The Great War Revisited — A TCD Online Exhibition

greatwarIn 1916 a group of Irish Volunteers, among whom were James Connolly, James, Plunkett and Patrick Pearse, insurrected against British rule in Ireland. Part of the rationale for the timing of this Easter Rising was to strike at Britain while she was busy in the First World War. However, it is not always known that very many Irish participated on the side of Britain in the Great War. Records show that over 200,000 Irishmen served in the British Army at this time (a great uncle of mine, Thomas Rapple, a Dubliner, died in October 1918 while serving as a private in the 13th Hussars).

Earlier this summer, the Library of Trinity College Dublin in partnership with the Google Cultural Institute launched The Great War Revisited exhibition. This fascinating digital exhibition highlights some of the riches of First World War material held by TCD’s Library. These include recruiting posters, letters, diaries, photographs, videos, pamphlets and artworks.

From the press release:

Highlights of the exhibition include:

1. Trinity’s celebrated collection of Irish WWI recruiting posters (one of the largest collection in existence)

2. Previously unpublished photographs of the Allied campaign in Iraq and Turkey

3. Letters and diaries from Irish soldiers serving in France, Iraq and Palestine (previously unpublished)

4. A multitude of political pamphlets, songs and ballads and artworks

Predatory Journals: Proposed Solutions

predatoryIn the last week two thoughtful pieces were published on the topics of greedy publishers and predatory publishing. In “Opinion: Pay-to-Play Publishing” in the current issue of The Scientist Kailash Gupta argues that a growing number of online scientific journals are more interested in making money than in publishing quality research articles. His proposed solution, though not original, is very sensible.

To improve the situation and increase the trust in scientific community, the pressure to publish must be reduced. The value that both funders and tenure committees put on publication record drives scientists to publish marginal advances, which predatory publishers are all too happy to post online. Funding and promotion decisions should not be based on the number of publications, but on the quality of those publications and a researcher’s long-term productivity and mentorship.

PoynderIn a blog posting (8 September, 2015) “Predatory Publishing: A Modest Proposal” Richard Poynder makes a very interesting suggestion about combating predatory journals. He acknowledges the utility of Jeffrey Beall’s well-known list of questionable publications but argues that the publishers of such journals, though often predatory, are not always the only ones to be blamed. He contends “that if a journal is predatory then all those researchers sitting on its editorial and advisory boards are to some extent also predatory, or at least they are conspiring in the publisher’s predatory behaviour.” Poynder’s proposal:

Why does the OA movement not create a database containing all the names of researchers who sit on the editorial and/or advisory boards of the publishers on Beall’s list, along with the names of the journals with which they are associated?

Poynder goes on to discuss a number of purposes such a database could serve.

Collaborative Research Relationships in the Digital Humanities

On 1 September, 2015 in a preview issue of Digital Humanities Quarterly Alix Keener published “The Arrival Fallacy: Collaborative Research Relationships in the Digital Humanities”. The article, based on the results of semi-structured interviews with 11 personnel — faculty, researchers and librarians — within the Center for Institutional Cooperation, explores the collaborative relationship between faculty and academic librarians in the conduct of digital humanities research. The findings are discussed in five sections: I), the best model for engaging DH scholars, II), what domain expertise is needed, III), the areas in which faculty and librarians agree, IV), the areas in which they disagree (tensions), and finally, V), where the two groups have a perceptual disconnect. Below is the article’s abstract:

As discussion and debates on the digital humanities continue among scholars, so too does discussion about how academic libraries can and should support this scholarship. Through interviews with digital humanities scholars and academic librarians within the Center for Institutional Cooperation, this study aims to explore some points of common perspective and underlying tensions in research relationships. Qualitative interviews revealed that, while both groups are enthusiastic about the future of faculty-librarian collaboration on digital scholarship, there remain certain tensions about the role of the library and the librarian. Scholars appreciate the specialized expertise of librarians, especially in metadata and special collections, but they can take a more active stance in utilizing current library resources or vocalizing their needs for other resources. This expertise and these services can be leveraged to make the library an active and equal partner in research. Additionally, libraries should address internal issues, such as training and re-skilling librarians as necessary; better-coordinated outreach to academic departments is also needed.

Directory of Open Access Books

doabThere are currently 3276 academic peer-reviewed books from 110 publishers in the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB). DOAB is a service of OAPEN Foundation, a non-profit foundation dedicated to Open Access publishing of academic books based at the National Library in The Hague.

“The primary aim of DOAB is to increase discoverability of Open Access books. Academic publishers are invited to provide metadata of their Open Access books to DOAB. Metadata will be harvestable in order to maximize dissemination, visibility and impact. Aggregators can integrate the records in their commercial services and libraries can integrate the directory into their online catalogues, helping scholars and students to discover the books. The directory is open to all publishers who publish academic, peer reviewed books in Open Access”

In order to have their books indexed in DOAB publishers must meet the requirements for both Open Access and peer review. DOAB’s monographs cover a broad range of subjects and disciplinary areas. To browse subjects covered click here.

Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing

In June 2015 the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), and the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME) produced a second version of the document Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing. As the numbers of “predatory” and spurious journals proliferate, this document may be helpful in assessing journal quality and in identifying journals that engage in unethical practices. The principles or evaluative criteria number sixteen: 1. Peer review process; 2. Governing Body; 3. Editorial team/contact information; 4. Author fees; 5. Copyright; 6. Process for identification of and dealing with allegations of research misconduct; 7. Ownership and management; 8. Web site; 9. Name of journal; 10. Conflicts of interest; 11. Access; 12. Revenue sources; 13. Advertising; 14. Publishing schedule; 15. Archiving; 16. Direct marketing.

Also particularly useful is BC Libraries’ guide Open Access Quality Indicators. These quality indicators are intended to provide guidance in evaluating publication venues or in responding to invitations to serve as an editor or reviewer.

The Newton Project

newtonBased at the University of Sussex and the University of Cambridge, the Newton Project is an important digital scholarship initiative whose goal is to produce a comprehensive online edition of all of Sir Isaac Newton’s (1642–1727) writings whether printed or not. So far over 6.4 million words have been transcribed and include Newton’s works in religion, alchemy and politics in addition to science and mathematics. His notesbooks and correspondence are also digitized. The project includes additional contextual materials illustrating how Newton’s doctrines were received, taught and popularized in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. A particularly useful aspect of each of the digitized writings is the presentation of a diplomatic rendition featuring all the amendments Newton made to the text as well a more readable normalized version.

The editors make a very interesting, if somewhat droll, observation about the Newton Project:

The digital medium is particularly appropriate for hosting the writings of a man who evinced what can only be described as a visceral hatred for print culture. Although his interest and expertise in both church history and prophecy was known to many people, no print edition of any of his non-scientific writings, authorized or otherwise by Newton, appeared in his lifetime (though he did show selected works to acolytes). His research remained constantly work-in-progress and there was no terminus to his various projects in the form of truly ‘final’ treatise (this of course applies equally to his great printed works). An evolving and expanding digital site is eminently suitable for publishing these private researches, for showing them to their full extent, and for representing the detailed and dynamic process of his thought.

CLIR Report: The Once and Future Publishing Library

clirThe Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) has just published the open access report The Once and Future Publishing Library. The authors are Ann Okerson and Alex Holzman.

The report explores the revitalization of library publishing and its possible future, and examines elements that influence the success and sustainability of library publishing initiatives.

The authors trace the history of library publishing and factors that have transformed the publishing landscape, and describe several significant library-press collaborations forged over the past two decades. Authors include results of a survey they conducted to better understand how current library publishing initiatives are supported financially. They conclude with a series of observations about the range of publishing initiatives in American academic libraries.

New Digital.Bodleian Website

bodleianEarlier this month Oxford’s Bodleian Library launched its new Digital.Bodleian website. This site includes over 100,000 images and covers a wonderfully diverse group of topics, e.g. medieval maps; botanical watercolors; 18th and 19th century children’s board games; Victorian playbills, handbills, postcards and posters; Greek and Hebrew manuscripts; Conservative Party election posters; paintings from 19th-century Calcutta; and much more.

There are few restrictions on the use of the digital images, once the use is non-commercial. From the press release:

Digital.Bodleian . . . allows users to download images for non-commercial use, make private notes and annotations, leave public comments on images and share images on social media. The resource is particularly suited to educational use as all images are available under an open license allowing for use in presentations, on virtual learning environments and on other non-commercial platforms.

National Library of Ireland Marks 200th Anniversary of Battle of Waterloo

waterlooThis years marks the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo where the Anglo-allied army under the Duke of Wellington defeated the French army under Napoleon Bonaparte. This was one of the most critical battles in European history.

To mark the anniversary the National Library of Ireland has made available over 300 digitized portraits of the Dublin-born Duke of Wellington and almost 100 digitized portraits of Napoleon. It also provides access to a selection of over 100 digitized prints relating to Waterloo.

Cambridge University Press Prevents Double-Dipping in New Open Access Subscription Policy

Cambridge University Press yesterday announced a new policy intended to prevent “double-dipping”, that is charging both authors and subscribers for Open Access journal content. The practice of double-dipping is disliked by many proponents and practitioners of OA who contend that publishers should not be paid twice, i.e. by the subscriptions paid by the university/college libraries as well as by authors who pay for their articles to be OA.

From CUP’s press release of 6 July, 2015:

Matthew Day, Head of Open and Data Publishing at Cambridge University Press, said; ‘We believe that double-dipping is wrong and we want to be clear about how we are preventing it.’

The new policy discounts 2016 subscription prices for journals that have received Open Access (OA) Article Processing Charges (APCs) from authors in the last full journal volume (that is, in 2014). If the fraction of OA articles in a journal was at least 5 per cent and the income from APCs was at least £5,000, then the Press is discounting renewed subscriptions by the lower of the percentage OA or the percentage APC income. All Open Access articles are included, except those in supplements published in addition to a volume’s subscription content. Subscribers already receiving a substantial discount on a journal’s subscription price, via a consortium package for example, will not receive an additional discount on their collection access fee as a result of these changes.

Mandy Hill, Managing Director of Academic, at Cambridge University Press, said; ‘We’ve previously had an anti-double-dipping policy in place, but this new policy is stronger and more transparent. It is an important part of how we serve the needs of the academic community.’