“libraries pledge a maximum of £1,100 to ‘unlatch’ a collection of 28 humanities and social sciences books. If at least 200 libraries from around the world sign up for the collection by 31st January 2014, these books will be made free for anyone in the world to read on an open access basis.”
A possibly useful journal publishing plugin for those who love WordPress. IssueM is a commercial ($55) plugin that lets you manage a WordPress install as if it were an issue-based magazine, complete with auto-archiving. The suggested page-design is very “American magazine” in tone, but could probably be improved with a few CSS tweaks…
A conference on “Open Access Monographs in the Humanities and Social Sciences“, 1st and 2nd July 2013 at The British Library, London.
An Omeka 2.0 Release Candidate is now available for download. Omeka is a handy WordPress-like online catalogue publishing software, designed for academics.
Among the streamlining and new features:
* creation of thumbnail images for a fuller range of files
* the availability of a new site-wide search
* addition of Dublin Core Metadata fields
The December 2012 Literary & Linguistic Computing has a new paper on enhancing the traditional scholarly article, “Toward Modeling the Social Edition: An Approach to Understanding the Electronic Scholarly Edition in the Context of New and Emerging Social Media” (its annotated bibliographies are free)…
“This article explores building blocks in extant and emerging social media toward the possibilities they offer to the scholarly edition in electronic form, positing that we are witnessing the nascent stages of a new ‘social’ edition existing at the intersection of social media and digital editing.”
The five practical possibilities noted in the paper are:
* Collaborative Annotation (via third-party browser toolbar addons).
* User-derived Content (user-made linked ‘overlay’ collections).
* Folksonomy Tagging (freeform keyword tagging, open to all).
* Community Bibliography (using Zotero et al).
* Community Text-Analysis (via tools yet to be created).
That seems a sensible ‘overlay’ approach. Bolting the current social media fad-of-the-year right into the heart of a text would be asking for problems. No-one opening a document in the year 2040 will want to find that all of the document’s embedded Twitter hooks are broken, and thus they face a sea of broken pop-ups and sidebars (because in 2040 a short comment is perhaps sent simply by thinking it via a digi-telepathic implant, whereupon it gets sent to someone’s augmented-reality contact-lens complete with a beautiful little overlay cloud of colour-shaded emotional nuances…).
Adding a light digital patina of polite academic chatter and margin notes assumes that the author keeps basic control of the core text. But what if we do not remain safely within the polite scholarly culture of abstracting short quotes for ‘fair use’? What if we enter into a world of open remixing, perhaps via state mandated CC-BY licences? On certain platforms we’re already in a situation where the core digital text only appears to have a pure and elegant print-like form, while a “view source” operation shows the author’s text is held in a cat’s-cradle of structured data and code. What if future advances in such structuring/tagging mean that the text can be swiftly abstracted / summarised / remixed (probably with the aid of a cloud of automated software bots) or even rewritten? The core text would thus not simply be overlaid with a friendly social chatter. It would be opened to being policed in depth. For instance, we might imagine an efficient commercial fact-checking service (also bot-enhanced), operating in much the same way as the plagiarism bots that already patrol student essays in some universities. Hopefully such policing might be benign and useful, but it some cases it might not be. One might imagine a “Great Firewall of China” which rather than blocking a text actively rewrites it on-the-fly (in much the same way as Google Chrome currently auto-translates Chinese to English).
In such circumstances scholars might find some comfort in thinking that their work is wrapped up in the tough rhino-like hide of the reliably printable PDF. But I suspect that even our PDF silos will in time be understood as just transitory arrangements. I suspect our legacy PDF silos will eventually be gobbled up by some complex OCR-based conversion and semantic coding autobot, which will elegantly and faithfully convert them into an advanced structured form — from which we can then easily abstract and remix and rewrite them in increasingly complex ways.
A 33-minute video talk from October 2012, by Gary Hall of Coventry University, “The Humanities and Open Access: Opportunities and Challenges”. He gets past the preamble and starts talking about the projects at 13:30.
PhD Comics has a handy new “Open Access Explained!” video, albeit with a science focus…
The Open Monograph Press (OMP) software-based system has been released. It’s similar to the various open ejournal publishing systems, but it’s for open scholarly ebooks…
“OMP is an open source software platform for managing the editorial workflow required to see monographs, edited volumes and, scholarly editions through internal and external review, editing, cataloguing, production, and publication. OMP will operate, as well, as a press website with catalog, distribution, and sales capacities.”
