John Culshaw, the Jack B. King University Librarian at the University of Iowa, has been elected to serve as incoming vice president/president-elect for the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). Culshaw will become ARL president on October 7, 2020.
The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 124 research libraries in Canada and the US whose mission is to advance research, learning, and scholarly communication. The Association fosters the open exchange of ideas and expertise, promotes equity and diversity, and pursues advocacy and public policy efforts that reflect the values of the library, scholarly, and higher education communities. ARL forges partnerships and catalyzes the collective efforts of research libraries to enable knowledge creation and to achieve enduring and barrier-free access to information.
“John’s leadership, both on campus and with national organizations, emphasizes collaborative efforts, empowering our librarians and scholars to work together to find and share research in ways that build pathways to new knowledge,” says Montserrat Fuentes, UI executive vice president and provost.
With his direction and support, UI Libraries staff garnered a grant to become the National Network of Libraries of Medicine Greater Midwest Regional Office; strengthened partnerships with the UI’s Center for the Book and the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature; merged the Studio, a collaborative incubator for digital scholarship and publishing, into Libraries operations; and brought important new research collections to Iowa including the Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry. In 2018, Culshaw was invested as the first Jack B. King University Librarian Chair.
Culshaw received a BA in history from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and holds an MS in information studies from Drexel University. He received UW-Parkside’s Traditions of Excellence Distinguished Alumni Award in 2015. Prior to Iowa, he held positions at the University of Colorado Boulder.
The Ithaka S+R University of Iowa Faculty Survey on Library services and space will help the Libraries evaluate faculty use of our facilities, resources and services.
Q: Why is the University of Iowa Libraries participating in this survey?
A: This survey is designed to inform the University of Iowa Libraries’ strategic decision-making as we move forward with plans to engage campus, provide resources and services, and renovate the Hardin and Main Libraries.
Q: What kinds of questions will be on the survey?
A: The survey will ask faculty their perspectives on a range of topics, including how you engage with and perceive the Libraries’ resources, services, and current spaces, as well as how we can best meet your current and future needs by altering the Libraries’ infrastructure. The survey is completely anonymous, and the results will only be reported in the aggregate.
Q: What will be the impact of the survey?
A: The survey will help shape the future of the University of Iowa Libraries’ resources, services, and spaces, including but not limited to the renovation of the Hardin and Main Libraries. Additionally, The University Libraries will donate $2 per completed survey to ComUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank. Your participation will help support community members in need.
Q: Who designed the survey?
A: Ithaka S+R designed the survey. Ithaka S+R is a research consulting service that helps academic, cultural, and publishing organizations consider how to shift their policies, services, and holdings to meet the needs of the digital future. Ithaka S+R is a part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit organization that also includes JSTOR and Portico. Their survey was reviewed by the University of Iowa’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) and given exempt status.
Q: Will a summary of the survey’s findings be shared publicly?
Q: How long does the survey take to complete?
A: 15-30 minutes.
Q: Is the survey compatible with mobile devices?
A: Yes. The survey is responsive to device type. Our survey platform can detect respondents’ devices and automatically adjust the questionnaire and questions into an appropriate format.
Q: Can participants stop and later continue their survey from the same point?
A: Respondents will be able to save their responses and continue later by clicking on their individualized link, even if they close their browser, use a different browser, or use a different device.
Q: Can participants back up and change their responses?
A: No. Because the survey may branch based on participants’ responses, allowing respondents to back up and change their responses will confuse the survey software.
Q: Is the survey accessible to respondents using screen savers or other Accessibility technology, such as JAWS?
A: Yes. The survey questions we use in our platform have been tested for compliance with the accessibility standards contained in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and are compatible with screen readers and similar software.
Q: Who should I contact if I have additional questions?
Students will benefit from Open Educational Resource (OER) projects
The University of Iowa Libraries has awarded fifteen grants to eighteen faculty for Open Educational Resource (OER) projects for the 2019-2020 academic year. OpenHawks is a campus-wide grant program that funds faculty efforts to replace their current textbooks with OERs for enhanced student success.
OpenHawks is one of five innovative, interdisciplinary initiatives funded by the annual Provost Investment Fund (PIF) from the UI Office of the Provost. The PIF will provide OpenHawks projects with funds totaling $87,288 for AY 2020. The funded OER projects, which were selected through a competitive application process, will benefit students in the College of Education, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, College of Medicine, and Tippie College of Business.
