors predicting ease of literature access. Whether the respondent had institutional literature access (55% do) is the strongest predictor, with region (Western Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) and gender (male) also significant predictors.

Approximately 60% of respondents from Western Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have institutional access compared to ∼50% in Asia and Latin America, and ∼40% in Eastern Europe and in Africa. Nevertheless, accessing free online material is a popular means of accessing literature for both those with and without institutional access.

The four journals most frequently mentioned when asked which journal access would deliver the greatest improvements to the respondent’s IUCN-related work were Conservation Biology, Biological Conservation, Nature, and Science.

The majority prefer to read journal articles on screen but prefer to read books in hard copy. Overall, it is apparent that access to the literature is a challenge facing roughly half of the conservation community worldwide.

URL : Access to Scientific Literature by the Conservation Community

Can Accessibility Liberate The “Lost Ark” of Scholarly Work?: University Library Institutional Repositories Are “Places of Public Accommodation”

Authors : Raizel Liebler, Gregory Cunningham

For any body of knowledge – an ark of power or a corpus of scholarship – to be studied and used by people, it needs to be accessible to those seeking information. Universities, through their libraries, now aim to make more of the scholarship produced available for free to all through institutional repositories.

However, the goal of being truly open for an institutional repository is more than the traditional definition of open access. It also means openness in a more general sense. Creating a scholarship-based online space also needs to take into consideration potential barriers for people with disabilities.

This article addresses the interaction between the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and university academic library based institutional repositories. This article concludes that institutional repositories have an obligation to comply with the ADA to make scholarly works available to potential users with disabilities.

For managers of institutional repositories, following the law is an opportunity to make scholarship even more widely available. University open access institutional repositories need to be accessible to existing and potential disabled users. However, there are no specific rules that university institutional repositories must follow to be compliant with the ADA’s “public accommodation” standard.

Accessibility is a changeable, moveable wall, consistently and constantly needing to be additionally inclusive of more – more technology and more users, regardless of disability or limitations.

Institutional repositories should not become the crated Ark of the Covenant with their secrets locked inside; instead, they should be as open as possible to all, sharing the scholarship inside.


Documentation and Dissemination of Indigenous Knowledge by Library Personnel in Selected Research Institutes in Nigeria

Authors : Adebola Aderemi Adeyemo, John Oluwaseye Adebayo

Indigenous Knowledge (IK) and practices are usually unwritten; relying on oral transmission and human memory. As a result, this study investigated the documentation and dissemination of Indigenous Knowledge by library personnel at five selected research institutes in Ibadan, Nigeria.

Using the descriptive survey design, six (6) questions raised to achieve the stated objectives. Structured questionnaire and interview were used for data collection. The population comprised of professionals and para-professionals library staff at Nigeria Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER), Institute of African Studies (IFRA), Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN), Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).

Purposive sampling method was used to select samples considering the resources to be expended and time involved for the study. Data were analyzed with the use of Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS 16) while simple frequency count of percentage distribution was used to present the results of findings in table.

Some of the findings of the study revealed that Indigenous Knowledge documented at the research institutes were on: Agriculture; kingship system in different towns; traditional medicine; general traditional culture; as well as traditional politics and governance. In addition, Indigenous

Knowledge practices were documented with recordings and visual documentation among other methods, and these are being done by all the library personnel. Meanwhile, Indigenous Knowledge practices are being disseminated through: video, library website, print media, direct mail, public lectures, exhibitions and displays, and exchange. Certain recommendations were made based on the findings of this study.


‘Just Google it’ – the scope of freely available information sources for doctoral thesis writing

Authors : Vincas Grigas, Simona Juzėnienė, Jonė Veličkaitė


Recent developments in the field of scientific information resource provision lead us to the key research question, namely,what is the coverage of freely available information sources when writing doctoral theses, and whether the academic library can assume the leading role as a direct intermediator for information users.


Citation analysis of doctoral theses was conducted in the summer of 2015. A total of thirty-nine theses (with 6,998 references) defended at Vilnius University at the end of 2014 was selected (30 per cent of all defended theses).

Theses were randomly chosen from different research fields: the humanities, social sciences, biomedical sciences, technological sciences, and physical sciences.


The research team was tasked with identifying whether certain resources could be found in the eCatalogue of an academic library, its subscribed databases, freely available online (through Google or Google Scholar), or whether the resources from the library`s subscribed databases are identical to those which are freely available.

