Scholarly Communication Category


Orange for Open Access

The University of Iowa Libraries joins thousands of other academic research libraries worldwide in celebration of Open Access Week, which is now in its fourth year. To draw attention to this important issue facing faculty, students and librarians, we’re turning our website orange in recognition of Open Access.

We see this as an opportunity for the academic and research community to continue to learn about the potential benefits of Open Access, to share what they’ve learned with colleagues, and to help inspire wider participation in helping to make Open Access a new norm in scholarship and research.

“Open Access” to information – the free, immediate, online access to the results of scholarly research, and the right to use and re-use those results as you need – has the power to transform the way research and scientific inquiry are conducted. It has direct and widespread implications for academia, medicine, science, industry, and for society as a whole.

Open Access (OA) has the potential to maximize research investments, increase the exposure and use of published research, facilitate the ability to conduct research across available literature, and enhance the overall advancement of scholarship. Research funding agencies, academic institutions, researchers and scientists, teachers, students, and members of the general public are supporting a move towards Open Access in increasing numbers every year. Open Access Week is a key opportunity for all members of the community to take action to keep this momentum moving forward.


Banned Books Readout at IC Public Library, Sept 30

Join Iowa City celebrities and Working Group Theatre and celebrate your freedom to read during Banned Books Week. Working Group Theatre will be performing a new piece entitled “Burn Before Reading.” Iowa City celebrities will be doing readings from banned books and anyone from the public is encouraged to participate. Head to the Library, meet up with others and show your support for the First Amendment and the belief that “Free People Read Freely!”

Please note:  Because the topic is banned books, material presented may include mature language and themes.

Thursday, September 30, 2010
6:00-9:00 p.m.
Meeting Room A, Meeting Room B, Meeting Room C

In 1995, The Iowa City Public Library established the annual Carol Spaziani Intellectual Freedom Festival to honor Carol’s 26-year career at ICPL and life-long commitment to the freedom of ideas. Carol believes that the public library’s role is to be a resource and a forum for an individual’s pursuit and expression of diverse points of view.

All programs are free and open to the public.

2010 Carol Spaziani Intellectual Freedom Festival programs are generously funded through an award from the Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF), via its Judith F. Krug Memorial Fund. The Freedom to Read Foundation was established in 1969 as a First Amendment legal defense organization affiliated with the American Library Association.



University of Iowa Extends Its Collaboration with Accessible Archives, Inc.

Content Expansion Will Bring New Material to Civil War Collection

The University of Iowa Libraries has signed an agreement with Accessible Archives, an electronic publisher of primary source full-text historical databases, to preserve in digital format a number of primary source publications from the Civil War era. The Libraries’ holdings include various Civil War memoirs, pamphlets, and regimental histories, which up to now have been available only for those with access to its Special Collections Department.  Once the materials have been digitized and made fully searchable, they will become a new portion – an additional part – of The Civil War, a collection from Accessible Archives that has been well received by university and public libraries.

The Libraries has already contributed missing issues of Godey’s Lady’s Book to the digital collection. Among the Civil War books soon to be preserved and made searchable are: One Year’s Soldiering, Embracing the Battles of Fort Donelson and Shiloh, written by the chaplain of the Fourteenth Iowa Infantry and published in 1863; Sketches of the War, 2nd Edition, by Charles Henry Nott, published in 1865; and The Twenty-First Regiment of the Iowa Infantry, by George Crooke, published in 1891. Full-page images will be included, giving researchers access to the text, photographs, portraits, maps, and illustrations found in the original print format.

“We are delighted to extend the collaboration begun with Godey’s Lady’s Book and provide material from the University of Iowa Special Collections to enhance Accessible Archives’ The Civil War. Iowa provided more troops per capita than any other state in the Union, and Iowa men fought in nearly all the campaigns and major battles, were captured and imprisoned in the South, and after the war wrote about their experiences and came together frequently in reunions.  All of this is documented in the University of Iowa contribution,” said Edward Shreeves, Director of Collections and Scholarly Communication and Associate University Librarian.

“I think the publications from Iowa will be a great addition and enhancement to the material that we already have.  Many times, the Midwest is overlooked as far as Civil War coverage and I think this collection will help to improve that,” added Tom Nagy, Accessible Archives COO.

The Iowa publications will complement the Civil War newspapers and memoirs that are already online, which were obtained from the Godfrey Memorial Library and Vincennes University.


Transitions: scholarly communication news for the UI Community (May 2010)

May 2010
Issue 2.10

Welcome to the spring issue of Transitions.