OER (such as textbooks, videos, assessment tools, lab books, research materials or interactive course modules) are free for students and carry legal permission for open use. The open licenses under which these items are released allow users to create, reuse, and redistribute copies of the resources.
Removing cost barriers to course materials opens student access and positively impacts learning. OER provide further benefit when faculty fully integrate free resources into their curricula by “remixing” or tailoring materials to enhance specific learning objectives.
Mercedes Bern-Klug, faculty in the School of Social Work in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has been awarded $7,000. For this project, Dr. Bern-Klug will create an OER textbook on global aging. By replacing the textbook with up-to-date readings and resources from different sources, Bern-Klug ensures students will learn the material from organizations and authors with a track record of producing high-quality materials germane to global aging.
Stephen Cummings, faculty in the School of Social Work in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has been awarded $1,400 for Human Behavior in the Social Environment. Cummings will develop an OER textbook on human behavior in social settings for an online, graduate-level course in Social Work. Students will benefit from the vibrant content of this textbook, reflecting current events and engagement for a more dynamic learning environment. The OER resource is projected to save students money, as it will replace a $55 textbook.
Hannah Givler, lecturer in the School of Art and Art History in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has been awarded $9,000 for Woodworking: Theory and Practice in Studio Arts. Givier will create an OER textbook that combines theory and practice, illuminating the material behaviors of wood. The resource will include foundational and experimental techniques for bending, joining, and framing. The textbook will be used by students in her wood-bending and wood-joinery courses in the School of Art and Art History. It will provide students with the narratives and experiences of contemporary artists working conceptually with wood materials—a perspective missing from currently available textbook resources.
Julia Kleinschmit, faculty in the School of Social Work in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has been awarded $1,300 for her OER project, Computer Lab: statistics with less pain – in your wallet. Students taking a required one-semester-hour statistics course will benefit from this resource. Kleinschmit will remix existing OER resources to replace existing textbooks and eliminate expensive software purchases, saving students nearly $150 each.
Mouna Maalouf, lecturer in Chemistry in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has been awarded $4,000 for Principles of Chemistry II—Lab Manual in pressbook. The goal of this project is to create an OER lab manual for the freshman chemistry laboratory, replacing lab manuals from publishers that range in cost from $10 to $40. The born-digital lab manual will be easier for students to access and navigate. In addition, the digital resource will be easier for the instructor to update frequently.
Kate Magsamen-Conrad, faculty in Communication Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has been awarded $10,000 to create no-cost, accessible, engaging, tailored resources for UI students. The project, Introduction to Social Scientific Communication Research Methods, will include a textbook, study guides, presentation materials, and class activities developed in collaboration with UI librarians, the UI Human Subjects Office, and other campus partners. Conrad is replacing an $125 textbook with content tailored for UI students.
Emilia Illana Mahiques, faculty in Spanish & Portuguese in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has been awarded $1,000 for an OER project titled Aligning peer review, assessments, and learning objectives in SPAN:2000 based on the framework resulting from her research study on peer review. Through this project, Mahiques will create a bank of activities instructors can use to train students on effective, efficient peer review processes aimed at improving students’ abilities to write in their second language. She will also create peer review guidelines and corresponding assessment rubrics according to the curricular requirements of the Spanish Writing course.
Brandon Myers, lecturer in computer science in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has been awarded $2,999 for a project titled Guided Inquiry Activities for Advanced Computer Science. Myers will create OER learning activities using an instruction strategy shown to improve student engagement and learning called Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL). In POGIL, students cooperate in teams to construct and apply concepts in carefully designed activities. Unfortunately, such activities are not readily available to computer science instructors. In this project, Myers aims to create, pilot, revise, and share four to six POGIL activities to support two courses, Database Systems and Programming Languages. The activities will be shared with a Creative Commons license on the CS-POGIL project website (http://cspogil.org).
Ted Neal, professor of Teaching and Learning in the College of Education, has been awarded $10,000 to create an OER titled Earth and Space Science for Elementary Teachers. Neal will develop an OER textbook, in cooperation with students, that will cover broad topic areas as mandated by the State of Iowa’s new science curriculum for which adequate teaching resources do not yet exist. Under Neal’s direction, students will develop this comprehensive resource, providing future elementary science teachers with concise, accurate, and centralized resources for K-12 instruction in earth and space science.
