NaNoWriMo Wrap-Up

Earlier this week some NaNoWriMo participants gathered in Carlson Library’s Dorothy MacKenzie Price Model Classroom to celebrate their month-long achievement:  completing — or attempting to complete — a first draft of a novel.  Although not everyone who set out to “write a novel in 30 days” was successful, many were able to enjoy the satisfaction of having challenged themselves to a month of uncommon and unfettered writing creativity.

Of the approximately 25 participants who initially signed up with the Carlson Library NaNoWriMo group, just a handful reported that they had crossed the finish line – completing the necessary 50,000 words to be considered a “winner” in NaNoWriMo lingo.  Most others completed enough of a story to at least get a taste of the challenge and to obtain a small sense of achievement.  This is no small feat considering how busy the semester gets this time of year.

This year was the library’s first experience with hosting the national event (co-hosted with the UT Writer’s Guild and English Department).  Carlson Library hopes to host future NaNoWriMos.  Do you have a novel in you?

Carlson Library reference and research assistance continues

A reminder that Reference Assistance will continue throughout the holidays* during the following hours:

M-Th   10:00 AM – 5 PM

Friday   12 PM – 3 PM

*(through January 4)

You may contact librarians in person (via the Circulation Desk), or by phone, email or chat (see “General Information” for contact details, left-hand side of page).  If chat is closed or if a librarian is unavailable, please feel free to leave a voice message or an email and we will respond as soon as we can.  The staff at the Circulation Desk will also be happy to assist you with certain requests.

We wish you a happy and prosperous new year!

“Unlock your Data!” (free event: save the date!)

The week of October 22 marks the sixth annual international “Open Access Week”!

You may remember that last October, the UT Libraries participated in the OA Week celebrations by surveying UT faculty and researchers on their knowledge, experience and perceptions of the open access model of publishing.

In May, we distributed results of that survey and in August we followed up with another article spotlighting certain aspects of those results.

Want to learn more about open access publishing?  In person?  For free? 

UT/BG Open Access Week flyerLibrarians from UT and BGSU recently got together to plan an informative day for those who would like to learn more.   Come join us on Tuesday, October 23 in the Driscoll Center (Schmakel Room) on Main Campus to interact in person with colleagues on the challenges and rewards of taking part in an open access publishing environment.  This all-day event will help answer questions for you on what open access publishing is and it will allow you to share stories with other researchers, professors and scholars.  Students are welcome too.

In the spirit of open access, this event is free of charge (and includes a free lunch!)

To attend in person, please RSVP by October 16 to the email posted in the link below.

Because seating is limited, you will also have the option to participate online if you cannot make it through the door.   (instructions forthcoming)

see full schedule

Open Access, Journal Quality and Impact (Part 2 of Several Reports)

by Wade Lee

In May, we wrote about UT faculty perceptions of and experiences with open access (OA) publishing.  As promised, we continue today with our series of special reports on our survey results.  In our October 2011 survey, we asked faculty which of a variety of factors they felt were important considerations when choosing a publishing venue.  Fifty-three percent indicated that being published in the most highly ranked journals in their field was very important (an additional 35% ranked this of medium importance).  Additionally, 77% indicated that the formal recognition of their work as a scholarly product (i.e., for promotion/tenure purposes) was a critical issue.  In their answers to the open-ended questions, several members discussed journal prestige, with one specifically mentioning an Impact Factor threshold necessary before he or she would publish in a journal.

How is journal rank determined in academia?  Journal Impact Factors (calculated by Thomson Reuters) are often used as a proxy measurement for the relative prestige of a journal.  While they were originally conceived as a way for librarians to rank journals for purchasing decisions, they have been (mis)used for the ranking or evaluation of individual authors as well.  An Impact Factor is simply the average number of citations per article in a journal over the previous two-year period.  Thus, a very highly-cited article published within the last two years will increase the Impact Factor of a journal.  Due to the skewed distribution of the citation rates of articles in a journal, most articles receive fewer citations than the Impact Factor would indicate.

OpenAccesslogo blue horizontal

How does this relate to Open Access?  It is perhaps a common misconception that OA journals do not have Impact Factors.  To the contrary, Thomson Reuters’ Web of Science database indexes 1066 Open Access journals, the majority of which have Impact Factors calculated and published in Journal Citation Reports.  (To have an impact factor calculated, the journal must have been indexed by Web of Science for at least 3 years.)  We determined the Impact Factor and relative rank within its subject discipline (by quartile) for the 688 journals that are published solely in English.  As with non-Open Access journals, OA journals appear in the full range of impact quartiles, although as a group slightly more appear in the lower quartiles.  We found that 18.2% are ranked in Q1 (the top 25%) of their disciplinary journals, 23.2% in Q2, 31.7% in Q3, and 26.8% in Q4 (the bottom 25%).  There are 177 journals ranked in the top 25% of their discipline.  Certain Open Access publishers, such as Public Library of Science (PLoS) and BioMedCentral (BMC) are well-represented among these top-tier journals.   See Appendix (opens a 3-page PDF file).

