Minutes of December 17, 2007 Meeting

J. Boyle, T. Frusciano, H., Hoffman, J. Niessen (Co-Chair), R. Sewell (Co-Chair), J. Triggs (Recorder), R. Womack, L. Mullen (guest)

Agenda for December 17, 2007?

  1. Proposal for a Scholarly Communication Librarian and a Copyright (Intellectual Property) Librarian (Boyle, Mullen)
  2. A New Business Plan for Open Access Journals (Sewell): Towards Open Access in High Energy Physics
  3. Follow-up to Open Forum on Scholarly Communication Goals (All)
    Interpreting the scan of research center websites; role of disciplinary repositories; best practices in other repositories; liaison support for copyright education; gathering faculty input
  4. Global Resources and Scholarly Communication (Niessen)
    Building on innovations in scholarly communication outside the US; how can RUL support university global initiatives; what is the role of open access and language support across the disciplines

1. Proposal for a Scholarly Communication Librarian and a Copyright (Intellectual Property) Librarian (Boyle, Mullen)

Jeanne Boyle and Laura Mullen discussed the proposed requirements and job descriptions for two new positions: a Scholarly Communications Librarian and a Copyright (or Intellectual Property) Librarian. The descriptions were based on a study of similar positions that are proliferating at other institutions. Originally, it was thought that the jobs might be combined in one position, but further investigation suggested that it was best to keep them separate, as they will both have distinct and significant workloads.

The copyright librarian would be the central “go-to” person for questions about all copyright policies, though the copyright librarian would not usurp the roles of specialists in different areas. The preference is for a legal background that would enable the copyright librarian not only to explain but to create copyright policies, and also to liaise more effectively with the university’s central legal department, which would maintain ultimate authority, however, in legal matters. The copyright librarian would be expected to develop a set of web pages with an intense focus on copyright issues.

Working closely with the copyright librarian, though not necessarily in a single office, the scholarly communication librarian would be the primary person overseeing outreach to the different scholarly departments at Rutgers, working with the libraries’ specialist liaisons to facilitate open access archiving among researchers and disseminating information about open access publishing. The scholarly communication librarian would also assist with identifying and prioritizing digital projects growing out of such contacts.

Both librarian positions are envisioned as part of the RUL faculty, rather than as administrative positions. The issue of whether they should also have a traditional area of scholarly specialization was raised, but it was felt that since their duties would be so extensive, subject specializations would be more distracting than helpful. Both positions really entail their own fields of specialty that require their own kinds of scholarship. It is too soon to think about where the two positions might fit in the current library structure. The committee endorses both positions without prioritizing either one.

2. A New Business Plan for Open Access Journals (Sewell): Towards Open Access in High Energy Physics

Bob Sewell reported on a new business plan for open access journals: the Report of the SCOAP Working Party about efforts to work with commercial publishers, libraries, and government institutions to achieve at least limited open access journal publishing in the field of High Energy Physics. This would in effect un-bundle certain individual journals from the major publishers’ packages, and would create savings for libraries. The effort is international in scope. In fact the institutions of several countries, including Germany, Italy, and France, are close to an agreement. The authors are currently talking with various libraries and government institutions in the United States, which would have to play a major role and bear a major share in the funding. They are also talking with commercial publishers, such as Springer and Elsevier, to obtain agreement to the plan, and claim to be optimistic about success with them. The plan will fail, however, without 1) agreement from the publishers 2) funding from libraries and other institutions, particularly in the United States.
The latter requirement is more difficult in the U.S. than in Europe, which is more centralized.
Some issues were raised. The motivation of the commercial publishers is considered questionable. The main reason they have not already backed off may be the narrow scope of the current plan. “High Energy Physics” may be simply too narrow a field to have a high impact, and thus does not represent more than a marginal investment for the publishers. Most of the texts in question are already available as pre- prints. The model proposed by the plan may not work at all in broader fields, such as medicine or business, where the financial stakes are much higher.

The publishers would like at least a letter of agreement from the Rutgers University Libraries. If we were to sign such a letter, there would be no immediate outlay of funds, but we might later be approached for funds should the plan ultimately succeed. Bob will send around the “letter of agreement” for further discussion. In the meantime, the committee supports the plan in principle.

3. Follow-up to Open Forum on Scholarly Communication Goals (All)

Jim Niessen passed around a summary of the recent “scan” members of the committee made of hundreds of Rutgers University research center web sites. Of these in excess of one third were found to have at least some content, while upwards of ten percent were found to have significant content that may be worth preserving in RUcore.

How we might in fact archive this content might be in question. Some sites have individual items, such as reports and newsletters, which might be culled as individual objects for the repository, while other “informational” sites might best be saved as “snapshots” in a deep archive.

At some point we will need to query RUL faculty through liaisons to determine what content needs to be archived and how it should be done. In the meantime, Jeanne suggests identifying a selected group of the promising sites, a “short list” of the most outstanding collections of research, and providing links to these from the library web site. These target sites could later be “recruited” for the repository itself. Members of the committee will develop a short list of sites to consider at the next meeting.

4. Global Resources and Scholarly Communication (Niessen)

Jim Niessen raised the question of how RUL should support university global initiatives. It was suggested that such initiatives must be of some concern to members of all disciplines, though the weight of interest in different initiatives may not be equally distributed among the disciplines. Thus the recent Foreign Language Initiative, though of primary concern to scholars in the humanities, can also be seen to engage certain scholars in scientific fields. An Open Access Initiative might be weighted the other way: with primary interest in the scientific fields, but some interest from the humanities as well.

Indeed, this may be an opportunity for us to express support for Open Access even though it may be perceived as something of interest mainly to the scientists.

Should we, as a committee, be engaging such issues? And if the answer is yes, how so? Ryan Womack reported on a project (the RUL World Language Taskforce) to “internationalize” certain information pages of the library web site as part of the Foreign Language Initiative. Even in venues such as the repository, we need to be more aware the issues involved in accepting materials from multiple languages.

General Issues

Because of various conflicts, it was decided that the next meeting will be held on February 11th, 2008. January 28th is also a possibility if it turns out that there are items that require earlier attention.

There was some discussion of possible procedures for covering Tom Frusciano’s half-year leave beginning in January. We may wish to bring the matter up with the Planning and Coordinating Committee.

URL: http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/rul/staff/groups/com_of_schol-comm/minutes/schol-comm_07_12_17.shtml
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