So FSU passed an open access policy… what does that mean for me?

Perhaps you are a new professor at Florida State University. And perhaps you have some articles you would like to publish. However, there are a few things getting in your way:

  1. Publishing contracts often confusing and restrictive, leaving faculty with little control over their work once it has been published
  2. The journals you would like to publish in often keep your work behind a paywall so that only a fraction of the world’s population can access it (which decreases your the impact of your research)
  3. Journals that do allow you to make your work openly available often have high article processing charges (APCs) which you can’t necessarily afford

CcAVRFDXIAAQTSMTwo recent developments may help you with these conundrums. The first is the Faculty Senate Open Access Policy. This policy was passed by unanimous vote on February 17th of this year. It creates a safe harbor for faculty intellectual property rights by granting FSU permission to share scholarly journal articles for non-commercial purposes. Basically, this gives faculty the language to avoid overly-restrictive publication contracts, and allows them to more easily share their work, despite publishers’ efforts to put scholarship behind a paywall.

sm-diginolelaunchThe launch of DigiNole: FSU’s Research Repository comes on the heels of the OA Policy, and provides faculty with a platform for making their research publicly available online. DigiNole is an open access repository, which allows anyone to view the scholarship contained within it. By making all of FSU’s articles available in repositories like DigiNole, scholars and researchers can increase the visibility and impact of their research by 50-500%, according to several studies. You can even track your impact more easily with DigiNole, since faculty who deposit their scholarship get monthly readership reports with analytics on the use of their scholarship. Having easy access to these numbers can help with hiring and promotion, as it gives you concrete and tangible evidence of your impact.

The Office of Digital Research and Scholarship at the University Libraries specializes in academic publishing and open access. If you have any questions about DigiNole or the OA policy, contact Devin Soper (850.645.2600), Scholarly Communications Librarian at Strozier Library.

FSU digital humanists

Visualizing FSU’s Digital Scholarship Network

It can be difficult to get started in interdisciplinary fields like the digital humanities, since people and resources are sometimes fractured and spread across different departments, schools, and even institutions. As a new staff member, I encountered this problem first hand. I often needed to know about the happenings in digital humanities around campus, but struggled to find out what goes on outside of my own department in the library. Since I am a member of the Office of Digital Research and Scholarship (and since we are always trying out and teaching digital research tools), I decided to use Gephi to solve this problem.

Gephi is used to create network graphs—visualizations that show connections between different things. The “things” that we are trying to connect are called “nodes” and the connections themselves are called “edges.” Scott Weingart’s excellent “Demystifying Networks, Parts I & II” provides a detailed overview of the terminology and logistics of networks.

In the context of my project, the “nodes” are people, projects, and places on FSU’s campus. The “edges,” lines, connect people to places and projects, and projects to places. All this data was compiled into two separate comma separated value (.csv) files: one that described the different nodes, and another that showed which nodes were connected to each other.¹ I then uploaded these files into Gephi’s data laboratory.

Gephi automatically generated a very simple, grey, and bland network graph. I then edited the view so that nodes displayed different colors depending on what type of node it was. People are purple, projects are green, and “places” (departments/discussion groups) are red. I then changed the display so that the nodes were generally evenly spaced, which allowed for better visibility.² I also made the node labels visible, which allows you to see the names of the different entities in the digital scholarship environment at FSU. And here’s what the graph looks like!

network visualization

The FSU Digital Scholarship Network. For a larger, better-quality version of this image, click here

Now, this visualization is nowhere near the complete network of people doing digital work at FSU. It was really only generated from the people and projects that the Office of Digital Research and Scholarship has encountered in our short existence, but we will continue to expand this list as more people engage within and across this network at FSU. Our hope is that by visualizing the interconnectedness of different scholarly activities at FSU will facilitate the creation of new and better knowledge.³

If you are interested in starting a digital research project, but find this visualization overwhelming, please stop by the Percolator: our “Digital Scholarship Support Group”, every Wednesday from 3-5 on the lower level of Strozier in the Technology and Digital Scholarship suite. The Percolator is an informal space to workshop project proposals, explore new tools, and discuss issues in the field of digital scholarship.