The purpose of this irregular electronic newsletter is to bring to readers’ attention some of the many new projects and developments informing the current system of scholarly communication, with emphasis on new products and programs, the open access movement, and other alternative publishing models. Scholarly communication refers to the full range of formal and informal means by which scholars and researchers communicate, from email discussion lists to peer-reviewed publication. In general, authors are seeking to document and share new discoveries with their colleagues, while readers–researchers, students, librarians and others–want access to all the literature relevant to their work.

While the system of scholarly communication exists for the benefit of the world’s research and educational community and the public at large, it faces a multitude of challenges and is undergoing rapid change brought on by technology. To help interested members of the UI community keep up on these challenges and changes we plan to put out 4 issues per year of this newsletter.  Please visit our web site, Transforming Scholarly Communication, to find out more about this topic.

This newsletter is designed to reflect the interests of its readers so please forward comments, suggestions and entries to include to

Read these articles in our May newsletter:

Federal Research Public Access Act: Updates and Commentaries

Open Access to Scientific Publications: the good, the bad, and the ugly

Opening the Doors to Research: Open Access is changing the way we learn about research

NYTimes OpEd on copyright: The End of History (Books)

Wikipedia Lets You Order Printed Books

Lessig: “For the Love of Culture: Google, Copyright, and Our Future”

Google Starts Grant Program for Scholars of Digitized Books

Peer review: What is it good for?

Publisher seeks patent related online peer review and publishing process

Commercial Publisher Financial Results

Open Science: some new developments

Harvard Business School approves open access policy

Assessing the Future Landscape of Scholarly Communication: report on faculty values and needs


Privacy Myth Busters

MYTH: Online services are totally free.
TRUTH:  Many ostensibly free online services are paid for by advertising that relies on the collection of your personal information, including tracking your information searches.

MYTH: Government surveillance keeps us safe by stopping crime.
TRUTH: Surveillance cameras can help solve crimes after the fact, but rarely prevent crimes.

MYTH: My personal data is secure with devices that use radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology, like my transit and ID cards.
TRUTH: Without privacy and security standards for RFID technology, RFID tags can be read without your knowledge or consent, gathering sensitive personal data.

MYTH: Only people with something to hide need to worry about privacy.
TRUTH: The issue of privacy is not about what an individual has to hide, but what society stands to lose: freedom and control.

MYTH:  Privacy costs too much.
TRUTH: A similar argument was made about safety in the 1950s, when automakers balked at consumer advocates’ calls for seat belts in cars. The Internet is maturing, and establishing privacy norms is a necessary part of making it a safe, sustainable, environment for information exchange.

MYTH: Privacy standards will impede the free flow of information and make the Web less convenient.
TRUTH: The Web has proven to have enormous capacity to adapt technologically. It’s our social and political culture that must evolve to offer some form of self-determination about who is allowed to see what information.


Wireside Chat with Lawrence Lessig, Feb 25

The University of Iowa Libraries will join libraries across the country for a “Wireside Chat with Lawrence Lessig” on Thursday, February 25 at 5 p.m. in the Main Library Second Floor Conference Room.

The lecture by Lawrence Lessig will last 45 minutes, and will be followed by a 30 minute interactive Q & A session. The event will be moderated by Elizabeth Stark of the Open Video Alliance. Questions can be submitted using the hashtag #wireside.

Lessig has been described as the “foundational voice of the free culture movement.” He will be speaking via online video from Harvard Law School.

This is a talk about copyright in a digital age, and the role (and importance) of a doctrine like “fair use.” Fair use allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holders, and is essential for commentary, criticism, news reporting, remix, research, teaching and scholarship with video.

As a medium, online video will be most powerful when it is fluid, like a conversation. Like the rest of the internet, online video must be designed to encourage participation, not just passive consumption.

The Wireside Chat is made possible with the support of iCommons and the Ford Foundation.


Iowa Research Online in Smart Search

Iowa Research Online (IRO) preserves and provides open access to the scholarly and creative work of the University of Iowa. 

We are pleased to announce that over 1500 records for items found in the IRO are now available in Smart Search.  Additional records will be added to Smart Search on a monthly basis.