Marc A. Pizzimenti, faculty in Anatomy and Cell Biology in the Carver College of Medicine, has been awarded $9,859 for Online Physical Examination Skills Modules with Integrated Basic Science Review. These instructional modules will help students learn basic physical examination (PE) skills by creating efficient, timely, scalable, easily accessible resources that will assist in training, but will also serve as the primary resource for students learning the basics of PE.
Jacob B. Priest, faculty in Psychological and Quantitative Foundations in the College of Education, and Rachel Williams, faculty in Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, have been awarded $8,000 for their project titled Heathy Relationship OER. Priest and Williams will create an OER to replace a $141 textbook on relationships. Their resource will be designed to enhance relationship communication and skills so students can make and maintain healthy relationships. Rather than providing statistics about relationships, this OER will help students learn actual relationship skills and apply them to different relationship situations.
Steven Stong, faculty in economics in the Tippie College of Business, has been awarded $1,000 for Test bank and clicker questions for Principles of Microeconomics 2e openstax. This project involves creating a 100-question bank of exam and quiz questions designed to help students develop a better theoretical understanding of economics and also gain the analytical skills they need to apply the theories to solve real-world economic problems. Strong is developing these questions to supplement an OER textbook that he is already using for Microeconomics.
Christine Wingate, faculty in English as a Second Language (ESL) in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has been awarded $7,730 for American English Sounds, an online resource already under development for courses focused on ESL speaking skills. Pronunciation is a vital part of these courses, and students need more time to practice and improve pronunciation than is possible during class. Wingate’s OER will help students practice pronunciation independently as directed by the teacher with tutorials, which will be accessible online through a computer or mobile device. Each tutorial will provide explanation, examples, and practice activities, including activities that could be recorded and submitted for teacher feedback.
Sang-Seok Yoon and Joung-A Park, faculty in Asian & Slavic Languages in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, have been awarded $5,000 for First Year Korean: First Semester. Yoon and Park will create an OER workbook for students studying the Korean language. This workbook will improve on the currently used commercial text by incorporating stronger content in conversations, listening comprehension, and Korean culture. The resource will reduce expenses for students while providing a more engaging and effective learning tool for UI students, with a special focus on preparing students for specific study abroad and work experiences in Korea.
Giovanni Zimotti, lecturer in Spanish & Portuguese, and Fernando Castro Ortiz, lecturer in Spanish and director of the Spanish Speaking, Writing, and Conversation Center in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, have been awarded $9,000 for Intermediate Spanish II: Spanish for Educators, a new UI course designed specifically for educators. Commercially available textbooks for this course are pedagogically outdated, very expensive for the students, and lack a well-developed online component. Zimotti and Castro Ortiz will create an OER textbook customized to fulfill the educational needs of UI students taking this new course, integrate content and technology already available at our institution and/or online, create self-assessment materials to supplement the OER textbook and classroom instruction, test and teach a pilot course using the content created in this project, and promote this new OER resource at national conferences and other professional venues.
The University of Iowa Libraries Special Collectionsis the new home of the renowned Sackner Archive of Visual and Concrete Poetry. Founded by Ruth and Marvin Sackner in 1979 in Miami Beach, Florida, the Sackner Archive currently holds the largest collection of concrete and visual poetry in the world.
The archive includes over 75,000 items that document the concrete poetry movement. Annotated books, periodicals, typewritings, drawings, letters, print portfolios, ephemera, and rare and out-of-print artists’ books and manuscripts represent 20th-century art movements such as Italian Futurism, Russian and Eastern European Avant Garde, Dada, Surrealism, Bauhaus, De Stijl, Ultra, Tabu-Dada, Lettrisme, and Ultra-Lettrisme.
Among many notable items, the collection includes materials by and about the founders of the contemporary concrete poetry movement, such as Haroldo de Campos, Augusto de Campos, Eugen Gomringer, Öyvind Fahlström, Décio Pignatari, and Ian Hamilton Finlay. Also among the richly varied cross section of artists and poets represented in the archive are Dom Sylvester Houédard, Henri Chopin, John Cage, Johanna Drucker, Yoko Ono, and Nam June Paik.
“It’s a great honor for the UI Libraries to become the new home for the Sackner Archive, which will enrich scholarship, inspire generations of students, and draw visitors from around the world,” says John Culshaw, the Jack B. King university librarian at the UI.
Margaret Gamm, head of UI Libraries Special Collections, says the Sackners’ extensive work with item descriptions makes the archive of even greater value to scholars.