Final production formats are currently print, PDF, and ePub. No sign of elegantly formatted HTML chapters / Kindle .MOBI yet, but hopefully that will come in time.
A new report, from commercial academic publishers, asked UK libraries what the results might be of the government’s plan for universal open-access with an embargo period of six months…
“Nearly a quarter of [the 210 libraries that responded] would cancel their humanities and social science subscriptions entirely.”
A further report suggest another problem — that papers simply won’t be presented by academics to their repositories…
“The PEER findings […] indicated that the vast majority of academics did not self-archive their work even when asked to do so.”
Perhaps UK universities should declare that journal articles won’t count toward future career advancement, unless they are deposited in a timely manner?
Academic papers should be made free to access within six months of publication, according to a draft policy from Research Councils UK (RCUK). They should also have a permissive licence (Creative Commons CC-BY), which would make their content free to use commercially if properly attributed.
Why your new ejournal or website should not look too slick…
“When we watch people try to complete tasks on websites we notice that often the more visually appealing something is, the more they ignore it. If it looks like marketing or an ad, then people dismiss it as having low value or credibility. In the eyes of many customers, ugly equals authentic and credible. Ugly helps you get the task completed quickly without any fuss or distraction. Ugly is going to give you the details. Ugly is not hiding anything. Ugly does not waste your time on surface images and trivial jargon and hype.”
And yet, on the other hand, any Web design that shrieks “generic old-school blog template” will trigger the preconceptions arising from the over-use of such templates on spam blogs. The ideal is perhaps to be relatively plain/simple on the landing page, but also to tweak the template so as to display small carefully-crafted human touches in the design and layout.
Many open ejournals do pretty well on the ugly/authentic score. But some loose points with visitors by saying “here’s a naff 400px picture of this issue’s journal cover, click on it to see the table of contents”. That’s an annoying time-waster and means it can take as many as four clicks to get from the front page to an actual article. If you really must inflict a picture cover on readers, then stick it at the side of — or even behind — the table-of-contents.
Anvil Academic is a new “fully digital, non-profit publisher for the humanities”…
“Anvil will focus on publishing new forms of scholarship that cannot be adequately conveyed in the traditional monograph.”
All its content will be Creative Commons, and the first Anvil title is set for “late 2012”.
Incidentally, Open Reflections has a new long article from someone who’s actually gone through the risky process of using… “digital tools to explore open access, collaboration, remix” as part of creating a work titled The Future of the Scholarly Monograph and the Culture of Remix.
A report on JISC Discovery 2012 (11th Jan 2012).
Omeka: a complete WordPress-like digital collections management system, for academics. It’s free, from the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. It’s easy to install and use, and has themes, and plugins, and media support, just like WordPress.
* Allow users to add a comment and rating to any record. Also add social media buttons.
* Add Library of Congress Subject Headings to your records
* Have your collection records be readable for Zotero users
David Shotton proposes The Five Stars of Online Journal Articles…
“I propose five factors — peer review, open access, enriched content, available datasets and machine-readable metadata — as the Five Stars of Online Journal Articles.”
From a search perspective, I might suggest we need to add another star for “Googlyness”, when all the following factors are present…
* search-engine friendliness (i.e.: make sure the article title shows up as the clickable link in search results, not something like “43w94.taryyt.indd”)
* RSS feeds for linked tables-of-contents
* embedding of the journal title and home URL in each individual PDF or HTML article page (so they can be easily tracked back, after they get casually downloaded to a hard-drive)
Just published, details of the number of open access ejournals in the state-controlled Chinese National Knowledge Information (CNKI) database…
“We identified and analysed the 147 journals offering open access (OA) among the 2960 scholarly journals indexed by the Chinese National Knowledge Information (CNKI) database in the humanities and social sciences”
Dehau Hu. “The availability of open access journals in the humanities and social sciences in China“. Online at the Journal of Information Science, 4th January 2012.
In 2009 it was reported there were “1,856 print journals in the humanities” in the CNKI. It indexes journals from 1915 onwards. The pages were apparently until recently ‘hard’ scanned images of pages, in order to prevent keyword searches of full-text. No journal publication outside of the CNKI is permitted. PDFs are now available via this service.
Previously on JURN blog…
List of Society Publishers With Open Access Journals, second edition (Dec 2011). There are about 50 listed in the arts and humanities.