Shifting ground: scholarly communication in geography


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Joint presentation by me, Data/Liaison Librarian Heather Whipple and Collections Librarian Ian Gibson for the Canadian Association of Geographers' meeting during Congress 2014.

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  • Think broadly & search locally: strategies for limiting search results across many disciplines to geographical research

  • Use google scholar wisely

    Ways to get access when you don’t have university affiliation
  • Plan for future – will you be able to access your own data in 5 years? Are the formats accessible? Is the storage secure? Do you have multiple backups?
  • So, for a long time, publishing was pretty old-school:
    -researcher creates content
    -researcher submits content to commercial publisher (book or journal)
    -publisher uses other researchers to review quality of content – often editors do this without pay
    -publisher accepts reviewed content and asks researcher to sign over their copyrights – so that researchers lose most rights to re-use and/or reproduce their own work
    -publisher copy-edits, packages and publishes content and sells it to academic institutions at very high prices

    The picture becomes even more problematic when you consider that much of the research that is published has been funded by taxpayers – who then are not able to access the end result of that research
  • Many emerging models for scholarly publishing:
    -online only journals, some of which are open access >> incorporate video, reader interaction, etc.
    -university publishers which offer digital journal and/or book publishing
    -online archives – subject specific or institutional
    -funding requirements – CIHR, SSHERC and NSERC have issued a draft unified policy for researchers that will require journal articles based on funded research to be made freely accessible within 12 mos of publication (other countries eg. EU, US, Australia far ahead of Can.)
    -even commercial publishers are becoming more open – allowing authors to archive their work online; may be the pre-refereed, refereed, or even published versions of the manuscript

  • The Open Access movement has been a key driver in this transformation – formalized about 11 years ago with publishers and scholars pledging to use the Internet to make research freely available as a public good
    Key features:
    -immediate access with no user fees
  • Gargouri Y, Hajjem C, Larivière V, Gingras Y, Carr L, et al. (2010) Self-Selected or Mandated, Open Access Increases Citation Impact for Higher Quality Research. PLoS ONE 5(10): e13636. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0013636 -- Compared OA and non-OA articles within the same journals; looked at articles deposited in four mandated IRs; compared with articles published in same journal, volume, year but not deposited in an IR
    The impact of free access to the scientific literature: a review of recent research – Davis, Walters, 2011,JMLA 99 3 -- Review of the literature; Nucleic Acid Research j studied how moving from paywall to OA resulted in double article downloads (tho robots account for half of increase); also an RCT - Davis PM, Lewenstein BV, Simon DH, Booth JG,Connolly MJL. Open access publishing, article downloads and citations: randomised controlled trial. BMJ. 2008 Jul 31;337:a568. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.a568.
  • Usually, publishing in an Open Acess journal allows authors to retain full copyright over their work – you give the journal a “non-exclusive” one-time right to publish your work
    You retain the rights to reuse your work as you see fit – to reproduce it digitally or in print, to post on a website or online archive, to share with colleagues or students
  • There are almost 10,000 journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals and around 1.6 M articles.
  • Aligned with growth in OA publishing, policies are being established to promote and guide how OA works at various levels including institutional and national – e.g some institutions, such as Concordia, have policies mandating that researchers must deposit their articles in their IR or give reasons why not.
    >> ROARMAP -- -- is tracking this growth.
    Internationally, Canada is playing ‘catch up’to US, UK, EU, Australia:
    -UK - RCUK Policy on Open Access – 2012 funded researchers must publish final published version in either immediate OA + archive OR final manuscript in any repo within either 6 (STEM) or 12 mos (SSH)
    - Australia – Australian Research Council OA Policy “any publications arising from an ARC supported research project must be deposited into an open access institutional repository within a twelve (12) month period from the date of publication.” Early 2013
    US Fair Access to Scientific Technology Research Act (FASTR) –require OA j manuscripts repo deposit for agencies with annual research expenditures of $100M +; max 6 month embargo
    EU – funded articles must be OA by publisher immediately, or by researcher via IR within 6 mos

