By clinical education librarians at UI Libraries’ Hardin Library for the Health Sciences Jennifer DeBerg and Heather Healy
Since 2011, Hardin Library for the Health Sciences has provided a systematic review service to support research across the health sciences. Systematic reviews, a critical component of evidence-based clinical practice, follow a specific research methodology that attempts to identify, select, assess, and synthesize all the studies related to a specific question to guide decision making. Related review types include meta-analyses and meta-syntheses. All these review types need to follow a process that minimizes bias to ensure the results are valid.
ROLES FOR LIBRARIANS
Unfortunately, not all systematic reviews are conducted using a bias-minimizing methodology, which can have significant implications for decision making in healthcare. Several efforts have focused on improving the quality of systematic reviews that are developed and published.
Published in 2009, PRISMA—Preferred Reporting Items in Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis—is a framework of reporting standards that addresses problems observed in methodology quality. Parts of the standards relate to conducting rigorous and systematic searches of the literature to locate the relevant studies and to reporting specific details of the searching process. Two important elements of the framework are the PRISMA flow diagram and the PRISMA checklist.
In 2011, the Health and Medicine Division (formerly the Institute of Medicine) of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine in the report Finding What Works in Health Care: Standards for Systematic Reviews states that a librarian or other information professional should be included in developing the systematic review search plan. Additionally, a 2014 article by Rethlefsen, Murad, and Livingston from the Journal of the American Medical Association indicates that gaining assistance from librarians helps ensure thoroughness and reproducibility.
The primary role for health sciences librarians is to help develop and conduct highly sensitive bibliographic database search strategies that capture all the published evidence related to the research question. Hardin librarians have each attended formal systematic review training to learn the specialized literature searching process.
The training also covers the methodology for the whole review, as well as the reporting standards for reviews. Other roles librarians play can include
project manager, reference manager, reference screener, consultant for the team, and others.
The roles Hardin librarians play varies based on what the researchers need and may range from something simple, such as training the researchers how to manage records in EndNote, a citation management tool, or a thorough review of already-completed search strategies. More often, however, researchers request the most complete service, which may include all or a combination of the following: assistance with the development of the review protocol (the research plan); deciding which bibliographic databases to search; design of bibliographic database search strategies (including identifying and testing potential search terms); removing duplicates from the search results; finding missing abstracts; accessing full text of articles from the search results; and writing the search methods for reporting in the article or other end product. Sometimes, researchers request help with searching for grey or non-traditionally published literature, another part of review methodology that helps minimize bias.
Systematic reviews that demand the most extensive level of service require between 20 and 100 hours of librarian time. The total amount of time depends on many variables, such as the organization and communication of the research team, the nature of the topic, the number of databases to be searched, particularities of the databases, including subject heading availability and the quality of the indexed records. When this level of service is provided librarians request co-authorship on the resulting article because this level of contribution meets the standards for authorship recommended by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. When lesser but still substantial assistance has been provided, librarians may request a formal acknowledgment rather than co-authorship.
Not all requests for assistance result in a published systematic review. In consultation with librarians, some researchers discover their project idea is not a good fit for the systematic review methodology, and so their project takes another direction. Systematic reviews require significant time and work, frequently taking a year or more to complete. In some cases, projects may be started but not completed due to the researchers’ time constraints, inability to secure a project team, lack of methodological expertise, or other reasons. Some projects are completed but are reported at conferences with no intent to publish the results as an article.
GROWTH OF THIS SERVICE
Between 2011 and 2016, the small team of Hardin librarians initiating and developing the service created a two-part workshop to help train faculty, staff, and students about developing search strategies for systematic reviews. They also developed a hard copy intake form and created an online guide that allow researchers to request assistance and to provide resources to help with their process. In this timeframe, the service received about 25 requests for assistance.
In 2016, several new staff joined the team and helped make important improvements to the service, including a redesign of the online guide (see link at the bottom of page 23) development of an online intake form and other documents needed to support workflow, implementation of an improved file structure for organizing projects, revisions to workshop materials, and regular meetings to discuss service changes and ongoing learning opportunities in this specialty area. Since these changes were enacted in early 2017, the service has received 109 requests for support from researchers. The total for the full duration of the service is approximately 170 requests for assistance.
Recently published systematic reviews have been completed with support from Hardin librarians, including Chris Childs, Jen DeBerg, Janna Lawrence, and Heather Healy. Reviews cover a wide range of research topics and appear journals such as World Journal of Gastroenterology, The Journal of Arthroplasty, Clinical Infectious Diseases, and Journal of General Internal Medicine.
