Archive for the ‘Discussion’ Category
The latest Charleston Observatory report on Social Media and Research Workflow published by the University College London (UCL) and Emerald contains interesting results such as the following key findings:
Researchers sent a clear message to librarians. At the top of their wish list, and by a big margin, is a desire to be able to search across the full text of all locally-held licensed e-content using a simple interface like Google. This is seen as a much greater potential benefit than libraries moving into the social media space by offering users, for example, an opportunity to socially tag the library catalogue.
Researchers are using social media tools to support every phase of the research lifecycle: from identifying research opportunities to disseminating findings at the end. They may not be the same tools, and they are certainly not the same researchers, but social media are most definitely making an impact on scholarly workflow.
Social media have found serious application at all points of the research lifecycle. The three most popular social media tools in a research setting are those for collaborative authoring, conferencing, and scheduling meetings.
The most popular tools used in a professional research context tend to be mainstream anchor technologies or ‘household brands’, like Skype, Google Docs, Twitter and YouTube. Researchers seem to be largely appropriating generic tools rather than using specialist or custom-built solutions and both publishers and librarians need to adapt to this reality. Is this a sign, perhaps, that there may be a gap in the market for simple bespoke tools?
The key driver for the take up of social media is pressure exerted by peers outside of the researcher’s own institution. Social media are helping to fulfill the demand for cheap, instant communication between researchers fuelled by the growth of collaborative and interdisciplinary research.
Users express almost identical preferences when they look for scholarly information. By far their most favoured route is to search the open web, followed by searching licensed e-content through their libraries, followed by asking a colleague. The only difference we could detect in this survey between users and non-users is that the former are more likely to put out a general call for information on a list serv or social network.
Regarding research dissemination, the traditional channels (especially journals, conference proceedings and edited books) are greatly and equally favoured … over informal channels such as blogs. Researchers continue to back dissemination routes that they know and trust. It is clear that social media users see informal tools as a complement to the existing system of scholarly publishing, not as a replacement. As a result, personal dissemination is on a steep upward curve, with implications for publishers especially.
Researchers, especially senior researchers, want above all for publishers to make content readable on all platforms. This, together with more progress in linking articles to their underlying data. They want the basics to work well, not more `bells and whistles’.
“This report is an exploratory data analysis of the preferences, perceptions and self-reported behaviour of nearly two thousand (1,923) researchers who are currently using social media tools to support their research activities. In the analysis the report uses a contrast group of 491 researchers who have yet to use social media in this way to get a little closer to understanding the factors that shape demand and take up.”
This is a large sample by any standards. The survey was distributed online through six very different channels and reached all disciplines across a very wide geographic range (with responses from 215 countries).
The report was sponsored by Emerald, ebrary and Baker & Taylor and prepared by CIBER. The questionnaire was developed by the UCL in close association with Emerald Group Publishing Ltd and was piloted using Survey Monkey Professional. Emerald, Cambridge University Press, the Charleston Library Conference, Taylor & Francis, University College London and Wolters Kluwer provided generous access to their mailing lists.
Source, quotations and all IPR and copyright attributions and credits belongs to the report owners. The report is freely available at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/infostudies/research/ciber/social-media-report.pdf
Once Marjolein Hoekstra pleaded Feedly to consider adding support for dynamic OPML. Her post summarised very well why OPML is important for RSS aggregators to dynamically detect any change in the list of subscribed feeds. When an OPML would get updated, so would the aggregator. The scenario is valid for publishers of scholarly journals.
JournalTOCs endeavours to keep up-to-date the journals published by all the publishers that have been selected by JournalTOCs. Unfortunately publishers that don’t have OPML files listing their current journals are not able to prevent information on their journals from growing stale at the JournalTOCs database.
Producing an OPML file is simple and it’s not a challenge for web developers. Here, we are glad to post a good example of an OPML implementation done by an important publisher.
Laura Paterson is the Program Administrator in charge of Marketing Online Data Focus at Annual Reviews. Back in September 24th, 2010; when reading the UKSG e-resources mailing list, she noticed that several of Annual Reviews‘ newer journals were not listed on JournalTOCs website. Laura emailed JournalTOCs to enquiry about the process for adding additional titles to JournalTOCs. In her first email, Laura listed the eight journals that were missing in JournalTOCs, she attached a KBART formatted list of all the titles published by Annual Reviews, which included ISSN and URL information for each title, and finally she offered help to get all the Annual Reviews titles in JournalTOCs.
We immediately added the missing titles and replied Laura encouraging her to arrange the publication of an OPML file on the Annual Reviews website.
A month later, Laura informed us that Annual Reviews have created an OPML file for its journals which can be found here.
What is more, Annual Reviews had also created a whole range of different and useful RSS feeds; from Table of Contents RSS Feeds for each of their journals to Annual Reviews Audio Series RSS Feeds. They have created a webpage that lists all of the RSS feeds that are available from Annual Reviews: https://www.annualreviews.org/page/about/rssfeeds
We were impressed with the way Annual Reviews had implemented support for OPML and RSS. We think that the development achieved by Annual Reviews demonstrates that producing good and useful RSS & OPML files is not an expensive or complex task. The OPML file and the RSS feeds produced by Annual Reviews are good examples of using web feed formats to publish frequently updated journals in a standardised format for the benefit of readers and subscribers of scholarly journals. The OPML file is simple (see following XML code) but provides enough information to keep automated track of the published journals. Some would argue that the ISSN and the subject classification for each journal would be added. However, the file accomplishes well its main purpose, and that is much better than nothing.
