Modified agenda submitted by MIG was adopted, and item dealing with Prof. Dan Fishman was moved up to second time slot.
The work of this committee should build on the foundation laid by the predecessor committee (Scholarly Communication Steering Committee, SCSC). The overarching objective is to continue efforts to educate the faculty about scholarly communication issues and help guide them to find and use new and more cost effective publishing models. MIG stressed in particular:
Prof. Fishman has been exploring how to start up a new online psychology journal for some months now, and has done extensive research on how this might be done as summarized in a 12 point handout distributed at a meeting with library personnel on 2/12/03 (attendees, D. Fishman, M. Gaunt, L. Langschied, J. E. Boyle, Grace Agnew). He has gone so far as to identify a proposed editorial board of some 60 "high-status" leaders in the field, who would be available to deal with issues of content, refereeing, marketing, etc. The Scholarly Communications Committee views his request for library support and participation in this start-up project very favorably, in principle, but also recognizes that the role of the library needs to be carefully defined, particularly with regard to demands on RULS personnel, resources, and funds (especially the latter, in light of the funding crisis facing the state and the university).
After an extended discussion, MIG proposed the following course of action, which incorporated a number of ideas offered by the committee members and also addressed concerns about limits on what the library was prepared to do:
Finally, we know that a few Rutgers faculty members have already gone through the process of starting up new e-journals on their own, without any assistance from the library. It was suggested that we could learn some valuable lessons from these people, and the proposal was made that a meeting be set up with the committee for early April. HMD will make the contacts and schedule the meeting.
A major recommendation of SCSC was the creation of a new Digital Publications Office at the University level, under the joint sponsorship of the Office of the VP for Academic Affairs, RULS, the Computing Center, and the University Press. The principal function of this office would be "to facilitate faculty exploration of how the new electronic media can be utilized for the purpose of dissemination of scholarship….". The Committee agreed with the objective but decided that this was not an auspicious time to pursue this goal in light of the change in administration and upper level personnel, the uncertainties introduced by the proposed merger, and the looming budget cuts. However, some of the specific functions envisioned for this office still make sense and ought to be followed up, especially the recommendations about encouraging the development of new electronic journals for the distribution of Rutgers scholarship, and the creation at Rutgers of a pilot open access server for articles submitted by the university academic community. Another recommendation deemed worthy of continuing interest is the identification and cataloging of e-journals already created by Rutgers faculty members. Finally, the suggestion was made that the Committee create a web page covering information relevant to the work of the Committee and which would serve as kind of an internal reference resource that would be helpful to all.
RGS reminded everyone that we have an established procedure for cataloging new e-resources for inclusion in IRIS. An online form needs to be filled out and submitted to the Acquisitions Dept.
MIG called this to the attention of the committee as an example of a self-archiving project that might be of interest at Rutgers. See the following URL for full information:
(ROMEO = Rights Metadata for Open archiving)
(I know, I know---doesn't make sense to me either!)
It will perform a series of stakeholder surveys to ascertain how 'give-away' research literature (and metadata) is used, and how it should be protected. Building on existing schemas and vocabularies (such as Open Digital Rights Language) a series of rights elements will be developed. A solution for the protection of the IPR in metadata itself will also be created.
Several of us (MIG, RGS, HMD) met with Prof. J. Kohn on Feb. 6 to discuss his further thoughts on scholarly communications issues in the aftermath of the symposium organized last spring by SCSC. Prof. Kohn had expressed interest in any follow-up actions that might have resulted from the programs launched by SCSC (he had served as one of the presenters at the symposium). I will forward to the full committee my notes on that meeting, but one of the issues he raised concerned his perception that the quality of refereeing in the sciences had deteriorated markedly in recent years, possibly because of the increase in the volume of materials sent to a limited number of reviewers. He also contended that the quality of many of the science articles appears to have fallen commensurately. Our discussion was fairly wide ranging and you will find his opinions interesting and provocative.
RGS asked that we begin thinking about how best to communicate with faculty about any actions that might ultimately be taken by RULS to rein in our costs associated with Science Direct, and which would inevitably result in loss of access to some as yet undetermined number of Elsevier titles. Bob argued that we will need to undertake an educational campaign to inform the faculty as to why we are taking the actions that we are currently thinking about, and if possible to enlist their support. This will not be easy and will require further discussion and planning by the Committee.