ASSESSING THE SERVICE
For the past few years, a team at Hardin has worked to assess the impact of the systematic review service on reviews authored by health sciences faculty at the UI. Hardin librarians have co-authored or been formally acknowledged in 50 published systematic reviews.
The team has also examined whether the systematic reviews authored by UI health sciences faculty (whether they included a librarian or not) met standards detailed by the PRISMA checklist. The team found that approximately 75% of reviews include the PRISMA flow diagram, an important signifier of the quality of the review process. The inclusion of this diagram, however, does not reflect the quality of the literature search. The team’s findings indicate that measures of the inclusion of a replicable search strategy, which provides transparency for the search process, are around 40% and inclusion of both subject heading and keywords in the search strategies, a signifier of search comprehensiveness, are around 30%.
Hardin librarians are continuing to discuss how to improve the reach of the systematic review service in sustainable ways that might include further development of general training workshops or redesign of the online guide to help increase awareness of systematic review standards among faculty. The librarian team is small and expanding the service to increase the amount of direct involvement of librarians in systematic reviews is not feasible currently. Furthermore, increased awareness and use of the standards relies not only efforts by librarians and researchers but also on the awareness of the standards by journal editors and journal peer reviewers.
The assessment team is analyzing which departments publish systematic reviews most often and which are most likely to benefit from assistance. Hardin librarians are hopeful that as they extend education to those who need it most, they can continue to positively influence the quality of the methodology for systematic reviews in the health sciences.
FOR FURTHER READING
Visit guides.lib.uiowa.edu/systematicreviews for an online guide to the service.
The following list provides a sampling of recently published systematic reviews that were completed with support from HLHS librarians, including Chris Childs, Jen DeBerg, Janna Lawrence, and Heather Healy:
Ashat, M., Arora, S., Klair, J. S., Childs, C. A., Murali, A. R., & Johlin, F. C. (2019). Bilateral vs unilateral placement of metal stents for inoperable high-grade hilar biliary strictures: A systemic review and meta-analysis. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 25(34), 5210–5219. https://doi.org/10.3748/wjg.v25.i34.5210
Bedard, N. A., DeMik, D. E., Owens, J. M., Glass, N. A., DeBerg, J., & Callaghan, J. J. (2019). Tobacco use and risk of wound complications and periprosthetic joint infection: A systematic review and meta-analysis of primary total joint arthroplasty procedures. The Journal of Arthroplasty, 34(2), 385–396.e4. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arth.2018.09.089
Puig-Asensio, M., Braun, B. I., Seaman, A. T., Chitavi, S., Rasinski, K. A., Nair, R., Perencevich, E. N., Lawrence, J. C., Hartley, M., & Schweizer, M. L. (2019). Perceived benefits and challenges of Ebola preparation among hospitals in developed countries: A systematic literature review. Clinical Infectious Diseases. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciz757
Seaman, A. T., Steffen, M., Doo, T., Healy, H. S., & Solimeo, S. L. (2018). Metasynthesis of patient attitudes toward bone densitometry. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 33(10), 1796–1804. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-018-4587-3
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.
Culshaw has served as the university librarian at Iowa since 2013, leading the UI Libraries in providing information services, collections, and spaces to the university community and beyond. In addition to his campus duties, he has served in leadership roles with the HathiTrust Digital Library and Association of College and Research Libraries. Culshaw has played an active role with the Big Ten Academic Alliance Library Initiatives, which recently announced the BIG Collection, an effort to create collaborative processes for building a networked collective collection to benefit Big Ten scholars.
During his tenure at Iowa, Culshaw has overseen several new building projects including the Rita Benton Music Library, a climate controlled, high-density materials storage facility, and a state-of-the-art exhibition gallery. He established a scholarship program for library student employees which to date has awarded more than $53,000 to undergraduate and graduate students.
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.
By Elizabeth Cox, head of cataloging-metadata at the UI Libraries
When you think of diversity issues at a university, you probably think of faculty and student representation, or maybe course topics. Rarely do people, perhaps even librarians, think of the online catalog or those who put information in it: the catalogers.
Catalogers are highly trained, detail-oriented librarians and staff who succinctly describe the library’s materials for students, faculty, and staff to find and use. We have particular databases and many sets of rules and guidelines to follow, from local to international. We provide subject headings or descriptors to every item in the online catalog (at the UI Libraries, our online catalog is called InfoHawk+).
For decades, librarians at the national and international levels have determined “authorized” headings. By using these headings, a library user can go into almost any library and find material on a particular subject, because most libraries use the same headings. In the United States, most academic and research libraries use the Library of Congress subject headings list.
