Author Archives: Jill Cirasella

Profile photo of Jill Cirasella

About Jill Cirasella

Jill Cirasella is the Associate Librarian for Public Services and Scholarly Communication at the Graduate Center, CUNY.

Open Access Hulk: Best Interview Subject Ever!

The Open Access Hulk smashes paywalls the world over!

I’ve been thinking for a while (years, actually) about how complex open access outreach is — what sells one audience (say, faculty) on open access sometimes leaves another audience (say, students, or administrators) completely cold. I realized early that I needed to adjust my messaging for different audiences, and I’ve made many adjustments — some hits, some misses — over the years.

I recently wrote a column about the challenges of open access outreach, featuring snippets of an interview with the greatest (or at least most SMASHING) open access advocate of all time: the Open Access Hulk (@openaccesshulk on Twitter). The column hasn’t appeared yet (fingers crossed the editors don’t decide it’s too goofy, too CAPS LOCK’d to publish!), but the full Twitter interview is now archived on Storify. (On Twitter too, of course, but it can be difficult to follow a long exchange on Twitter itself.)

The Open Access Hulk is not our most syntactically sophisticated colleague, but he’s very informed, very perceptive, and very wise, and he had incisive, myth-SMASHING answers to my questions, which were:

  1. @OpenAccessHulk, what brought about your awakening, your transformation from researcher to paywall smasher?
  2. I am so angry, but my anger doesn’t seem to win converts. Why is righteous SMASH not smashing success?
  3. I keep thinking I need to rage better, rage smarter, rage faster on my feet. Maybe not, maybe need different tack?
  4. Over the years, I’ve become very aware that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to outreach. E.g., not many non-librarians are concerned about serials crisis or moved by [the serials costs] chart. So I’ve developed different pitches for different audiences, focusing on different angles/problems/solutions. I’m guessing the same is true for @OpenAccessHulk — sometimes you SMASH, sometimes you sweet-talk? Which brings me to Q: What does @OpenAccessHulk think is best way to teach/excite students about ? Faculty? Scientists? Humanists? Administrators? Editorial board members of paywalled journals? Policymakers?
  5. When in room with publishers, all my anger seems to convert to exceedingly polite and mild disagreement. Does @OpenAccessHulk struggle with telling truth to power? Why are otherwise ordinary people so scary when speaking on behalf of publisher?
  6. @OpenAccessHulk‘s purple wardrobe smashing. Other color preferences? Preference between gold and green ?
  7. What’s the plainest possible way to ward off knee-jerk negative assumptions about journals?

All of his interstitial conversation is great too — I highly recommend reading the whole thing, embedded below:

Why You Should Ditch Academia.edu and Use CUNY Academic Works

As most readers of this blog know, CUNY recently launched Academic Works, an open access repository that is the ideal way for CUNY scholars to make articles, book chapters, data, etc. available to their research communities and the broader public.

Why should you care about Academic Works?  Let’s start with three key reasons:

1) Academic Works is the perfect place to satisfy grant funders’ open access and open data requirements. If you want more grants in the future, you need to learn how to comply with funders’ requirements for openness!

2) Academia.edu and ResearchGate.net are seriously suboptimal. First, they’re commercial sites. (Yep, despite its URL, which it never should have gotten, Academia.edu is not connected to any educational institution.) And commercial ventures might disappear at any time (taking your papers offline too), whereas Academic Works is designed to last for the long term, longer than commercial sites and longer than personal websites. They’re also much more likely to be smacked with (and blindly comply with) take-down notices from publishers. And, as commercial entities, they exist to make money. How do they do that? By forcing users to log in to see documents, tracking their actions, and selling that data. If you’re uncomfortable with how Facebook commodifies your information, you should be uncomfortable with Academia.edu and ResearchGate too!

