Academic Libraries

US College Libraries in a Digital Age

The days of musty books on shelves, bound journals, card catalogs, long tables and rules governing behavior are gone. Now many campus libraries have cafes, group study areas, where talking is permitted, and sofas designed for taking a short nap. Some are even open 24-hours a day.
From US College Libraries in a Digital Age

Failed fee and budget cuts cause changes at MU Libraries

Changes at campus libraries are a result of a failed library fee proposal, as well as a 5 percent cut in MU’s general operating funds. The proposal would have implemented a fee per credit hour that would have begun at $5 per credit hour and slowly increased to $15 per credit hour by 2022. Last year, 54 percent of MU students who voted on the fee voted against the proposal.
From Failed fee and budget cuts cause changes at MU Libraries – The Maneater

The Up to Date College Library

An article in Voice of America discusses changes to campus library design.

Here for example is the Rain Garden Reading Lounge inside the Hunt Library at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC: Light & airy with a coupla books.

Ohio State professor reflects on her passion for comic books

As she spends her days surrounded by more than 300,000 original cartoons, 45,000 books and 2.5 million comic strip clippings and tear sheets, Caitlin McGurk is living her dream. McGurk, 30, serves as visiting curator for Ohio State University’s Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum – she’s also an assistant professor – a result of her lifelong passion for comics, coupled with hard work and perseverance. BTN.com recently spoke with McGurk about her role, the museum itself, and her thoughts on the future of the comics industry.
From Ohio State professor reflects on her passion for comic books: BTN LiveBIG « Big Ten Network

Spamferences thrive; junk journals prosper

Spamferences are conferences with no academic value that accept every paper offered and charge high enough fees to make serious commercial profit provided at least some people turn up to present their papers. You book a block of space in a huge hotel in a pleasant place, send out a few million invitation-to-submit emails to scholars in a slew of popular fields, automate the business of accepting and listing all papers submitted, and charge the credit cards of the vain, gullible, deluded, or corrupt academics who decide to attend.
From Language Log » Spamferences thrive; junk journals prosper

Let’s make peer review scientific

So what now? In my field, and perhaps in many others: follow the triallists. First, develop evidence-based lists of items to be included in reporting (mission-sort-of-accomplished for many clinical journals). Journals must accept and promote these guidelines and ensure that reviewers hold authors to them; perhaps they should facilitate training in peer review, which has been shown to improve performance. Finally, manuscript editors and copy editors must uphold the standards. For example, we now routinely reject trial reports that cannot prove registration before inception. This change is large for all involved — authors, reviewers and journal staff — and it is taking years.
From Let’s make peer review scientific : Nature News & Comment

How publishing in open access journals threatens science and what we can do about it

The last decade has seen an enormous increase in the number of peer-reviewed open access research journals in which authors whose articles are accepted for publication pay a fee to have them made freely available on the Internet. Could this popularity of open access publishing be a bad thing? Is it actually imperiling the future of science? In this commentary, I argue that it is. Drawing upon research literature, I explain why it is almost always best to publish in society journals (i.e., those sponsored by research societies such as Journal of Wildlife Management) and not nearly as good to publish in commercial academic journals, and worst—to the point it should normally be opposed—to publish in open access journals (e.g., PLOS ONE). I compare the operating plans of society journals and open access journals based on 2 features: the quality of peer review they provide and the quality of debate the articles they publish receive. On both features, the quality is generally high for society journals but unacceptably low for open access journals, to such an extent that open access publishing threatens to pollute science with false findings. Moreover, its popularity threatens to attract researchers’ allegiance to it and away from society journals, making it difficult for them to achieve their traditionally high standards of peer reviewing and of furthering debate. I prove that the commonly claimed benefits to science of open access publishing are nonexistent or much overestimated. I challenge the notion that journal impact factors should be a key consideration in selecting journals in which to publish. I suggest ways to strengthen the Journal and keep it strong.
From How publishing in open access journals threatens science and what we can do about it - Romesburg - 2016 - The Journal of Wildlife Management - Wiley Online Library

Student catalogs VCU Libraries’ collection of pre-1800 books, greatly enhancing their research value

Over the past year, Neuhauser has been cataloging VCU Libraries’ trove of books published before 1800, allowing researchers to not only search by author, title and subject, but also now by a wide variety of material features. “Especially with older books, one thing that’s interesting to book historians like me is the material aspects of the books,” Neuhauser said. “Now that we have opened up the catalog to be searched by material terms, you can, say, look for all of VCU Libraries’ books that have a certain type of paper, or that have a specific type of binding, or have gold tooling, or have gilt edges and things like that.”
From Student catalogs VCU Libraries’ collection of pre-1800 books, greatly enhancing their research value

Scientific journal subscription costs in Finland 2010-2015: a preliminary analysis

Detailed information on journal subscription costs paid to individual publishers by the Finnish research institutions has been released by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, and its Open Science and Research Initiative funded 2014–2017 (Kustantajahintatiedot Suomessa 2010–2015). With this, Finland becomes to our knowledge the first country where annual subscription fees for all individual publishers and all major research institutions have been made available, spanning the years 2010-2015. Similar information has been previously released for some, but not all publishers and research institutions in the UK and US; and related activities are ongoing in several countries (see the recent blog post by Stuart Lawson).
From Scientific journal subscription costs in Finland 2010-2015: a preliminary analysis — rOpenGov

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