Digital scholarship

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.

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The 2014 Election and the power of open data!

I spend a considerable portion of my time convincing researchers of the benefits associated with publishing their data online in open repositories. Bringing up things like reproducibility of research and the idea of others using their original data sets to advance scholarship in their field or another are my usual selling points. Academics produce vast amounts of data that has value well beyond the scope of their original project. That being said, government agencies produce endless amounts of data and information as they conduct their day to day business. There are obvious products that have mounds of useful information in them, like the U.S. Census or the American Community Survey. Governments rely on information in all sorts of formats to perform countless tasks on a day to day basis. For example, many local governments rely on spatial data of their infrastructure (roads, sewers, power lines) to set maintenance schedules or to select an ideal space for new residential development.

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The Contested Future of the Book, Part 1

*This post is from Abby Scheel, one of our three humanities librarians.

A couple weeks ago I was fortunate enough to represent FSU Libraries at two meetings near Dupont Circle in Washington, DC.  Both meetings dealt in different ways with one of the most contested issues for academic libraries and scholars: the scholarly monograph.  There is so much to share from both meetings that I’m going to break this report-back into two parts.  Today is the Association of Research Libraries Fall Forum: Wanted Dead or Alive – The Scholarly Monograph.

The ARL Fall Forum addressed the future of the book directly and with maximum controversy (see title above). Based on a title like that you might think this is yet another session extolling the demise of the book and the dawn of the age of all things digital. Yes and no. The scholarly monograph is still king in humanities disciplines because of its connection with promotion and tenure. But it’s time to stop privileging the monograph published in print by an academic press over other means of disseminating the “long-form argument.” How to and why do this? What are the ramifications of this move? This was what the presenters all addressed during the daylong forum that included points of view from all sides of the issue, from faculty, librarians, and publishers in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. Here are a few of the highlights of the day in my own words: (more…)

Building Data Sets with FSU’s Digital Library

Data science is all the rage lately. Harvard Business Review even named it the sexiest job of the 21st century. Even though the term is rapidly gaining mind share, many are still confused about what data science actually is. When you cut through the hype, the core of data science is actually pretty simple: it’s the study of data. What kind of data is being studied, how it is being studied, and what the individual data scientist is looking for all depend on the specific case. Data science is just another field of study using digital methods, putting it firmly under the umbrella of Digital Scholarship.

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What is Digital Scholarship?

The number one question I get when talking about digital scholarship, is what exactly that means. How is digital scholarship any different than regular (analog?) scholarship? Does one have to be a technophile in order to consider what they do to qualify as digital work? These sentiments are being echoed around higher education, so its no insignificant problem for those of us who walk around talking about this as something we do. Offering clarity is the key to creating connections, so… here is my take.

Digital scholarship is project-based, collaborative, innovation-prone and embraces new modes and means of dissemination.

The reason we call this “digital” work, is because of how this type of scholarship is done – through, because of and invested in internet and technology-based tools. A key aspect of my proposed definition of Digital Scholarship is that each part needs to be represented in the whole. For example, plenty of science scholarship could be characterized as project-based, and collaborative without necessarily being interested in innovating how or where it is presented to an audience. On the flip side, traditional humanities scholarly works seem to have a lot more ground to cover to meet these criteria, which is why, I’d argue, the digital humanities garnered so much attention quickly and widely in recent years.

Beyond my speculations, here are two specific examples that I believe prove my point.  (more…)

Federal Funders Open Access Policies

The Department of Energy has become the first federal funding agency to release a public access policy under last year’s Office of Science and Technology Policy Directive. Broadly speaking, the newly announced policy will make published research resulting from DOE funds available to the public on the Web. This policy follows a similar, and long-standing policy by the National Institutes of Health. The DOE Public Access Plan is being received with mixed criticism by stakeholders on both sides of the open access debate, evidenced by commentary from Michael Eisen, an OA advocate, and The Scholarly Kitchen, the generally OA-skeptical blog of the Society for Scholarly Publishing. Andrea Peterson, for the Washington Post, offers an overview and balanced perspective also.

One source of contention is the mechanism by which access is provided. Rather than directly hosting full text documents, the DOE portal, PAGES (Public Access Gateway for Energy & Science) will contain basic metadata with links to the full text on the publisher’s website when the Version of Record can be made available, or in a repository when the final Version of Record can’t be made available due to the terms of the publication agreement. Much of this is accomplished via the publisher-administered CHORUS (Clearinghouse for the Open Research of the United States). Critics have argued that CHORUS, itself a controversial topic, tips the scale of control too far towards the publishers, whose profit motive doesn’t always cohere with free and unfettered public access. Yet another point of difference centers on publisher-mandated embargoes, which delay release of the full text for a period of 12 months.

Of course, much remains to be seen as to how the public access policy will actually play out, which makes sense given that this is just the initial announcement. PAGES exists in beta right now and the DOE is inviting user feedback on the system. We should be seeing many more policies similar to this one in the near future as other agencies role out their own public access policies.

Florida State University Libraries offers support and resources for compliance with public access policies through our Office of Scholarly Communication.