Dartmouth at OpenCon 2014!


Dartmouth continues its support for broader access to educational materials and the results of research by providing a travel scholarship for an early career researcher to attend OpenCon 2014:  The Student and Early Career Researcher Conference on Open Access, Open Education and Open Data.   This commitment builds on initiatives such as the Open Access Publishing Equity Fund, the open access journal Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene, the faculty open access resolution under discussion across campus, and the creation of DartmouthX courses.  Early career researchers and teachers will shape the future of their fields, blending use of digital information tools with the importance of broad access to information, data, and education. OpenCon offers an opportunity for participants from around the world to build that future.

Brett Anderson, a graduate student in the Department of Physics & Astronomy,  and Dr. Kes Schroer, a postdoctoral fellow in the Neukom Institute & Department of Anthropology, are representing Dartmouth at OpenCon 2014.  Brett is the recipient of the Dartmouth travel scholarship to OpenCon and Kes is attending as part of her invitation to speak at George Washington University on ”Pathways to Open Science”.   Says Brett, “Science is definitely moving in an Open direction, from governmental agencies requiring open publication of results of taxpayer funded research to scientists simply wanting to make their data public and their methods transparent.  While the goals are laudable and seem clear, the path towards achieving ‘Open Science’ is complex.  We are attending OpenCon 2014 to learn and collaborate with scientists from around the world and to blaze this new trail together.” Kes shared her insights into how OpenCon 2014 will help early career researchers forward science.  “Open Science is about establishing fair, rapid, and reproducible research in an era of international and transdisciplinary exploration. Attending OpenCon gives us the chance to learn and develop best practices for putting Open Science into action.”

Brett and Kes will deepen the campus conversation about open access, open education, and open data when they return, so look for programs and talks on these topics!

Open Educational Resources: New Initiatives for Creation and Discovery

Global OER Logo from UNESCO

Open Educational Resources, or OERs, include full works like textbooks, as well as smaller units of content that can be repurposed as needed for the learning goals of a course. These are key resources for new approaches to course design and delivery, particularly but not limited to, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS). The creation and discovery of OERs has been forwarded by initiatives involving librarians, computing experts, instructional designers, and faculty.  They are enabled by licensing provided by Creative Commons.  Here are a few notable examples of technology platforms that make it easier to create OERs, initiatives to support that creation, and discovery services specifically for OERs:

  • Rice University’s Connexions provides a platform including a content management system, an XML structure, and content on which to build, which they call “modules” and “collections”.  Connexions provides tools for writing and assembling content, and content on which to build, licensed for that purpose.
  •  Lumen Learning, founded by David Wiley, BYU Business School, offers support for faculty to work with and develop OER content, and provides consulting services for institutions to help plan for incorporating OERs.  David Wiley explains why in his TED talk:  http://www.youtube.com/embed/Rb0syrgsH6M
  • The Open Education Initiative at UMass Amherst, started in 2011, provides funding for competitive grants to faculty to develop content.  Faculty can use a variety of platforms to develop content, but first learn about resources for finding existing content, and about licensing to make the material reusable.
  • Open Textbook publishing at Oregon State University involves the Library, the OSU Press, and the OSU Extended Campus Open Education Resources Unit, and provides funding for competitive grants to faculty to create open textbooks. See OSU Request for proposals for details on the program.
  • The Open Textbook Library is the result of a new project at the University of Minnesota focused on enhancing discoverability and peer review of OERs, including open textbooks.  David Ernst, University of Minnesota Chief Information Officer in the College of Education and Human Resources, and Executive Director of the Open Academics Textbook Initiative discusses this in his TEDx talk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eA9Tv-OvoZU
  • Flat World Knowledge includes a catalog of resources, and an online editor so faculty can customize materials; it still offers affordable options but no longer completely free access.

For more catalogs, lists and platforms for OERs, see the guide from UMass:  OER For Educators

An interesting question for librarians is whether we should select these kinds of resources for inclusion in our key discovery tools, such as the Catalog and Summon, and if so which ones.

CrossMark: Tool for Identifying Changes in Journal Articles

CrossMark Link to Information You may notice this CrossMark symbol on the PDF of a recent journal article you have downloaded. The icon is linked to information about this journal article, and keeps you updated with any changes even though you have downloaded the PDF to your own computer, as long as you are connected to the internet. You may also see it on the HTML of an article. The CrossMark icon link will most likely tell you that the version of the journal article you are viewing is current, but it will also warn you if there have been updates to the article, then link to those updates.

CrossMarkUpdatesUpdates could include corrections, changes in a data set,  or retractions.

The DOI (digital object identifier) registration service CrossRef has developed the CrossMark service for use by publishers who use CrossRef DOIs. See CrossMark examples implemented by a variety of publishers.