Because the burden of standardizing these headings lies with a single organization (the Library of Congress), it can take time for the headings to catch up with the culture. Over the years, catalogers have raised questions about this process, noting the importance of balancing the use of historical terminology against the need to adopt new terminology. In some instances, new terminology can reflect changing societal views and prevent the proliferation of outdated ideas.
In 2016, subject headings hit the national news. A group of Dartmouth College students, Dartmouth librarians, and the Coalition for Immigration Reform, Equality and DREAMers (CoFIRED) petitioned the Library of Congress to remove “Illegal aliens” as a subject heading. At first, the Library of Congress denied the request, citing use of the term in “authoritative sources for legal terminology.”
However, members of the American Library Association collaborated with the Library of Congress, forming a working group to review the issue. The group reached a compromise, agreeing to replace the term “aliens” with “noncitizens” and to replace “illegal aliens” with “undocumented immigrants.” Members of the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee introduced a bill (H.R. 4926 – Stopping Partisan Policy at the Library of Congress Act) calling for retention of the headings “aliens” and “illegal aliens.” In April 2016, the bill was referred to the Committee on House Administration, but it went no further. The Library of Congress continues to use the terms “aliens” and “illegal aliens” as subject headings.
This is just one example of the lack of diversity, equity, and inclusion in subject headings. Sadly, there are many others, and the majority of them don’t get the same attention as this. The chart to the right shows an inconsistent application of subject headings regarding gender. All of the words and phrases in this chart are authorized headings. Using the currently approved subject headings, a book can be labeled as one about nurses generally, about female nurses, or about male nurses. A book can be labeled as one about librarians generally or about women librarians, but a book cannot be labeled as one about male librarians.
Catalogers have also noted concerns with headings related to people with disabilities, as well as biases related to culture, class, or country of origin. This hits very close to home in Iowa when searching for the nearby community of the Meskwaki Nation, the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi. A search of the Library of Congress database for “Meskwaki” refers you to the heading, “Fox Indians,” listing “Meskwaki Indians” as a variant or unused term. Not only does it fail to refer to the Sac Tribe, but it uses the old terminology “Indians” rather than “Native Americans.”
Catalogers wonder what to do in situations such as these. The Library of Congress makes available a procedure to recommend addition or revision of a Library of Congress subject heading and provides a number of tips and instructions to assist in the process. Although the process is not onerous, it can be tedious and requires research on the part of the librarian, who must provide proof that the word or phrase is used in one or more resource. Each month, the Library of Congress publishes a list of proposed headings and invites comments. After considering the proposals and comments, the Library of Congress publishes its decisions along with its rationale in cases of rejection.
The Library of Congress does not give a time estimate for this process. As of April 2019, the Library of Congress had published a list of approximately 200 proposed headings. Of those, only seven have been approved and three proposals have been deemed incomplete.
Simply being aware of these issues is a good start, but librarians can be more vigilant about noticing the discrepancies in online catalogs and be more proactive in making positive changes to reflect the diverse world around us and provide more equitable, inclusive, and diverse databases for our library users.
Adler, Melissa, Jeffrey T. Huber, and A. Tyler Nix. 2017. “Stigmatizing disability: Library classifications and the marking and marginalization of books about people with disabilities.” Library Quarterly, April: 117-135.
Aguilera, Jasmine. 2016. “Another word for ‘Illegal alien’ at the Library of Congress: Contentious.” New York Times, July 22. Accessed February 7, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/23/us/another-word-for-illegal-alien-at-the-library-of-congress-contentious.html?_r=0.
Berman, Sanford. 2017. “Berman’s Bag: Omissions and Distortions in Libraries, Too: LCSH Proposals.” Unabashed Librarian (185): 19-22.
—. 1971. Prejudices and antipathies: a tract on the LC subject heads concerning people. Metuchen, New Jersey: Scarecrow Press.
Diao, Junli, and Haiyun Cao. 2016. “Chronology in cataloging Chinese archaeological reports: An investigation of cultural bias in the Library of Congress classification.” Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, 244-262.
Library of Congress. n.d. Library of Congress Subject Headings. Accessed March 5, 2019. http://id.loc.gov/authorities/subjects.html.
—. n.d. Process for Adding and Revising Library of Congress Subject Headings. Accessed March 6, 2019. http://www.loc.gov/aba/cataloging/subject/lcsh-process.html.
Peet, Lisa. 2016. “Library of Congress Drops Illegal Alien Subject Heading, Provokes Backlash Legislation.” Library Journal. Accessed March 6, 2019. https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=library-of-congress-drops-illegal-alien-subject-heading-provokes-backlash-legislation.