FSU Libraries’ newly formed Office of Digital Research and Scholarship (DRS) provides support, infrastructure and consulting for technology-focused research projects in the areas of digital humanities, academic/digital publishing, data management, and more. We are focused on connecting people to people, building collaborative research partnerships across campus, and providing platforms for new forms of scholarship. Visit for more information.


¹ You can find the .csv files for this document here.

² I used a layout based on the “Fruchterman Reingold” algorithm, if you are looking to generate a graph like this one.

³ Are you doing digital work at FSU and not yet on our list? Add yourself here!

Government Documents @FSU Libraries #lovemyFDL

Co-authored by Jaime Witman

February has been designated by The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) as Love My Federal Depository Library month. But what is a Federal Depository Library (FDL), what does it have to do with FSU, and why should we love it? These are all great questions, so let’s get started!

A Federal Depository Library is a library that provides free, equitable access to U.S. government publications to the public. The Federal Depository Library Program or FDLP was created by Congress to ensure that all Americans have access to published government information. The FSU Libraries became a member of FDLP in 1941. This means that at FSU Libraries, government information and documents can be accessed by students, faculty, and local and visiting patrons for free.
So what is a “government document”? 44 U.S. Code § 1901 defines a government publication as “informational matter which is published as an individual document at Government expense, or as required by law” (Pub. L. 90–620, Oct. 22, 1968, 82 Stat. 1283). Simply, government documents are publications produced by the different agencies of government. These can be bills and statutes, the U.S. budget, presidential materials, congressional documents, judicial publications (court opinions and independent counsel investigations), executive agency publications, regulations, and much more.


What’s Next: Tutorials and Connected Learning


(Photo Courtesy of San Diego Air and Space Museum Archives)

Here in the Distance Services Unit of Florida State University Libraries, we scan the environment for current trends in academic libraries and digital scholarship in order to develop pilot programs and services for the future of the library. In other words, we are always asking, “What’s Next?”. This will be an ongoing series that examines topics related to emerging trends and technologies in libraries. This week we will be discussing the idea of connected learning and how that applies to the future of academic libraries.

Connected Learning is a learning model developed by the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Initiative which connects learners to peers all around the world through social networks, is interest-driven according to the learner’s need. Connected Learning is interactive, and the potential has been realized through the advent of interactive technologies, from cloud computing to mobile devices, to the internet of things, to digital assistantship. It is modular by nature, so it can be appropriated for a variety of users and interests. It states that learning is most effective when it engages the information-seeker with information that is relevant to their interests.


Copyright in the Age of Digital Reproduction

* Editorial Note about Monkey Selfie – PIC BY A WILD MONKEY / DAVID SLATER / CATERS NEWS – (PICTURED: One of the photos that the monkey took with Davids camera. 1 of 2: This photo was the original photo the monkey took) – The photographer behind the famous monkey selfie picture is threatening to take legal action against Wikimedia after they refused to remove his picture because ‘the monkey took it’. David Slater, from Coleford, Gloucestershire, was taking photos of macaques on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi in 2011 when the animals began to investigate his equipment. A black crested macaque appeared to be checking out its appearance in the lens and it wasn’t long before it hijacked the camera and began snapping away. Learn more at

As a recent addition to the Office of Digital Research and Scholarship, I am relatively new to the discussions surrounding copyright that occur in libraries. My academic background is in medieval and early modern literature, so I have not had to think terribly hard about fair use; all of the works I write about are in the public domain. I once contemplated using an image from Early English Books Online in my thesis, but I took one look at the requirements for obtaining permission, cried, and continued writing my thesis without images.


3D Social Networking

Academia dot ed[you]?

A piece published in the Chronicle of Higher Education last week criticized and sparked discussion surrounding the role of for-profit companies in facilitating sharing and allowing access to scholarship. Or perhaps it is better to say “reignited,” as many of the issues brought up in the piece are topics of discussion in scholarly communications and other areas for some time now.¹ The main concern of academics is that sites like and ResearchGate are profiting off the work of academics and universities, and adding little to support and provide access to research.