“We will soon be able to make a truly remarkable assortment of materials available, thanks to the dedication of Ruth and Marvin Sackner, their love of collecting, and their determination to create a complete archive by creating descriptive item records for each piece,” Gamm says. “I cannot wait to see how our students, faculty, and community use these materials in their research and classes.”
The entire archive has been moved to the UI Libraries, where it will be housed and maintained. The Sackner family has arranged for a scheduled donation of materials to be transferred to the UI Libraries’ ownership. The archive will be open by appointment to students, scholars, and the general public starting January 2020.
The Sackner family chose the University of Iowa Libraries as the new home for the archive due to the Libraries’ reputation as a center for the study of Dadaism, with its substantial holdings in the International Dada Archive. In addition, the Libraries’ world-class conservation program, the UI’s nationally recognized Center for the Book and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, collections in the University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art, and location in Iowa City (a UNESCO City of Literature) were also factors influencing their decision. The Sackners’ first encounter with Iowa was to loan work for the 1983 UI exhibition Lettrisme: Into the Present, not knowing that those items would eventually find their way back to the Midwest.
“My beloved wife, Ruth, and I had a dream that one day our efforts to build our collection into one that would reside in a world-class educational institution like the University of Iowa would come true,” Dr. Marvin Sackner says. “Our dream has finally become a reality. I am just sorry that Ruth is no longer with us to witness this monumental moment.”
In addition to housing the archive in Special Collections, the UI Libraries will maintain the condition of archive items, including fragile materials and rare or one-of-a-kind items. The Libraries Preservation and Conservation department has begun repairs on items damaged during Hurricane Irma in 2017.
In its new home, the Sackner Archive will continue to function as a living record of the concrete poetry movement, as new works are accepted into the collections. The UI Libraries will house new items as they come in and work to make the material available to all.
“It’s a pleasure to collaborate with the University of Iowa Libraries staff to ensure the safety of the collection during the move and into the future,” says Amanda Keeley, who has served as associate curator of the Sackner Archive for three years. “Margaret [Gamm] has been a particularly helpful partner, allowing a smooth process for moving this substantial archive to Iowa City.”
The University of Iowa Libraries plans to host a celebration of the Sackner Archive in the near future. At a later date, UI Libraries staff will mount an exhibition of select archive items in the Main Library Gallery. The exhibition dates will be announced at lib.uiowa.edu/gallery.
The Sackner Archive of Visual and Concrete Poetry includes items created in a wide variety of styles and media. Initially, the Sackners collected examples of artists who started the concrete poetry movement, but the archive has since expanded in scope and now includes a broad array of works that integrate text and image. Examples include experimental typography, experimental calligraphy, correspondence art, stamp art, sound poetry, performance poetry, micrography, ‘zines,’ graphic design, and artist magazines.
The images below show a variety of materials and techniques such as calligraphy on an ostrich egg, a “handmade” leather book cover, pressed leaves, lithograph, embossed paper, tea bags encased in paper, one-of-a-kind artist’s book in a round box, carved/painted wood, and an altered book page on which poetry was created through a technique called “erasure.”
Today hefty paywalls prevent research published in most scholarly journals from being read online by audiences that many academics often most want to reach—policy makers and elected officials, industry leaders, non-profits, educators, the general public, and even faculty from smaller teaching colleges and community colleges. The University of Iowa Libraries has signed an institutional agreement with Cogitatio Press to support Open Access publishing by faculty, students and staff in their journals. According to SPARC, “Open Access is the free, immediate, online availability of research articles coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment.” Instead of paywalls, Open Access is often supported by article processing fees (APC), that are often the responsibilities of the authors (or their institutions). The agreement with Cogitatio means the APCs are paid for as part of a 3-year membership by the university. This means that the scholarly research produced by University of Iowa faculty and students can be viewed in full text online and shared widely.
In Political Science, Professor Caroline Tolbert and graduate students Scott LaCombe and Courtney Juelich each have had articles accepted for publication in a special issue of Politics and Governancededicated to understanding state ballot measures (initiatives and referenda) after completing a rigorous peer-review process. Professor Tolbert is excited about the prospect of having coauthored work published in an Open Access journal that is rigorously peer-reviewed. “There are not yet many options for Open Access in Political Science, and this model of publication is one model for the future for scholarly writing. We need to expand our readers beyond just other academics and engage in conversations with policymakers and the general public. I also found Cogitation’s peer-review process very thorough. Politics and Governance is a high quality journal. Some scholars worry that Open Access is not as prestigious, but I encourage my colleagues to take a look.”