Ros, Amanda. n.d. “The bias in your library’s catalog.” Texas A&M University. Accessed February 7, 2019. http://oaktrust.library.tamu.edu/bitstream/handle/1969.1/166418/Bias%20Poster%20NCORE.pdf?sequence=4&isAllowed=y.
Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa. 2017. Meskwaki Nation. Accessed March 11, 2019. https://meskwaki.org/.
The University of Iowa Libraries Special Collections is the new home of the renowned Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual 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.
Margaret Gamm, head, Special Collections, University of Iowa Libraries email@example.com
Tim Shipe, curator, International Dada Archive, University of Iowa Libraries firstname.lastname@example.org
Images from the collection
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.”
In the libraries, we spend the whole month of October celebrating Open Access (OA), and with good reason. As scholarly publishing continues to evolve and spawn new models for disseminating knowledge, it’s more important than ever to make sure that anyone can access critical research and that scholars from anywhere in the world can publish their discoveries. It’s also important for scholars at the University of Iowa to understand how to manage the impact of their research, disseminate it as widely as possible, and to choose publication venues that will help reach their goals.
Guiding researchers as they navigate these issues is a big part of my job as a scholarly communications librarian. I meet with all kinds of students and faculty to talk about the ins and outs of publishing their research. If you’re interested in getting your publications out from behind paywalls and into the hands of readers, here’s how I can help:
Find open access journals in your discipline
One way to make your research open is to publish in an open access journal. But what does that mean? Open access journals are publications that make it free for readers to access ALL of their content through the publisher’s website. Quality OA journals will be transparent in their business and editorial practices and should be well-regarded in your field. They should also be up-front about any Article Processing Charges (APCs) used to offset the cost of publishing. The Directory of Open Access Journals can help you determine whether a journal is, in fact, open and can help you find open journals in your discipline. I can help you navigate this directory or provide you with additional information about journals.
Get your work into Iowa Research Online
Iowa Research Online (IRO) is Iowa’s institutional repository for publications and other research artifacts. This means that UI faculty, staff, and students can upload their published work and make it discoverable to anyone with an internet connection, anywhere in the world. Including your article in IRO is another great way to make your research open, and I would be glad to help walk you through the process. Not every publisher will allow you to include the final version of your article in a repository. But luckily, there are tools that we can use to determine exactly what your publisher will allow. Sherpa/RoMEO is one such tool. This directory lists current publisher policies on self-archiving and will tell you what you can and cannot include in IRO.
Find funding for Article Processing Charges (APCs)
APCs are one of the most misunderstood aspects of scholarly publishing. In some disciplines, it has long been standard practice to charge authors “page fees” for charts, graphics, color printing, or other publication costs. In other disciplines, giving money to a publisher is considered “pay to publish,” and is not seen as a legitimate practice. In the world of open access publishing, we have seen APCs crop up, proliferate, and grow to sometimes thousands of dollars per publication. Not all OA journals charge APCs, in fact the vast majority do not. However, the ones who do are often big name journal titles, with high impact factors, produced by major academic publishers. These are often the same journals in which scholars need to publish, for promotion and tenure, or simply to be widely read. In many ways, these publishers still control the landscape, even the OA landscape, and it looks like their APCs aren’t going away anytime soon. If you find yourself needing to pay an APC or are considering an OA publication, but don’t know how to fund it, I can help. Often, you can designate grant funding to be earmarked for APCS or your department may have funds available for this purpose.
Get up-to-date on funder mandates for open
Funding organizations are slowly recognizing that the research they fund as a public good should, in fact, be available to the public. While other parts of the world are further along that the United States in this regard (See Plan S, for example), certain federal agencies require that funded research be made publicly available. When this is the case, researchers must comply with the mandate. Some agencies, such as the National Institute of Health, make complying with this policy relatively easy. Others are a bit more tricky. This is another area where I can be of assistance.
If you’d like to discuss how to make your research open, I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to send me an email at email@example.com to set up an appointment. I’m also a part of the library’s new Scholarly Impact Department, which rolls our scholarly communications and data services into one unit. If you’d like to learn more about the new department, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s work together to make Iowa’s scholarship as open as it can be!
The University Libraries is seeking nominations for the Arthur Benton University Librarian’s Award for Excellence. Funded by a generous endowment, this award acknowledges a library staff member’s professional contributions in the practice of librarianship, service to the profession, scholarship, or leadership which has had a significant impact or innovation to the operations of the Libraries or the University of Iowa. The library staff member will receive $1,500 to be used for professional development activities.
Criteria for the award and the nomination form are available at: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/admin/bentonaward/
Nominations are due by Tuesday, October 30. Please forward this message to faculty and graduate assistants in your department and encourage them to submit nominations. Thank you for your assistance.