The data gathering process included such resource categories as journal papers, printed and electronic books or book chapters, and other documents (legal reports, conference papers, newspaper articles, Websites, theses, etc.).


Library collections and subscribed databases could cover up to 80 per cent of all information resources used in doctoral theses. Among the most significant findings to emerge from this study is the fact that on average more than half (57 per cent) of all utilised information resources were freely available or were accessed without library support.

We may presume that the library as a direct intermediator for information users is potentially important and irreplaceable only in four out of ten attempts of PhD students to seek information.


Facilitating access to free online resources: challenges and opportunities for the library community

The volume of online content continues to grow exponentially, and much of it is freely available. Some of this content is of potentially significant value for teaching, learning and research purposes. However, ‘free to access’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘easy to find’. Taylor & Francis have conducted a research programme to help explore the issues relating to free online content discoverability from the perspective of librarians.

Our research included several focus groups, teledepth interviews and an online survey ; which together have helped build a picture of the challenges associated with surfacing free online content within an institution for educational and research purposes


Access to Digital Libraries for Disadvantaged Users …

Access to Digital Libraries for Disadvantaged Users :

“Digital libraries, designed to serve people and their information needs in the same way as traditional libraries, present distinct advantages over brick and mortar facilities: elimination of physical boundaries, round-the-clock access to information, multiple access points, networking abilities, and extended search functions. As a result, they should be especially well-suited for the disadvantaged. However, minorities, those affected by lower income and education status, persons living in rural areas, the physically disabled, and developing countries as a whole consistently suffer from a lack of accessibility to digital libraries. This paper evaluates the effectiveness and relevance of digital libraries currently in place and discusses what could and should be done to improve accessibility to digital libraries for the disadvantaged.”


Ithaka S+R US Faculty Survey 2012 Key…

Ithaka S+R US Faculty Survey 2012 :

“Key Findings :
••The role of internet search engines in facilitating discovery of scholarly resources has continued to increase. The perceived decline in the role of the library catalog noted in previous cycles of this survey has been arrested and even modestly reversed, driven perhaps to some degree by significant strategic shifts in library discovery tools and services.
•• Respondents are generally satisfied with their ability to access the scholarly literature, not least because freely available materials have come to play a significant role in meeting their needs.
•• While respondents continued to trend overall towards greater acceptance of a print to electronic transition for scholarly journals, they grew modestly less comfortable with replacing print subscriptions with electronic access. Monographs, although widely used in electronic form, present a mixed picture for any possible format transition. While some monograph use cases are quite strong for electronic versions, others – especially long-form reading – are seen to favor print by a decisive share. Even so, a growing share of respondents expects substantial change in library collecting practices for monographs in the next five years.
•• Respondents’ personal interests are the primary factor in selecting research topics, but junior faculty members report that tenure considerations play an important role, as well. Collaboration models vary significantly across scholarly fields. While humanists are less likely than scientists or social scientists
to conduct quantitative analyses, nevertheless some 25% of humanists report gathering their own data for this purpose.
•• Small but non-trivial shares of respondents use technology in their undergraduate teaching. But while most recognize the availability of resources to help them do so, many respondents do not draw upon resources beyond their own ideas or feel strongly motivated to seek out opportunities to use more technology in their teaching.
•• Respondents tend to value established scholarly dissemination methods, prioritizing audiences in their sub-discipline and discipline, and those of lay professionals, more so than undergraduates or the general public. Similarly, they continue to select journals in which to publish based on characteristics such as topical coverage, readership, and impact factor. Finally, respondents tend to value existing publisher services, such as peer review, branding, copy-editing, while expressing less widespread agreement about the value of newer dissemination support services offered by libraries that are intended to maximize access and impact.
•• Respondents perceive less value from many functions of the academic library than they did in the last cycle of this survey. One notable exception is the gateway function, which experienced a modest resurgence in perceived value. A minority of respondents sees the library as primarily responsible for teaching research skills to undergraduates. And, though still a clear minority, the share of respondents who wish to see substantial change to library staff and buildings has increased. There are large differences in perceptions between disciplinary groups: for example, a smaller share of scientists views many
library roles as very important.
•• Conferences remain at the heart of respondents’ perceptions of the role and value of the scholarly societies in which they participate. Conferences are valued for both the formal function of discovering new scholarship and informal role of connecting scholars with peers.”

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