This and other concerns were published in a post written by the University of California’s Office of Scholarly Communications just a day before the Chronicle piece. UC’s post outlines the differences between scholarly social networking platforms (like and institutional repositories—university-specific platforms that make scholarship openly available. They stress that academic social networking sites do not actually fulfill open access requirements that more research funding agencies are imposing on authors. At Florida State, University Libraries hosts and manages a Research Repository, engaging the campus community in questions of access, impact, and shared scholarly goals. Repositories like DigiNole create the opportunity for easier access to scholarly work, meaning that more people can download and cite it, unlike and ResearchGate, which both require log-ins to view material in full.


How does Open Access relate to subscription journal pricing?

FSU Libraries have been forced to cancel a ‘big deal’ journal package with Springer. The available budget for library collections at FSU has remained flat for the past five years, while the cost of library resources has risen by 4-6% annually, and by as much as 9% for journal subscriptions in STEM-related fields. This situation is inherently unsustainable, and it is the product of the subscription-based model of scholarly publishing. Under this model, the cost of journal subscriptions has increased at 300% the rate of inflation since 1986, resulting in tremendous financial burden on academic libraries and their parent universities. The subscription model also restricts the dissemination of faculty research, placing it behind paywalls so that anyone who can’t pay can’t read it, and thereby limiting its impact on other researchers and the general public.

Open Access (OA) is a movement based on the principle that this situation is fundamentally unjust, and that the fruits of academic endeavor should be freely available to everyone. OA archiving and publishing are the two main strategies for accomplishing this goal, and they promise to benefit both the global research community and individual authors, moving published research into the open and thereby broadening its readership and generating more citations. OA is also fast becoming a requirement for recipients of research funding, as many public and private funding agencies are enacting public access policies to make the results of funded research accessible to all.

But how is OA relevant to FSU Libraries’ current budget crisis? Does OA provide viable alternatives to the subscription-based model of scholarly publishing? How does OA propose to counteract the predatory pricing practices of commercial academic publishers, and how successful has it been in that effort thus far? Do current developments suggest that OA will provide a long-term solution in future? To explore these questions, let’s take a closer look at the main forms of OA and how they compare to the traditional model.


Open Access Week 2015


Did you know that the e-journals you access through FSU Libraries are unavailable to most students and researchers in the developing world? What about people here in the US? Did you know that most members of the general public also don’t have access? The internet has revolutionized the way that we share and access information, yet most scholarly e-books and journal articles remain locked behind paywalls for the average reader.

Open Access is a movement based on the principle that this situation is fundamentally unjust, and that the fruits of academic endeavor should be freely available to the public. Open Access is also increasingly becoming a requirement for recipients of research funding, with governments and funding agencies increasingly adopting public-access policies to make the results of funded research accessible to all.

Making your work publicly available can also benefit you as an author, increasing the reach and impact of your work by making it more discoverable and potentially generating more downloads and citations than you would if your work remained locked behind paywalls.  

So, what can you do to start taking advantage of these benefits? And how can you get involved in the OA movement, more generally? (more…)

Digital Scholarship Training!

Digital Scholarship is an area of growth in here in the Libraries. We’ve been flirting with the topic for a while now, and are finally getting around to launching our support infrastructure campus-wide. One decision we made early on was that we needed some hands-on training in a variety of areas. Our gracious dean, Julia Zimmerman, sent five of us to HILT (Humanities Intensive Learning and Teaching), a week-long training institute with several different tracks to choose from. Below are brief report backs from each of the team members. Although most of the coursework we undertook focused on humanities-based content, the skills and aptitudes we developed will be applicable to many different types of projects.


Funding agencies establish public access plans

Over the past few months major funding agencies, including the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Department of Defense, as well as others, have announced new public access policies for funded research. What this means is that many faculty and grad students at FSU will soon be required to make journal articles and data sets derived from funding openly accessible as a condition of continued or future funding. This is a major shift in the default research culture, and University Libraries are working to provide information, resources, and support as the campus adjusts to these requirements. (more…)