It is important to remember, also, that this analysis is just for journals that are entirely Open Access.  Many commercial and society publishers of subscription-based journals have options for authors publishing in their journals to pay an extra fee to make their individual article available in an Open Access manner — a system sometimes called hybrid or author-choice Open Access.  These articles appear in the same journals (with the same impact factors) that researchers have always published in.

Many OA journals provide ways to assess an article’s impact beyond simply substituting the journal’s Impact Factor as a proxy for influence.  A number of OA journals and OA disciplinary repositories allow authors to see not only how many articles have cited their work, but how many times it was accessed or downloaded, or allow other researchers to comment on the work.  All of these are direct and oftentimes more immediate measures of the interest in and impact of an author’s work.  Thus OA metrics may be more accurate for measuring scholarly output and influence.  Over time, this may even make the prestige ranking of an OA journal more meaningful than one that is based on the traditional Impact Factor alone.

open access logo

For further reading:

Swan, A. (2010). The Open Access citation advantage: Studies and results to date. University of Southampton.

This paper presents a summary of reported studies on the Open Access citation advantage. There is a brief introduction to the main issues involved in carrying out such studies, both methodological and interpretive. The study listing provides some details of the coverage, methodological approach and main conclusions of each study.

Wagner, A. B. (2010). Open Access Citation Advantage: An Annotated Bibliography. Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship.

This annotated bibliography lists studies and review articles that examine whether open access (OA) articles receive more citations than equivalent subscription; i.e., toll access (TA) articles.


UT Students’ Projects Now in Digital Resource Commons

UT Libraries recently contributed copies of over 400 graduate students’ projects to OhioLINK’s Digital Resource Commons (DRC). Users are able to browse and search the collection a variety of different ways and view the full text of all documents free of charge.

The Digital Resource Commons was created to provide a statewide platform for Ohio’s public universities and private colleges to save and share the instructional, research, historic, and creative materials they produce.

powered by

Currently all of the UT projects in the DRC were written by graduate students on the Health Science Campus and its predecessors, the Medical University of Ohio and Medical College of Ohio.  Included are:

  • Scholarly projects by master’s students in biomedical sciences, nursing, occupational health, and physician assistant studies;
  • Scholarly and capstone projects by master’s and doctoral students in occupational therapy;
  • Scholarly projects by master’s and doctoral students in physical therapy; and
  • Evidence-based practice projects by doctoral students in nursing.

So far they are the only programs which have submitted students’ projects in digital format to UT Libraries for cataloging.  Digital copies of projects from other graduate programs are more than welcome.  Please contact Sheryl Stevens in the UT Libraries Cataloging Department for more information.

Records for all these projects are still in the Libraries’ online catalog.  All links have been updated to connect to the new DRC locations.


OA at UT: A Snapshot (Part 1 of Several Reports)

OA logo orange 1

Last fall, the university’s open access steering committee distributed a survey to faculty, researchers and teaching assistants on both campuses to gauge their interest in and understanding of open access (OA) scholarly communication and publishing.  Survey results indicated that there is a wide range of both experience and views at The University of Toledo regarding OA.

“I currently serve on 2 OA editorial boards …” –Professor, Main Campus.

“The whole point of publication is to reach a wide audience.”   -Professor, Health Science Campus.

“I have not had any experiences with OA, but I do believe in its purpose.” — Lecturer, Main Campus.

“No personal experience, but peers do use this.” –Assistant Professor, Health Science Campus.

“I don’t know anything about open access.” -Associate Professor, Main Campus.

Both those who had previous experience with OA as an author, referee, or editor and those without such first-hand experience were in surprising agreement on most attitudes toward OA, except when it came to their preferred publishing model: traditional or OA.

As shown in the graph below, active OA participants (in blue) largely agree with those aware of OA but who have not actively participated (in red).   They seem to differ only in their agreement with the following statements:  “OA is the preferred method of scholarly communication” and “Publishing in traditional subscription-based journals is the preferred method”.