The University of Iowa Libraries announces OpenHawks, a campus-wide grant program that funds faculty efforts to adopt or develop Open Educational Resources (OER) for enhanced student success.
What are OER?
OER (such as textbooks, videos, assessment tools, lab books, research methods, or interactive course modules) are free for students and carry legal permission for open use. The open licenses under which these items are released allow users to create, reuse, and redistribute copies of the resources.
Why use OER?
Removing cost barriers to course materials opens student access and positively impacts learning. OER provide further benefit when faculty fully integrate free resources into their curricula by “remixing” or tailoring materials to enhance specific learning objectives.
Acknowledging the rising costs of educational resources and increasing financial pressures on students, the UI Libraries works to provide creative solutions in partnership with other campus units. As a result of this collaborative work, OpenHawks grants support faculty efforts to use OER at any level: adopting or remixing existing materials, developing open access assessment and learning tools, redesigning courses, or creating an original OER to share under an open license.
How to apply
The UI Libraries will issue a formal Call for Proposals in March 2019. The award levels outlined below provide guidance for grant applicants on the amount of funding that may be approved for different types of proposals. UI instructors can apply for awards at any of these levels.
Use an existing open textbook for a course with no editing and minimal course adaptation required.
Adapt, update, combine, or improve existing OER to replace a currently used textbook. Use of library-licensed materials may also be considered.
Develop test bank questions, teaching support materials, quizzes, interactive learning aids, or other support materials for existing OER.
Up to $5,000
Redesign a course around the use of OER.
Up to $10,000
Create an original Open Educational Resource to be used in a course and shared under an open license.
OpenHawks grants are funded by the Office of the Provost and UI Student Government (UISG) and administered by the UI Libraries with support from the Office of Teaching, Learning & Technology (OTLT), University College, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS).
How will I afford my textbooks this semester? Can I pass this course even though I don’t have the book? Is it illegal to download this PDF of the book that I found online?
These are the kinds of questions students ask at the beginning of the semester. The solutions they find are creative. Sometimes a whole group of roommates will share a book. In other cases, they will find a dubious copy for free online. Other times, they skip textbooks entirely. For some students, it’s a matter of buying food or buying books.
UI Libraries and UI Student Government are easing some of this burden with a collaborative project called the Textbook Affordability Pilot (TAP). Under TAP, a committee of library staff and student government representatives collect donated textbooks and purchase new ones for “high impact courses.” These are classes for which the cost of books is high and more than 100 students are enrolled in the course. These books are placed on course reserves in Main Library and the branch libraries for students to use free of charge.
Plans for TAP began in the summer of 2017, when student government approached the Libraries with questions about making textbooks more affordable. The UI Libraries encourages faculty to bypass traditional textbooks where possible by using books from the Libraries’ collection and using open educational resources. The Libraries also keeps copies of some textbooks on course reserve. Despite these efforts, librarians and students realized more could be done.
UISG Director of Academic Affairs, Tristan Schmidt, and Scholarly Communications Librarian, Mahrya Burnett, along with interested colleagues, began to explore the idea of purchasing textbooks and collecting donated copies. There was broad interest on both ends. Eventually, UISG and UI Libraries both allocated funds, totaling $17,000 for the one-year pilot. The committee drafted a set of criteria for books to be included in TAP and identified objectives for success. Then they started buying and collecting books.
As TAP began accepting donations last spring, the response from students was overwhelming. They donated hundreds of books, filling the UISG offices at the IMU. The committee is now working with faculty, students, and librarians to finalize its purchase list in order to get new books processed and on the shelves. TAP aims to have 100 books available for student use through course reserves at the Main Library and several other campus libraries by spring semester 2019. Their hope is to see the program grow over time so that more and more books are available for the students who need them.
TAP information for students
Can I access my textbooks for free? One easy way to find out whether your textbook is on Course Reserves is to use this simple search tool. Search by course name, instructor, or book title.
TAP information for faculty, instructors, and TAs
Do the textbooks for my course qualify for TAP? Faculty can email LIB-TAP@uiowa.edu to see if their textbooks are TAP eligible.
Eight Big Ten universities, a federal funding agency, and private companies come together to fund the development of Collaborative Archive Data Research Environment (CADRE)
Students, faculty, and researchers across the Midwest and beyond will gain crucial access to large research datasets through a secure, cloud-based platform called CADRE (Collaborative Archive Data Research Environment). CADRE will be developed through a large-scale partnership led by the Indiana University Libraries and the Indiana University Network Science Institute.