  • Can see big growth in repositories via OpenDOAR, a searchable database of subject and institutional respositories maintained at the Centre for Research Communications at the University of Nottingham.
    Useful for faculty and students: can look for subject repostories; contents searchable (eg War of 1812 Brock)
  • Not a lot of high profile options at this point in Geography
    Acme not included in JCR or Google’s metrics
  • Theoretically, a high impact factor is good: that means there are “lots” of citations to your articles so therefore your journal has a big “impact”
  • > Few geography journals in Web of Science/Journal Citation Reports
    Gaming: Journals can try to inflate citations by encouraging authors to cite articles in their journal
    You could write the worst article in the world and have a huge number of citations – for all the wrong reasons
    No distinction between citations of research articles and citations of news, commentary, opinion, review articles, etc.
    Questions of reproducibility: Rockefeller University Press tried to reproduce their impact factors and the IFs of their competitors first using just WoS then using data provided by TR – despite multiple attempts they could not find the magic numbers to make the calculations work (see
  • So if I have an H-index of 2, that means I have written two papers that have been cited at least twice
    -rewards prolific authors, long careers
    -doesn’t reward groundbreaking ideas and papers that get a lot of citations
  • -the declaration on research assessment was formulated by the American Society for Cell Biology (in conjunction with others) to shed light on the wide spread practice of judging grant applications and T&P decisions on where the applicants had published instead of what they published.
  • Alternative metrics are quite new – still under development
    Recent working paper by Costas, Zahedi and Wouters from University of Leiden showed altmetrics still a new, though growing phenomenon; weak positive correlation between altmetric rates and citations
    Thelwell et al. ( in PLOSOne report that significant altmetric activity (for certain services) does correlate to higher citation but that use of some altmetric services are so seldom used it might not actually be worthwhile
    Sud and Thelwell ( recommend methods for evaluation of altmetrics
    David Colquhoun writes on his blog that it’s best to ignore altmetrics and other bibliometric nightmares “Altmetrics are numbers generated by people who don’t understand research, for people who don’t understand research. People who read papers and understand research just don’t need them and should shun them.”
  • Shifting ground: scholarly communication in geography