3) Academic Works significantly boosts your visibility and impact. If your work is in Academic Works, it’s much more likely to be found and read. (Academic Works is designed to play well with Google and Google Scholar.) And, as a result, it’s much more likely to be linked to on Twitter, blogs, and news sites, and also more likely to be cited in future research. Yes: study after study has shown that journal articles that are freely available online are cited more by other journal articles. Academic Works also sends authors monthly download reports with detailed information about how much your work has been downloaded, in what countries, and by which institutions.

Curious whether you’re allowed to upload an article you published in a journal? Search SHERPA/RoMEO to find out what that journal allows.

Couldn’t make any of our workshops on Academic Works? Flip through the slideshow, read the handout, or visit our guide with step-by-step upload instructions. Or contact the Academic Works administrator at your campus for more information!.

CUNY Academic Works has an Author Dashboard that shows you how much your works have been downloaded and from where!

CUNY Academic Works has an Author Dashboard that shows you how much your works have been downloaded and from where!

It’s Open Access Week! Nay, Open Access Month! What Now?

(This post is a slight reworking of a post from the Graduate Center Library blog.)

This week, October 19-25, is International Open Access Week, an annual opportunity for students, faculty, and other researchers to learn about open access (OA) to scholarly literature, find out how to make their works OA, and help make OA the new norm in scholarship and research. (Read more about Open Access Week and about OA in general.)

Of course, CUNY is a very big place, and we like to think big. So here at CUNY, it’s not just Open Access Week but Open Access Month: Numerous CUNY librarians are making a point to promote understanding, acceptance, and adoption of OA alllll monnnnnth looooong. (Actually, we’re always happy to talk about OA — any day, any week, any month, any year!)

During Open Access Week/Month, you might hear about open access from many sources:

Once Open Access Week/Month has whetted your appetite for OA, join the Graduate Center Library for workshops addressing two key aspects of OA: Does my publisher allow me to share my work (i.e., make it OA)? And if so, how and where am I allowed to share it?

Find out the answers to these and other questions at the following workshops, each offered twice — click the links to learn more and RSVP (non-GC folks are welcome to attend too!):

And it’s not just the Graduate Center Library that’s offering workshops! See the calendar of CUNY events for Open Access Month and its aftermath (scroll to the bottom of the page to see the calendar) and avail yourself of an event on your campus or a campus that’s convenient for you!

International Open Access Week image

Graphic is adapted from this image, © Dimitar Poposki, used under a Creative Commons Attribution license.

Elsevier: Ever More Evil (aka Why Do Authors Boycott Elsevier?)

(Note: This post has been updated and expanded to match the post at the Graduate Center Library blog.)

You may have heard of the Cost of Knowledge, a site where researchers publicly express their upset with the business practices of the publisher Elsevier and commit not to contribute to Elsevier journals. As of today, 15,034 researchers have pledged to boycott Elsevier as an author, editor, and/or peer reviewer.

You might wonder: What has Elsevier has done to cause so many researchers to boycott them?

A primary complaint is their exorbitant product pricing — pricing that allows them to profit richly (with profit margins close to 40%) off nonprofit organizations such as academic libraries. (The Graduate Center Library pays dearly for its subscriptions to Elsevier’s Scopus database and ScienceDirect “big deal” journal package (which, yes, includes many essential journals but also includes many journals that are never used). So dearly that our other collection choices are severely constrained.)

Of course, as is the norm in scholarly publishing, Elsevier does not pay its authors — the creators of its journal content — for their work. So they’re reaping huge profits off free labor. And that brings us to another major complaint: their treatment of authors. Elsevier recently released a new article-sharing policy for authors, and it is not good for authors.

To their credit, sort of, they’ve corrected a horrifying problem with their earlier policy — namely, the bizarro policy of allowing authors at universities without open access policies to make their accepted manuscripts open access, but not authors at universities with such policies (i.e., “You retain the right to post if you wish but not if you must!”).

