Here Ann Snoyenbos, Manager, International Sales and Special Markets, talks about her experiences of working via INASP to help researchers in developing countries gain access to ProjectMuse.
When I talk to publishers about Project MUSE’s work with INASP (to provide affordable access to MUSE for libraries in developing countries) the responses almost always fall into one of two categories. The first agrees that it’s really important to support developing country researchers, while the second is worries that poor management of content will result in bootleg versions circulating on the black market. A close examination of MUSE usage data across four years suggests that neither of these scenarios is accurate; institutions working with INASP are no different from the other institutions using MUSE.
Continue reading “Scholars are scholars wherever you find them” »
I finally got around to reading the recent DFID evidence survey which I commend them for carrying out and for sharing so publicly. I read the review in two ways – the first, to get a sense of how a major development funder uses evidence. The second, to see how a well-resourced civil service department that values evidence (as demonstrated by the existence of the evidence to action team and the survey itself) deals with the challenges of research uptake.
I am particularly interested in the second point because the VakaYiko consortium I manage works to strengthen evidence use in departments in more resource challenged environments and with other pressures that make research use difficult. I should also point out that VakaYiko is funded under DFID’s Building Capacity to Use Research Evidence (BCURE) programme.
This is not a review of the report which was mainly for an internal audience but I will encourage anyone that’s interested to read it. However some of the issues coming out of it struck me as similar to what I hear from senior civil servants in developing countries. The paper has others but some interesting ones, a mix of headline findings and highlighted quotes from the paper, are touched on below: Continue reading “A comment on DFID’s evidence survey” »
With the accelerating growth of institutional and subject repositories comes the need to be able to search across multiple repositories simultaneously. Such functionality enables repository content to be discovered easily and cost effectively, regardless of location.
Fortunately most institutional and subject repositories have adopted a common standard for describing their contents which enables the metadata to be ‘harvested’ by search engines and repository-specific search services that allow you to cross-search multiple repositories with one search query.
This issue has been mentioned to INASP by a number of its country partners and came up most recently during discussions at an INASP strategic planning meeting, held for library consortia and other national representatives in Oxford at the beginning of December.
Seeing as this is a topic of some interest, I wanted to list some of the available search engines that enable this cross searching.
What search engines exist?
- BASE. This search engine is the one that is cited most often. It is “a multi-disciplinary search engine for academically relevant OAI-Sources worldwide, which was created and developed by Bielefeld University Library. BASE makes it possible to search for more than 50,000,000 documents across 2,700 repository servers worldwide and is one of the biggest search engines for academic OA documents and publications”.
- CORE is a search engine from the Open University Knowledge Media Institute. It covers over 18 million open access resources
- SHERPA Search is for UK repositories only.
- OpenDOAR searches the contents of the repositories listed in OpenDOAR.
- Digital Commons Network provides free access to 842,756 full-text scholarly articles and other research, drawn together from 310 universities and colleges worldwide. “Curated by university librarians and their supporting institutions, this dynamic research tool includes peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, dissertations, working papers, conference proceedings, and other original scholarly work”. It covers the following subjects: Arts and Humanities; Business; Education; Engineering; Law; Life Sciences; Medicine and Health Sciences; Physical Sciences and Mathematics; Social and Behavioural Sciences.
- Institutional Repository Search started as a project that came to an end in 2009 but the service has been running continuously since then. This service pulls together disparate content from over 130 UK repositories, making it easier to search and discover in ways that meet personal or contextual needs.
These tools provide the opportunity for individual repositories to make their content discoverable and accessible to the wide international scholarly research community. Unfortunately not every repository has been registered with ROAR, the Registry of Open Access Repositories, or with OpenDOAR. This should be a high priority for institutions that have, or are in the process of developing, their own local institutional repository.
After a successful pilot phase in 2011, e-learning became a formal part of AuthorAID at INASP in July 2012 with the launch of our Moodle system. Last year, we conducted two online courses in research writing, which were completed by 58 researchers from about 20 developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. They were among 68 researchers who enrolled in the courses following an application and selection stage.
Encouraged by the high completion and participation rates (see this post for more details), we began our first collaboration to develop and run a customized course in research writing. Our partner in this effort was Blacksmith Institute, a US-based nonprofit focused on solving pollution problems. Sandy Page-Cook and Anne Riederer from Blacksmith’s Journal of Health and Pollution helped us customize the course to make it relevant to researchers working in environmental health. Continue reading “An eventful year of online courses” »
Last week (6 December 2013), I went along to the annual workshop of the International Association of Scientific and Technological University Libraries (IATUL) at Keble College, Oxford. The title of the conference was Research Data Management: Finding our Role and the focus was not on the technical aspects of the subject, but rather on the role that librarians can and are indeed playing in this increasingly important area.
A hot topic
The whole area of data management has become a hot topic in recent times. Back in 2010 LIBER (Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche / Association of European Research Libraries) established an “E-Science working group” to investigate the role libraries can and should play in the field of e-science. After three workshops, the final one taking place in Tartu, June 2012, the group proposed ten recommendations for libraries to get started with research data management. Continue reading “What is the role of a librarian in Research Data Management?” »