Minutes of April 20, 2007 Meeting

Agnew, Axelrod, Devanas, Gaunt, Golbeck, Grassle, Kirkland, Masschaele, Morrell, Novak, Wasserman

Scholarly Communication

Gaunt distributed a description of the Scholarly Communication Committee resulting from discussions in this committee and in the Libraries. The initial members for a few months will be within the Libraries. The main focus initially is to agree upon our internal processes and responsibilities that will allow us to support the scholarly communication initiatives that the teaching faculty may want. Elections among the library faculty are taking place now for positions on the committee. The specific areas for initial review are outlined in the charge. Advisory committee members suggested that we include students on the committee in the second phase, as they have less traditional ideas related to the use of technologies and are more conversant with technology applications.

Gaunt asked about priority areas on which the Libraries could focus related to new modes of scholarly communication. Open access seemed an obvious choice. While most members understood the value of open access, they were not sure their colleagues would be enthusiastic about submitting their publications in the Rutgers repository. Some of the concern is related to the ease with which this could be done. Others might need convincing of the value. Members thought that it would be best for the Libraries to focus on faculty or departments that are interested and willing to contribute. It was felt that the successful experiences of faculty would be the best marketing tool for persuading other faculty to participate. It was also noted that there are many examples of new services at Rutgers that were not maintained and supported over time, so there is a credibility issue for services at Rutgers that will result in a "wait and see" attitude among Rutgers faculty. This is not an issue specific to the libraries but to the university generally. Having senior faculty members contributing their works would be beneficial. Grassle noted that her department is voluntarily self-archiving their publications on the website.

Additionally, we would need to demonstrate the benefits of depositing publications in a repository, such as the ease with which a department could create an annual report if all their faculty publications were in the repository; the benefits for advertising the strengths of a department both internally and externally; the use in outside reviews; and for promotion processes. Data already exists on the individual impact that open access provides for the researcher.

Another area of potential focus is education about publishing contracts and the retention of rights to use materials for other purposes, such as teaching, and in presentations. The members were receptive to guidelines for language that could be used in contracts that would allow them to use their publications in a variety of other venues. Wasserman noted that contracts for books are different than journal articles and there might not be such flexibility to make the book open access. Gaunt noted that while some portions of the guidelines might be relevant, the main focus of open access has been on journal articles.

Gaunt also noted that the Libraries have a technology infrastructure to publish open access journals, and are currently publishing a few. While we have experience with this technology, we are not sure that we should continue doing so as a priority because it is not a venue for RU faculty publications. Masschaele noted that departments might not value scholarship in online publications at the same time that younger faculty may be publishing this way. Axelrod commented that the disciplines behave differently, with many, especially in the sciences, widely accepting peer-reviewed scholarship in online publications. There was interest in the Libraries covering the cost of RU faculty publishing in open access journals. But there was no particular enthusiasm for RUL publishing open access journals as a priority.

Rutgers Digital Repository, RUcore

Agnew described the progress on developing the Libraries digital repository. A brief description is included in the agenda packets. She noted that an IMLS grant from the federal government for the Digital NJ Highway (NJDH), a collaboration to digitize materials related to NJ across the state, provided an opportunity for Rutgers to develop the same open-source software that it is using for the repository. We are almost ready to go live with contributions to the Rutgers repository in most formats, but we are developing the capability to support websites and data sets. While other states have statewide digital projects similar to the NJ Digital Highway, none of them have some of the sophisticated features of the NJ project. The most impressive is the ability to create collections dynamically. That is, one could put all their digital objects in the NJ Digital Highway where they are searchable as part of the large database, and at the same time have them searchable and displayable within collections of the organization's choosing, on their own website. This would be of some benefit for RU departments that do not have the local website support, which Masschaele remarked was a problem for many departments. The department could create a simple website, and have all the faculty publications pulled up from the repository under faculty names, under subject strengths of the departments, or whatever heading they had on their website. There would be no need for local website programming and updating to have this occur. It was also noted that integrating with faculty surveys would be very useful because it would save faculty time by easing an ongoing faculty administrative commitment.

Gaunt asked about other priorities for repository content that would be benefit the university. Golbeck asked about instructional materials. Agnew responded that the repository is meant to preserve materials for the long term, so we are using a ten-year cycle as a measure of the importance of having materials preserved. Some instructional materials and faculty presentations would fall into this category. Axdelrod asked whether everything was open access. Agnew noted that the current priority for the repository, as identified in strategic planning, is to offer open access resources, to enable multidisciplinary use and to increase the impact of Rutgers' resources. Archiving materials with restricted access would be a policy rather than a technical issue. A question was asked about whether resources are surfaced via Google. Agnew responded that resources are not currently surfaced via Google because New Jersey Digital Highway participants did not want their resources surfaced via Google unless watermarks were provided on each image. Agnew noted that the libraries plan to surface faculty publications via Google through collection specific changes to web headers. Honors theses were suggested as an important collection to have, as both the faculty and students refer to them often. If the Libraries chose to digitize their own collections, it should be based on our knowledge of use. Masschaele suggested 18th century collections where there are strengths at the university, and Kirkman suggested 78s for music, and the early Handel manuscripts in special collections. Masschaele noted that the digital strategies the repository is developing for organizing collections could support the development of student information literacy skills, if, for example, students developed dynamic collections and assessed their usefulness. Agnew responded that tools such as dynamic collections and other tools under development reside at a different technology layer and do not affect the underlying data so could certainly be used to increase student information literacy skills.

Agnew noted that we must pay attention to copyright, which precludes digitizing some materials. She also mentioned that the many google projects would be providing full-text books, but not at the preservation quality that we expect to do in the repository, but none the less useful. The Libraries are currently developing strategies for adding inks in IRIS on records for the print books to the digital copies available. We need to work with faculty who have expressed interest in projects that would allow us to experiment with data sets. Other digital projects may come from specific interests expressed by the faculty.

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