But…instead of introducing better terms across the board, Elsevier’s new policy imposes worse terms across the board. Specifically, their new policy imposes embargoes on ALL accepted author manuscripts, many of them 24- or 36-month embargoes, and some of them 48-month embargoes! This means that authors cannot broadly share (e.g., in CUNY Academic Works) their peer-reviewed manuscripts (we’re just talking about the final manuscript versions, not the publisher’s PDFs) until those very long embargo expires.

Needless to say, many researchers are very upset. The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR), and 21 other groups have released this statement of opposition:

On April 30, 2015, Elsevier announced a new sharing and hosting policy for Elsevier journal articles. This policy represents a significant obstacle to the dissemination and use of research knowledge, and creates unnecessary barriers for Elsevier published authors in complying with funders’ open access policies. In addition, the policy has been adopted without any evidence that immediate sharing of articles has a negative impact on publishers’ subscriptions.

Despite the claim by Elsevier that the policy advances sharing, it actually does the opposite. The policy imposes unacceptably long embargo periods of up to 48 months for some journals. It also requires authors to apply a “non-commercial and no derivative works” license for each article deposited into a repository, greatly inhibiting the re-use value of these articles. Any delay in the open availability of research articles curtails scientific progress and places unnecessary constraints on delivering the benefits of research back to the public.

Furthermore, the policy applies to “all articles previously published and those published in the future” making it even more punitive for both authors and institutions. This may also lead to articles that are currently available being suddenly embargoed and inaccessible to readers.

As organizations committed to the principle that access to information advances discovery, accelerates innovation and improves education, we support the adoption of policies and practices that enable the immediate, barrier free access to and reuse of scholarly articles. This policy is in direct conflict with the global trend towards open access and serves only to dilute the benefits of openly sharing research results.

We strongly urge Elsevier to reconsider this policy and we encourage other organizations and individuals to express their opinions.

If you are also upset by Elsevier’s new policy, you can add your name to the statement.

And if the new policy has made you reconsider your willingness to contribute to Elsevier publications, you may want to consider signing the Cost of Knowledge pledge.

Boycott_Elsevier_2

Image is © Michael Eisen, used under a Creative Commons Attribution license

Graduate Center Students Can Now Self-Submit to Academic Works!

(Déjà vu? This post originally appeared on the Graduate Center Library blog.)

Graduate Center students, we’re finally ready for you! You may now self-submit your scholarly and/or creative works to Academic Works, CUNY’s open access institutional repository! And by “works,” we mean just about any kind of scholarly or creative output: journal articles, book contributions, conference papers, slideshows, posters, datasets, reports, interviews, creative writing, musical compositions, images, etc.

Academic-Works-logo

Are you really allowed to make your journal articles open access? Yes, the vast majority of journals allow authors to make their articles (either the submitted version, the accepted (post-refereed) manuscript, or the publisher’s PDF) freely available online. Find out which journals allow what at SHERPA/RoMEO, which provides easy-to-read summaries of journals’ policies.

What’s in it for you? Why should you submit your works to Academic Works? Lots of reasons! Here are just a few:

  • Posting your work online helps you find the widest possible readership, and helps you share your work with potential employers, collaborators, etc.
  • Articles that are freely available online are cited more by other articles. (Learn more about the open access citation advantage.)
  • Materials in Academic Works are more discoverable by Google and Google Scholar.
  • Academic Works will send you monthly download statistics so you can better understand the impact of your work.
  • Unlike disciplinary repositories that only accept research articles (e.g., arXiv.org), Academic Works accepts any kind of scholarly or creative work.
  • If your publisher requires an embargo period before your work can be made open access, Academic Works can count down the embargo for you and automatically open the work up when the embargo expires.

Ready to go? Go straight to the Submit Research page, click Graduate Student Publications and Research, create an account (using your GC email address), and start submitting!  Or, if you’d like more information and step-by-step instructions, consult our Academic Works LibGuide first.