Open Access as Utility

 Editor’s note: Throughout Open Access Week (Oct 19-23), the UI Libraries will be sharing the views of our UI colleagues on the topic of open access.

by Peter Likarish, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Computer Science and Bridget Draxler, Ph.d Candidate, Department of English

Nicholas Carr’s “The Big Switch” argues that the internet, and computing in general, will behave increasingly like a utility: providing near universal access at a low-cost that most customers will pay without thinking. We already see the trend to no-/low-cost business models for services such as email, web hosting, data storage and etc.

With regard to Open Access, Google Scholar (and similar services) have fundamentally changed the way academics search for new and related research. The service is free, and indexes not only articles at journals and digital archives that require a subscription, but also the PDF files hosted on individual author’s websites. As with other types of digital media, there is no doubt entrenched interests will oppose Open Access but, as their customers become increasingly accustomed to thinking of online services as a utility, journals and other archives may be hard-pressed to defend the current system of charging huge fees to provide access on an institution-by-institution basis when there is no tangible cost to copying and disseminating digital information.


Open Access and Global Information Divide

Editor’s note: Throughout Open Access Week (Oct 19-23), the UI Libraries will be sharing the views of our UI colleagues on the topic of open access.

by Edward Miner, Ph.D., International Studies Bibliographer

Although Open Access movements are unfolding within the legal frameworks of individual countries, their most dramatic potential benefits are really global in scale. One critical aspect of the North-South divide is structural inequality in access to current scientific and scholarly research. This disparity in access existed under the traditional (print) publishing system, and was actually exacerbated by the advent of electronic publishing technologies as not-for-profit scholarly societies in the developed world sold or outsourced their journals to for-profit commercial publishers. Scientists and scholars create and disseminate knowledge to advance their disciplines and serve the public good, and those values transcend national boundaries. Indeed, much scientific and applied social scientific research is specifically intended to combat poverty and social inequality – so the increased inaccessibility of such research to resource-poor universities and scholars in the Global South is a most grim irony.

Scholars who are concerned about the role of new knowledge in driving socioeconomic and political development have a duty to retain the rights they need to make their peer-reviewed research freely available on the Internet, either in open access journals or institutional/disciplinary repositories. But given that affordable Internet access is out of reach for many of the most resource-poor institutions and scholars in the poorest countries, open access on the Internet doesn’t go far enough. To really maximize the potential of new digital publishing technologies to level the playing field in access to current research, scholars need to disseminate their work through mechanisms like the eGranary, an offline digital library of scholarly information produced by the University of Iowa’s WiderNet Project. Through donations of content from copyright holders, the eGranary Digital Library moves a massive assortment of scholarly content onto the local area networks of institutions in Africa and elsewhere, saving significant amounts of money for institutions that have an Internet connection and providing an Internet surrogate for those institutions that have no Internet connection at all.


Who Should Pay? Does Open Access Mean Free Access

Editor’s note: Throughout Open Access Week (Oct 19-23), the UI Libraries will be sharing the views of our UI colleagues on the topic of open access.

by Dr. Christopher Squier, Professor, College of Dentistry and Christine White, Librarian, College of Dentistry

Traditionally, the cost of publishing articles in print journals has been borne (apart from page charges for lengthy articles or colored illustrations) by the publisher, based on income, from subscriptions from readers or libraries. This is reasonable considering the high cost of supporting the scholarship that forms the basis of a publication. With open access articles, however, there is now a movement towards freely providing the material to the reader but shifting the cost of publication on the scholar. Fees, which may range from $500 to $3000, are requested from the author, although in a few situations, voluntary donations are solicited to help support a journal (e.g., Edward H. Angle Society of Orthodontists / Angle Orthodontist), or the publication may be subsidized by a publisher’s other journals, as acknowledged by PLoS. Other mechanisms include support from advertisers, such as the Journal of Chemical Education, which notes that “advertising in the Journal plays a significant role in helping to keep your subscription affordable,” or sponsored by an open access individual/institutional membership fee, which provides discounts to authors based on the number of articles submitted for publication (e.g., Bentham Open:

There are good reasons to resist moving the costs of publication from the publisher to the author, even when there may be grant or institutional funding to support this. The major objection is the temptation to base publication on the ability to pay rather than on the quality of work, as determined by peers. When costs are passed onto grants or academic institutions, the sponsor is, in effect, paying twice: once for the cost of doing the research and again to publish it, and the support available for new research is reduced. Of course, it could be argued that the institution pays when it purchases subscriptions, but because a large number of academic and industrial organizations all do this, the cost is spread over a large pool.

Should the reader be allowed free access as well as open access? Should the traditional balance be kept between authors, institutions and publishers? These are questions that we must continue to discuss.