OA views active vs non-active

~~~~~~~~ Researchers are largely in agreement about OA ~~~~~~~~ OA Active = blue / OA Non-Active = red

So, except for Non-Active preference for traditional publishing methods, proportionate rates of views about OA are very similar.

Other elements of agreement are reflected in the statistics below.

Of ALL respondents (both campuses, all ranks, categories), a majority considered the following to be very important:

  • The “indexing or discoverability” of their work (55%)
  • Their work needs to be “available to a wide audience.”(54%)
  • The citing of their work by other researchers (52%)

blue open access logo horizontal

However, there remain some critical areas of concern that may influence the viewpoint on OA for some.  Of ALL respondents:

  • 70% are very concerned about the “formal recognition of their work as a scholarly product” (i.e., for promotion and tenure purposes) with 77% reporting that being published in a “peer-reviewed journal” is very important.
  • 53%  are very concerned about the permanence of their published work.
  • 53% are concerned about the individual financial aspects associated with publishing
  • 51% consider it very important to be published in the most highly ranked journal(s) in their field.
  • and 46% reported a very critical concern over the protection of their intellectual property.

These are all legitimate concerns that can be addressed by learning more about OA.  One of the biggest misunderstandings that lingers is the notion that OA publishing means not peer-reviewed.  For a list of helpful FAQs regarding OA, please see our LibGuide.

“The problem for scholars needing tenure is that sometimes these journals are not respected.”   –Professor, Main Campus.

“I don’t like to have to pay to publish.”  –Professor, Health Science Campus.

“sounds like an excellent venue for the dissemination of scholarly information.”  –Associate Professor, Main Campus

“…all journal [publishing] should be open access if the research has been carried out with tax-payer money.”  –Assistant Professor, Health Science Campus.

Overall the campus survey revealed some clear demarcations.  While more than one third (35%) of respondents reported having no experience with OA, nearly half (47%) reported having published articles in OA journals and a quarter (24%) indicated using OA publications in their research.  One third of respondents reported knowing colleagues who have participated in OA and approximately one quarter of respondents indicated at least an awareness of OA.  Furthermore, more than a quarter (28%) of respondents currently involved in research would consider publishing in OA journals.  Some of the notable differences in responses correlated to the campus and academic rank of the respondents.

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The complete survey results set is available for viewing.

to be continued …

Calling all art students …

artist's palette

artist: Kilom691 / used under CC license

… and faculty … and others interested in art books and resources at the UT Libraries!

The Toledo Museum of Art Reference Library in collaboration with Carlson Library would like to hear from library users on your use of art books, databases and other resources and services.  We primarily want to hear from art majors, students taking studio art or art history courses, and faculty and staff who use the libraries for art purposes.  But all are welcome to take the survey who are interested in helping us improve our services and collections in the visual arts.

Please take a few moments now to fill out our survey. Or if you’d like to take it later, the link will remain up for most of the semester.

NOTE:  You may also opt in for a prize drawing – an art book, of course!

An Open Access Invitation for Faculty!

open access logo

This week (October 24-30) marks the fifth annual Open Access Week, sponsored by The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC).  It will be celebrated in a number of ways worldwide.

The UT Libraries and Open Access Steering Committee would like to take this opportunity to poll UT faculty, research professors, clinical professors, lecturers, postdocs and others about their experiences, perceptions and views of open access.  You can help us by participating in Open Access – A Survey for UT Faculty.

Open Access. OA. You may have heard this term popping up more and more in your academic surroundings lately. But do you know exactly what it is?

OA is sometimes confused with open source which is a practice of sharing software code. Open Access, on the other hand, is a philosophy growing in acceptance and practice — that of communicating and sharing scholarly information, research and knowledge with few or no limitations or restrictions. A concise definition of OA can be found in the Budapest Open Access Initiative which emerged out of a meeting of the Open Society Institute in December 2001.

“By open access to … literature, we mean its immediate, free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search or link to the full text of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software or use them for any other lawful purpose…”

For a more detailed explanation, see “What is Open Access?” by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

A small group of interested UT faculty have gathered together this fall to begin to investigate how the university might move in the direction of OA. Many faculty who have National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants are already familiar with the open access experience through the NIH Public Access Policy which “requires scientists to submit final peer-reviewed journal manuscripts that arise from NIH funds to the digital archive PubMed Central upon acceptance for publication.” PubMed Central is just one example of a subject-specific open access repository.

Many faculty, however, are not familiar with the process or philosophy of open access. We hope that Open Access Week can begin to help those who are unfamilar catch up. A recent Chronicle of Higher Education blog post mentions the headway made by at least one early adopting institution, The University of Kansas, and the obstacles it still faces. However, The University of Kansas is now joined by nearly two dozen institutions who have taken up the call to address the crisis in journal publishing costs by implementing open access policies.

Watch for more updates on open access during Open Access Week and beyond!


9/11 books to open up through September

To honor the memory of those affected by 9/11 and to keep the conversation alive, Ebrary is opening up for free-access viewing a small collection of 15 e-books on various aspects of 9/11. These books will be viewable throughout the month of September.

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

Books you can read online IN FULL include those that look at how religion has been viewed differently since 9/11, writings that recount personal experiences of that fateful day, and texts on the continued effects on our liberties, the media, and legislation.  These books have been published by a variety of academic presses over the last ten years. Please “check one out” today before they’re gone.

In addition to these electronic resources, the UT Libraries have many print resources on the September 11 Terrorist Attacks and the War on Terrorism.  Click on the links to browse our library catalog.