Monday, July 30, 2012

Do Open Access Journals have impact?

According to a new study, researchers found that open access and subscription-based journals have about the same scientific impact. In fact, Open access (OA) journals are approaching the same scientific impact and quality as traditional subscription journals.

The study was published in BMC Medicine on July 17, 2012 by authors Bo-Christer Björk from the Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki, Finland, and David Solomon from the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University. A total of 610 OA journals were compared with 7,609 subscription journals using Web of Science citation data and an overlapping set of 1,327 OA journals were compared with 11,124 subscription journals using Scopus data.

If you've ever questioned whether or not open access (OA) publishing would damage the peer review system and put the quality of scientific journal publishing at risk, this article will be worth a read.

The electronic version of the complete article and can be found online at:

Monday, July 23, 2012

New Interface for Engineering Village

On July 18, Engineering Village released a new user interface and features. The product has been updated and refreshed to improve usability and save users time. All core functionality remains along with other functionality enhancements that include:

  • Search results page is easier to scan, making it faster to find an article
  • “Add search field” feature has been added to Quick Search
  • More facets are visible on search results page without having to scroll down a page
  • Access to Search History is quicker
  • Results display options include 25, 50 and 100
  • Search terms in an article are highlighted for easier viewing
At the University of Guelph, Engineering Village is used for Compendex, INSPEC, GeoRef, and GEOBASE.
Access EV by going to the Library home page: > Journal Articles

Feel free to contact me for a research consultation.
Jane Burpee, Offering Research Enterprise Support to FRAN, CBS, CPES, & OVC

Monday, July 9, 2012

Access copyright's university model license and scholarly publishing

The Research Enterprise and Scholarly Communications Team supports the University of Guelph’s decision to opt out of the University Model License proposed by Access Copyright. See the post on Tuesday, July 3, 2012 for more details on this decision.

Opting out of Access Copyright in no way diminishes the Library’s obligation to obtain copyright clearance for a work when it is required by law. The Library has always respected copyright legislation and will continue to do so. This often involves paying the copyright holder for the use of her work.

It is important to remember, however, that academic work makes up the bulk of material purchased by university libraries. Most researchers are employed by universities and other institutions and publish as part of their job. Furthermore, much of this research was funded, at least in part, by public sources. In any case, many academic authors (unless they are publishing in Open Access journals) are still asked to sign over their copyright to the journal publisher. Most continue to do so, particularly junior faculty who need to be published. This is changing due to the emergence of alternative options such as Open Access, but this is a recent development and publishers still hold the copyright to much of the academic literature (and therefore receive whatever compensation there may be).

With respect to academic publishing, then, Access Copyright's University Model License benefits the publishers more than the authors. It is a (poorly) disguised attempt to privatize and commodify information, including information that has been produced using public funds. More and more academic authors and universities are themselves ensuring that the research they produce is widely and freely disseminated, hence the spectacular growth of Open Access. Access Copyright is (unsuccessfully) trying to counter this positive trend.

Pascal Lupien, Research Enterprise and Scholarly Communications Team (

Friday, July 6, 2012

Interested in open access and funding?

The tri-council funding agencies are committed to developing a shared approach for improving access to publicly funded research in keeping with internationally recognized best practices, standards and policies. As a first step toward the development of a joint policy, the agencies commissioned a Comprehensive Brief on Open Access to Publications and Research Data, an environmental scan of the policy context in Canada and internationally, and the diverse challenges of open access from the point of view of different stakeholder groups, including universities, researchers across various disciplines, and government agencies.

According to their Policy on Access to Research Outputs, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR): States that all grants awarded January 1, 2008 and onward require grant recipients to make every effort to ensure that their peer-reviewed publications are freely accessible through the Publisher's website (Option 1) or an online repository as soon as possible and in any event within six months of publication (Option 2).

On their website, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) indicate that they support open access in principle. Additionally, under the Connection program, particular importance will be given to proposals that include plans for open access and open source approaches to knowledge mobilization. Costs associated with open access publishing are considered by SSHRC to be eligible grant expenses.