*The University Libraries includes the Main Library, Hardin Library for the Health Sciences, and the Art, Business, Engineering, Music, and Science libraries. (Professional staff in the Law Library and other campus departmental library staff are not eligible.)
Iowa Research Online (IRO), the University of Iowa Libraries’ open access research repository, surpassed 10 million downloads in January 2018. IRO preserves and provides access to research and creative scholarship created by the University of Iowa’s faculty, students, and staff. The repository was launched in January 2009, and since then, its materials have been downloaded in 234 countries around the world.
FAQs about Iowa Research Online
Who can contribute to IRO? Any University of Iowa researcher (staff or faculty) can contribute to IRO, as long as copyright allows. The repository also includes some UI student work (theses and dissertations, honors theses, and selected class projects).
What’s the benefit of contributing to IRO? Work appearing in IRO gains wider availability since it’s accessible online without restrictions (no paywall requiring paid membership).
Who can access materials in IRO? Anyone in the world may access for free.
What’s the all-time most popular download? Nurse manager competencies http://ir.uiowa.edu/etd/2681/
What is the most popular download in the US? Life and Adventures of Jack Engle: An Auto-Biography http://ir.uiowa.edu/wwqr/vol34/iss3/3/
What are the most popular downloads outside the US?
- United Kingdom: Design of wind turbine tower and foundation systems: optimization approach http://ir.uiowa.edu/etd/1042/
- India: Chemical, physical, and mechanical properties of nanomaterials and its applications http://ir.uiowa.edu/etd/2501/
- Philippines: The caregiver’s journey: a phenomenological study of the lived experience of leisure for caregivers in the sandwich generation who care for a parent with dementia http://ir.uiowa.edu/etd/599/
- China: Oxidation and reactivity of 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetaldehyde, a reactive intermediate of dopamine metabolismhttp://ir.uiowa.edu/etd/918/
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.
The six, and final post is by Kanchna Ramchandran, Associate Research Scientist, Department of Psychiatry.
One of the ultimate goals of academic publishing is to make the results of robust research available to peers in academia, end-users and society in general, in a timely fashion. OA journals represent the future in smoothly oiling the wheels of this process, which may sometimes appear opaque amongst conventional journals.
An advantage that I have experienced in submitting to an OA journal is the quick turnaround from submission to final editorial decision. It can be quite disheartening to wait for up to 1 year (the longest I have experienced from a tier 1 conventional journal), only to receive a rejection at the end. In comparison, I have received full reviews within a few weeks from an OA journal. Thus, even if rejected, the research can benefit from editorial and peer-reviewed feedback to improve the manuscript, before moving forward in a timely fashion along the publishing assembly line.
I have also appreciated the transparency, and on one occasion the conversational style of the review process between the editor, reviewers and the authors of the manuscript in an OA journal that I have worked with. It embodied egalitarian scientific dialogue, where the authors could engage directly with reviewers under the guidance and direction of the editor. On a subliminal level, this can make a huge difference to all stakeholders involved in the publishing process, keeping peer-reviewers and authors on a level playing field.
An excellent example of a pure OA journal is the Frontiers group, which over a medium range in time, has established a solid reputation of scientific excellence in the quality of peer-reviewed articles it has published. It is also heartening to see conventional journal publishers take a hybrid approach in offering authors the option of early online publication, for a fee albeit. It is hoped that in the medium run, the business model of peer-reviewed publishing amongst OA journals, is able to economically scale itself such that authors do not have to bear the financial cost of getting their research to the public domain. This unfortunate current practice appears to undermine both academic and business ethics. It is in this domain that the OA fund offered at the University of Iowa can bypass these ethically thorny issues while supporting researchers in getting their work published.
In a digital world, OA publishing seems the sensible way forward. Outside of the impact on science, it is an environmental boon as a well, reducing the stress on paper production and the resources required to store these journals. As innovations arise in enhancing digital storage capacity and security, OA publishing could well become the conventional form of scientific reach in the developed world. The challenge will be on OA publishers to provide truly open non-digital access in the near future, to the majority of the world’s population with poor digital access, but nevertheless has a basic human right to literacy and education, about new discoveries, innovations, inventions and ideas.
Find these McPherson works at the UI Libraries:
- Elbow Room — Main Library PS3563.A45544 E4 McPherson won the 1978 Pulitzer Prize for fiction for his short story collection Elbow Room, becoming the first African-American to win the Pulitzer for fiction.
- Crabcakes — Main Library PS3563.A45544 Z476 1998
- A region not home: reflections from exile — Main Library PS3563.A45544 .R4 2000