The University of Iowa Libraries will collaborate with IU Libraries and other partners from the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA) to develop a cloud-based platform that will allow library users direct, hands-on access to bibliometric, patent, and other large databases.
Other BTAA partners are Michigan State University, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, The Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, Purdue University, and Rutgers University.
“We firmly support this project because this type of shared secure data mining service is badly needed by research libraries, and importantly, by sharing the costs of enhancing, maintaining, and updating the platform across libraries, the costs become very affordable,” says John Culshaw, the Jack B. King university librarian at the UI Libraries. He says that without collaborative partners, the University of Iowa would not be able to “parse, secure, and host such enormous repositories of data, let alone develop the Graphical User Interfaces necessary to facilitate patron-driven queries.”
“This project exemplifies the role of libraries in the information age,” says Jamie Wittenberg, research data management librarian and head of scholarly communication at Indiana University Libraries, who will direct the project. “Our mission is to efficiently and effectively connect researchers with the materials they need to advance innovation and discovery. CADRE will open up the power of data mining to everyone, not only people with specialized expertise.”
Bibliometric research is the “science of science”
The ability to deeply analyze connections between these texts will support bibliometric research, a growing field that plumbs the world’s increasingly large and complex databases to reveal the underlying structural forces that affect the production of scientific knowledge. This work—often called the “science of science”—has shed light on a wide range of subjects. For example, bibliometric analysis has helped reveal the depth of women’s historical contributions to science and the influence of large-scale historical events on research activity.
CADRE will provide a user-friendly “front door” through which the partner institution members can request bibliometric analysis of available data. The project will automate many complex and time-consuming tasks that were previously required to conduct this research.
Product developers seeking input. To build user interfaces that will be of the highest utility for you, CADRE seeks your input. Potential users in all disciplines (faculty, staff, and students) are encouraged to provide input through user stories. To share your user story, please complete this form. All responses, no matter how abstract or seemingly trivial, are very helpful for us and will be given serious consideration as we plan for the development of CADRE.
Another important feature of the system is the power to share data. Individuals who use the platform will not only be able to share the results of their analyses, but also the software code, algorithms, workflows, methods, and the specific software versions and configurations used to run their analyses. This is critical for making the work reproducible, as well as helping the original researchers refine their methods for other projects.
The first new materials to be accessed via CADRE are records of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which contains data on publicly-available patents and intellectual property, and the Microsoft Academic Graph, a public database of 160 million scientific records.
During the month of Open Access week (October 23-29, 2017) we will be highlighting a number of guest posts from University of Iowa Faculty and Staff who have personal experience making their work Open Access. We appreciate their contributions.
At a personal level Open Access to scientific and technical publications is fundamental to my day-to-day activities as a researcher and educator. Barriers, especially financial, in our ability to access our own cumulative knowledge are detrimental to the growth of our societies, particularly in regions of the world struggling even for basic sustenance. It is good to see ‘open access’ which made its formal appearance at the turn of the century, gain momentum including in my field of computer science. Authors now have varied options as for instance, to retain just copyright or to retain all rights. I became aware – some years ago – of how painful it was to access the literature when I wanted to make thirty copies of my own paper for my graduate class. The publisher asked for several thousand dollars in copyright fees! If it had been a last minute article selection then making copies for free would have been approved under ‘fair use’. But I could not make copies and plan to distribute them say in a month’s time. The whole situation was bizarre. Open access comes to the rescue in this and many other situations. I would like to especially credit the field of physics for our open access opportunities today. Physicists had set the precedent for free sharing of knowledge way before open access came up the horizon. Physics departments and libraries, at least across the US, would with almost clock-work precision exchange pre-prints amongst themselves through the postal service. Each department maintained its mailing lists for sending and receiving these preprints which would be arranged nicely in a reading room. Reliance on the postal services diminished with the arrival of arXiv – a repository for electronic preprints – about thirty years ago. ArXiv continues today even in areas beyond physics. The fact that this ‘free’ exchange model clearly did not impinge on the profits from journals in Physics was part of the winning argument for the spread of Open Access. I also want to acknowledge the strong support offered by Libraries and Universities such as our own; for instance, their support of publication costs associated with Open Access journals is invaluable. These fees are worth it given the long term access options they yield. My students and I have availed of this facility on several occasions and we are grateful for these funds. I know open access will continue to flourish and anything outside will steadily become a dwindling exception.