Discovering Open Access Articles

Several tools for discovering journal articles, such as Web of Science, IEEE Xplore, PubMed, and ScienceDirect, now have ways for you to limit a search to open access articles or to identify the open access articles within the result set of your search. Open access articles are free to read regardless of the reader’s access to the published articles via institutional subscriptions.

Due to the importance of being able to identify open access articles and to know what kinds of uses of these are permitted, NISO is sponsoring a working group of stakeholders to develop “Recommended Practices for Open Access Metadata and Indicators“. The adoption of standard metadata will enable transfer of that data among information providers and publishers, and further enhance discovery of this information, including in web scale discovery services like Summon.

Meanwhile, you can use the following tools to locate open access articles; look for similar options in other search tools:

In the new Web of Science platform, run your search, display results, and find the open access option at the end of the “Refine Results” list of options. This will show you the number of articles in your result that are OA; then apply “refine” to limit your set to these.

IEEE XPlore offers the option at the search page:
PubMed offers a filter for “free full text”.
ScienceDirect provides browsing of journals by “open access” for completely open journals or “contains open access” for those where some article are open access, as well as a refinement on your search to open access articles.

Summon 2.0 – Preview It Now!

Summon 2.0 is not just a new look for a user interface to search for vast amounts of scholarly content. It provides new functions and content now, with more to come as it develops over the next few months. It’s available to preview now so have a look!

Highlights of the new look and features that you’ll see in Preview:

  • 3 columns so additional information does not cover the existing information
  • Research guides, subject specialist librarians and topic overviews display in the third column to provide additional sources of information on the topic
  • Overviews of topics, currently from three sources with more to come: Credo Reference, Encyclopedia Britannica and Wikipedia
  • Facets are selected by links instead of check boxes
  • Results are grouped in “roll-ups” by content type such as images and newspaper articles
  • Results are grouped into broad disciplines
  • Additional suggested search terms are provided through use of controlled vocabularies from a variety of sources, including some index and abstract services

The URL for Dartmouth’s Summon Preview is dartmouth.preview.summon.serialssolutions.com

BrowZine-Journal Reading Shelf for iPad

BrowZine brings the experience of  browsing current journal shelves- enjoying the cover art, scanning the table of contents, and reading the full text- to your iPad.  This new app from Third Iron allows you to build your own journal browsing shelf from your choice of open access and subscription based journals from a large range of scholarly and scientific publishers. You can set up current awareness notification, and save and download articles to Zotero, Mendeley, Dropbox and other services.

There is a free version of the App that you can use for open access materials, and for a fee, an institution can set up your BrowZine experience to include the journals to which your institution subscribes. Stay tuned for a Dartmouth trial of BrowZine!



Authorea Is Live!

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a new authoring tool for scientists called Authorea.   At that time, Authorea was still in an early stage of development and not available to the public … but no longer!   It’s now available for anyone to create an account to test out (note that while some features of Authorea are of particular interest to scientists, many would be extremely useful to scholarly authors in other disciplines — e.g., robust support for collaborative authoring; support for images, data and code).  In keeping with its ‘open science’ vision, an account holder can have an unlimited number of ‘public’ articles while ‘private’ articles are limited (at least on the free version).

Read the announcement below about Authorea’s key features:

Web-native articles: write your articles on the the web, ready for the web! No need to compile LaTeX into a PDF file anymore. Render your LaTeX or Markdown articles right into your browser, in HTML5.

Concurrent collaboration, the easy way: got many collaborators? Not a problem. Manage your collaboration in a safe and tidy way. Lock article elements while you are working on them. And keep track of who is working on other parts of your article.

Robust version control: every Authorea article sits on a Git repository and has a newsfeed where you can keep track of all the changes made by you and your collaborators. If you made a mistake a while back, you can undo that specific change, rather than clicking undo hundreds of times!

An editor for scientific content: Authorea natively supports LaTeX and Markdown tables, LaTeX and MathML equations, and BibTeX references. Everything renders to HTML5.

Include images, data, and code: adding an image to an Authorea article is as easy as drag and drop. Every image sits in a folder which hosts related data and code.

What’s coming next?

Rich images: we are working hard to implement “executable figures”: figures which contain not only an image but also all the underlying data and code that were used to produce that image. Soon you will be able to push the plots you produce in RPython matplotlibd3.js, and other tools, from your console to the Authorea paper.

Commenting and annotation: let your peers, coauthors, and the public at large review, comment, and annotate your research articles.

LaTeX stylesheet support: so that you can export your articles to a format ready for submission to a journal.


An interesting new product in the suite of tools available for scholarly authors. …