It is taking some time to take shape but in 2008, the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) announced in that an Open Access policy is in development.
Learn more:

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Researchers of Tomorrow, a new report from JISC and the British Library

The UK Joint Information Systems Committee and the British Library have just released a major (17,00 student) study of the behaviors and beliefs of “Generation Y” (eg born 1983-1992) doctoral students involving social media, information access, and related matters.

This is a fascinating report analyzes the research habits of GenY students.

Those interested in the future habits of academics might find both the inclusion of a comprehensive literature review and a longitudinal student tracking study that engages with a cohort of approximately 50 doctoral candidates and Chapter 5:Collaborating, sharing and disseminating research to be worht a close read.

The full report can be downloaded at

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Assessing Impact at PLoS

PLoS ONE is an international, peer-reviewed, open-access, online publication featuring reports of original research from all disciplines within science and medicine. Earlier this summer, PLoS ONE received its 2010 journal impact factor from the Journal Citation Reports (JCR) of 4.411. This ranks the open access journal in 12th spot among 86 Biology journals. Receiving an impact factor from JCR is an important milestone for the journal and editors are surely celebrating but the editors at PLoS are not resting on this laurel. They recognize that they need to find new ways to showcase the impact that cannot be measured by the metrics provided by JCR.

Scholars are seeking improved ways to track their impact. Their work is not just being read by their disciplinary peers in traditional published avenues. The work of researchers is being accessed via the web, downloaded, bookmarked, tweeted, and blogged about on a global and interdisciplinary scale. This is increasing the impact of their research. Many scholars want to see these impacts accounted for in some way. So while, the JCR impact factor is still a major component of individual, departmental, and organizational evaluation, Open Access and alternative metrics are taking their place beside it.

In March 2009, the Public Library of Science (PLoS) became the first publisher to track transparent and comprehensive information about the usage and reach of published articles - rather than journals - so that the academic community has another avenue to help assess their value. These measures are called Article-Level Metrics (ALMs).

“Article-Level Metrics (ALM) offer direct, first-hand views of the dissemination and reach of research articles. ALM indicators capture the research footprint from the moment of publication and dynamically tracks its impact over time.” PLoS

To demonstrate global impact, all PLoS journals track citation metrics, usage statistics, blogosphere coverage, social bookmarks, community rating and expert assessment.

If you are at all interested in reading about the pros and cons behind the various ways to demonstrate scholarly impact here are some links to follow:

  • Hirsch, J. E. (2005). An index to quantify an individual's scientific research output. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 102(46), 16569-16572.
  • Howard, J. (January 29, 2012). Scholars seek better ways to track impact online. The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • Wouters, Paul and Costas, Rodrigo. Users, narcissism and control – tracking the impact of scholarly publications in the 21st century. SURF foundation, 2012.
Web Guide
If you would like to discuss article metrics and impact factors please contact Jane Burpee, Research Enterprise and Scholarly Communication Team, Library (

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

U of G Opting Out of Copyright Agreement

After extensive review, the University of Guelph will opt out of a national copyright licensing agreement reached between the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) and Access Copyright.

The University had signed anon-binding letter of intent to participate in the model license before a May deadline to qualify for discount incentives, and used the intervening time to arrive at this final decision.

The decision follows similar steps by numerous Canadian universities, including the University of Waterloo, Queen’s University, University of British Columbia, University of Windsor, York University and Trent University.

As well, Bill C-11, the Copyright Modernization Act, was passedrecently. It includes several new educational exceptions that are not accountedfor in the AUCC Access Copyright license.

“Guelph has a long history ofattention to compliance issues and engagement with the principles of fair dealing and open access,” says Rebecca Graham, U of G’s chief information officer and chief librarian.

She said the decision best meets the intellectual and financial needs of U of G students and faculty and fulfills the University’s commitment to academic freedom and open access, including the sharing of digital materials and scholarly content.

Graham said the University will continue to provide students and faculty with the resources needed to acquire learning and research materials, while ensuring access to copyrighted materials through existing licensing agreements, appropriate payment to authors and publishers,or by utilizing fair dealing and other exceptions in the Copyright Act.

Copyright clearance services and fair-dealing guidanceare available through the library. Withthis decision, U of G continues to contribute to the growing community of institutions adopting best practices for managing their own copyright without the need for a collective license, Graham says.