It is significant to notice that being Laura an expert in the field of online discoverability, she was able to quickly perceive the importance of using RSS and OPML for Annual Reviews business. All the major publishers are already publishing OPML files on their websites and the message for the rest of publishers is simple: having an OPML file on your website is highly beneficial for your business.
Manually subscribing to each of the journal TOC RSS feeds produced by a publisher is a time-consuming task. Journal users have to periodically visit the publisher web pages to keep track of new journals, transfers or journals that have ceased to exist. Some publishers have tried to make easier these processes (for example “Forget Me Not” of Springer), but the fact is that no one of these mechanisms is as easy and convenient as listing all the journals in an OPML file. OPML enables users to find the up-to-date list of journal feeds from a single point. Through OPML, users will always be able to know the journals that the publisher is currently publishing and get the latest content for any journal with less effort than visiting the journal feeds repeatedly.
Today, Roddy MacLeod tells us that he has added 25 Open Access (OA) journals to JournalTOCs recently. These new journals will increase the number of OA journals in JournalTOCs. Although finding and uploading individual OA journals is not a sustainable model for us, the work of Roddy is exposing a pattern that can be found in various OA journals. A lot of OA journals do not have TOC RSS feeds. For some reason they didn’t yet grasp the benefits of TOC RSS for the OA movement. Most of those journals use the Open Source software OJS, so it should be very easy for them to produce TOC RSS feeds. In the case of the OJS chosen journals, all that will be necessary is for them to do is to activate the RSS option. In other cases, it may involve some small development work.
Something needs to be done. OA journals cannot fail to notice the power of RSS. As Roddy has expressed here, there are many reasons why all scholarly journals should produce a TOC RSS feed. All the large and medium commercial publishers are producing journal TOC RSS feeds. So what happen with the OA publishers?
We have been planning to report on the journals that were most preferred by JournalTOCs users. We thought that one way to produce this report would be counting the number of times a journal was found in the MyTOCs folders of our subscribed users. We decided to post the results today, perhaps to commemorate that one year ago today, on September 23, 2010, JournalTOCs announced the first version of its API.
We were surprised by the results. The top places were dominated by journals from the library and information sciences field. Before posting the results we did a quick check. Either a big chunk of our users were librarians or something was not right in our database. We quickly contacted 60 of our most active subscribed users and yes, most of them are librarians or are working in that area. So, it seems that academic librarians are the users that have more interest in keeping track of new issues published in specific journals. We wonder why?
Librarians can obviously see the benefits of keeping current with scholarly literature by using JournalTOCs. However, they have not so far been able to get this message across to many of their own library users. Another reason might be because JournalTOCs has received little funding, and so it has been impossible to launch a viable promotional campaign to reach researchers and academics directly.
The following are the top 50 journals drawn from the 5,265 journals that are being tracked by our MyTOCs subscribed users, as today:
Interesting to see academic libraries starting to use the journalTOCs API. Library IT staff have came out with different ideas for re-using journal TOC RSS feeds, from the early “pre-API downloads” to the a little bit more complex “easy receipts” developments. One of these applications that attracted our attention today was the implementation of localised instances of journalTOCs in the library web sites, by creating mashups with the journalTOCs API and other library APIs and web services.
Here in the UK, the library of the Heriot Watt University (H-W) has registered an institutional identifier (*) with JournalTOCs in order to be able to create a tailored journal current awareness service for its library, which should search only the latest papers published in the library holdings in order that the full-text of the articles returned in the search results be always 100% freely available for students and staff of the Heriot-Watt University. Here it is the prototype (beta) of a localised JournalTOCs. The prototype searches the TOCs of 4,500 journals that the University subscribes to which have TOC RSS feeds. It’s still under development, but shows you one or two possibilities. The prototype combines the journalTOC API with an H-W API that exposes the University holdings and with the SerialsSolutions 360Link Resolver to provide OpenURL access.
In general, librarians should not find it difficult to add OpenURL links into their own localised TOC services, because the search results always provide the article title and journal title for each article and, if available in the RSS feed, the DOI, the authors, vol., issue, etc. Thus, adding OpenURL links is simple. You need just to know either the DOI of the article or the article title and journal title (or ISSN) and if possible the first author surname, the vol., issue and pub. date.
We hope that journalTOCS become a useful tool for academic libraries. However, we are aware that, as long as not all the publishers produce OPML feeds as well as rich TOC RSS feeds for their journals, any possible service developments arising out of JournalTOCs would be unlikely to have all the bells and whistles of a commercial aggregator, but as some librarians have pointed out, libraries facing cutbacks will have to make some sacrifices and be more imaginative; and journalTOCs can help them in that sense. Additionally JournalTOCs, in line with the CrossRef guidelines, is interested in continuing to advocate the widespread use of OPML and rich TOC RSS feeds among publishers, which in time will have a gradual impact in the quality and the potential of library services using JournalTOCs content.
(*) Registration of JournalTOCs API Institutional identifiers is free for any institution, on request done via JOURNALTOCs Help