    1. 1. Shifting Ground: Understanding Scholarly Communication in Geography Heather Whipple, Data/Liaison Librarian Elizabeth Yates, Liaison/Scholarly Communication Librarian Ian Gibson, Collections Librarian May 28, 2014 ~ CAG @ Congress Free to use or share with attribution
    2. 2. Today’s outcomes You will recall: • Strategies for finding & sharing scholarly information sources • Characteristics of changes in scholarly publishing, including Open Access • Important publishing platforms for geography • Strategies for evaluating a journal • Characteristics of traditional and new forms of measuring research impact
    3. 3. Finding geographical research • Geographers research everything, everywhere: no single research database can keep up • Web of Science, Scopus, Google Scholar • Other specialized disciplinary databases with overlap • Use advanced search options to limit by subject, keyword • For example: geograph*
    4. 4. Finding geographical research • Google Scholar • If you are affiliated with a university, make sure your library is linked to your profile for easy access to subscription content • Set up citation export preferences • Set up alerts (also available for journals & databases) • Access when you’re between affiliations • Public library databases • Alumni access to ILL • Author websites & research repositories • &
    5. 5. Sharing your research • Make sure YOUR WORK can be found • ORCID & ResearcherID • Publishing and Getting Read. 2013 (RGS) • Ballamingie, Patricia, and Susan Tudin. 2013. "Publishing graduate student research in geography: the fundamentals." Journal Of Geography In Higher Education 37, no. 2: 304- 314.
    6. 6. Sharing your research • Research Data Management • Best practices for preserving your data over the long term • Plan for the future • Plan for sharing • Plan for reuse • Plan for protection of vulnerable or proprietary content • Increasingly expected as part of funding applications
    7. 7. Publishing then
    8. 8. Publishing now • Open, online journals • Digital academic presses • Online repositories • Funding agency policies supporting OA • Greater support for author rights
    9. 9. • Free, immediate online access to scholarly research • No end-user fees • Usually greater freedom for re-use
    10. 10. Open Access = greater impact Open Access Citation effect: • Open Access articles are cited significantly more than non-OA articles Article downloads: • Open Access articles are downloaded significantly more than non-OA articles
    11. 11. Open Access = more rights
    12. 12. Morrison, H. (2014). Dramatic Growth of Open Access: December 31, 2013: first open source edition. Growth of OA publishing
    13. 13. OA Policies: global growth
    14. 14. How does OA work? Publishing is not free! Costs are covered by means such as: • Article processing fees • Advertising • Sponsorship by a scholarly society • Researcher memberships
    15. 15. Repositories Image: 'Dolmabahçe Palace...' Found on • Online archives of scholarly content • Subject-based or institutional e.g. Brock Digital Repository • Search global repositories via:
    16. 16. Open Access in Geography • DOAJ • 572 titles for geograph* anywhere • 118 titles for Geography (general) by subject • PLOS One • Acme • Cities and the Environment (CATE) • OA journals for other related disciplines • DOAR • 43 disciplinary repositories for Geography and Regional Studies • your best option might fall under another subject category
    17. 17. How do you evaluate a journal? a. My advisor recommended it b. It has a high Impact Factor c. I found it on Google Scholar d. It looks pretty e. The editor emailed me and asked me to send in an article – it will only cost $500 to publish!
    18. 18. Some guidelines Source: Brock Library (2014) Guidelines for evaluating a journal. • Check aims, cope & subject coverage • Are its policies on peer review, open access, copyright, etc., publicly available? • Do you recognize researchers in your field? • Where is it indexed? • Does it have an Impact Factor or alternative metrics? • Does it appear on a “watch” list e.g. Beall’s list of predatory publishers? • If it charges fees, are they clearly explained?
    19. 19. Journal Impact Factor 𝐼𝐹 = 𝐶𝑖𝑡𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑠 𝐶𝑖𝑡𝑎𝑏𝑙𝑒 𝐴𝑟𝑡𝑖𝑐𝑙𝑒𝑠 Citations = citations in the current year to articles published in the past two years Citable articles = number of articles published in the past two years
    20. 20. E.g. 1. If articles published in your journal in 2010-2011 were cited 50 times in 2012 2. And your journal published a total 100 articles in 2010-2011 3. Your journal’s impact factor is: 50/100 = .5
    21. 21. Problems with Impact Factor • A quantification of quality • Only pertains to journals, not people • Only counts journals indexed in Web of Science (geography?) • Can be easily gamed Image: 'choking' Found on
    22. 22. Individual metric: H-Index H = n papers that have been cited at least n times • reflects both the number of publications and the number of citations per publication • based on a list of publications ranked in descending order by the times cited
    23. 23. E.g. • if I have an H-index of 2, that means I have written two papers that have been cited at least twice Issues: • rewards prolific authors, long careers • doesn’t reward groundbreaking ideas and papers that get a lot of citations • only relevant for fields that focus on articles, articles, articles
    24. 24. There is no perfect metric
    25. 25. Declaration on Research Assessment General Recommendation 1. Do not use journal-based metrics, such as Journal Impact Factors, as a surrogate measure of the quality of individual research articles, to assess an individual scientist's contributions, or in hiring, promotion, or funding decisions.
    26. 26. Alternative Metrics • For articles • For individuals • For institutions Broader scope: -”real world” AND academic impact -articles AND code AND blog posts AND reports, etc. -beyond use to how and why -focus away from journal and onto article, individual
    27. 27. Article Level Metrics: PLoS • Metrics for each article publically displayed • Categories: Viewed, Cited, Saved, Discussed, and Recommended • PLoS metrics software openly available • 1%2Fjournal.pone.0030366
    28. 28. Individual metrics: Impact Story • • Works best with permanent identifier eg ORCID or ResearcherID • Open source project aggregating multiple outputs > DOIs, URLs, software, slides, etc. • metrics sorted by engagement type and audience
    29. 29. Institutional metrics: Plum Analytics • 5 categories of metrics: usage, captures, mentions, social media & citations • Multiple outputs including articles, books, videos, presentations, datasets, etc. • E.g. of institutional use > The Smithsonian
    30. 30. Use with caution
    31. 31. Copyright: What is it? Why does it matter? • a form of intellectual property • takes effect the moment a work is “fixed” (doesn’t apply to ideas, facts) • applies to all genres – books, periodicals, charts, software, films, music, works of art • Protects your rights as a creator: • to reproduce, publish, alter, sell, etc. the work • copyright infringement > is unauthorized copying or use of a work
    32. 32. What can you do? No. 1 > Read your copyright agreements! • research your publication options • negotiate more copy-rights • use Creative Commons licensing -- • publish with an Open Access platform White clouds in the deep blue, by backtrust; from stock.xchng
    33. 33. Summing up • Scholarly publishing is in transition • We have the ability to discover vast quantities of information • We have the ability to share vast quantities of information • Some publishers are nervous about what this might mean • You have opportunities to decide how you want to engage with this changing realm • You have opportunities & responsibilities to understand how your work is measured, contained, and promoted.
    34. 34. Thank you Presentation slides ~ Presentation links ~ Heather Whipple ~ Elizabeth Yates ~ Thanks to Ian Gibson for metrics & altmetrics content