A few important notes:

  • Academic Works is only for completed works, not works in progress.
  • Only submit works that you have the right to share and make open access.
  • Do not submit your dissertation or thesis directly to Academic Works. See the library’s deposit procedures for information about that.

Questions? Contact AcademicWorks@gc.cuny.edu

Getting your work online a great summer project — happy uploading!

laptop-on-dock

Photo is © Giorgio Montersino, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license

Now Hiring: University Systems Librarian for Digital Initiatives

This job at CUNY’s Office of Library Services has several components, a key one of which is managing the technical aspects of Academic Works, CUNY’s new institutional repository.  The application deadline is June 1.


University Systems Librarian, Digital Initiatives
City University of New York

The Office of Library Services (OLS) at the Central Administrative Office of CUNY supports the libraries at the University’s 24 campuses to coordinate and enhance library services for students and faculty in partnership with campus librarians. OLS Library Systems team supports a large portfolio of enterprise library applications and services that support digital repository services, and discovery and access services, and collection management. Systems include Academic Works @ CUNY (Digital Commons Institutional Repository Service), the CUNY Catalog (Aleph integrated library system), CUNY OneSearch (Primo discovery system), SFX (link server and electronic journals discovery tool), EZProxy (remote authentication system), Coral (electronic resources management system), and others.

The Office seeks a University Systems Librarian specializing in Digital Initiatives to provide technical expertise and guidance for CUNY’s cloud-based Institutional Repository, digital collections and shared responsibility for CUNY’s discovery service.

Reporting to the University Director of Library Systems, the Digital Initiatives Librarian will focus on data, platform, and workflow integration and interoperability, metadata extraction, transformation, and reuse, analytics and reporting, search strategies and services, and problem diagnosis and resolution.

Key responsibilities include, but will not be limited to: managing the technical aspects of Academic Works @ CUNY; configuring CUNY digital collections as data sources and normalization rules to support associated encoding schemes (DC, EAD, provenance data, etc.) for discovery in OneSearch; implementing discovery web and X-services for external search service integrations, metadata harvesting and reuse, and user interface redesign and development; determining strategies for integration of thesauri and linked open data in search applications such as the CUNY Academic Works institutional repository and our discovery service.

See the full job description here. (If the direct link doesn’t work, go to http://cuny.jobs/ and search for Job ID 12894.)

Graduate Center Research Impact: Pin Drops Keep Falling on My Map!

(Déjà vu? This is a very slight reworking of a post from the Graduate Center Library blog.)

Germany. India. England. France. Canada. Poland. Iran. Sweden. China. Turkey. Netherlands. Egypt. Russia. Japan. Those are just a few of the countries where researchers are downloading the works of Graduate Center students and faculty!

Graduate Center Academic Works, the Graduate Center’s new open access institutional repository, tells us more than we ever knew before about global interest in Graduate Center research. The repository is still small — as of today, it holds just 1,125 works, primarily dissertations and master’s theses, faculty articles and other faculty works, and technical reports from the Computer Science program. But its reach is already broad — those 1,125 works have been accessed 31,349 times…and counting! (See the 10 most downloaded items.)

And now we can all watch what’s being downloaded where by visiting the repository’s animated download map (also visible on the bottom of the main GC Academic Works page)!

Map showing some of the downloads from Academic Works on March 11, 2015

Map showing some of the downloads from Academic Works on March 11, 2015

Furthermore, anyone with one or more items in Academic Works receives monthly readership reports with information about how much their works have been accessed. It’s never been easier to track the popularity and impact of your work, or to reach audiences you otherwise wouldn’t have reached — largely through Google and Google Scholar searches.

Lots of East Coast downloads on March 11!

Lots of East Coast downloads on March 11!

GC-affiliated faculty, want to improve the readership and impact of your work? Submit your scholarly and creative works — articles, book contributions, conference presentations, slideshows, posters, data sets, etc. Submitting is as simple as completing a form — see the step-by-step instructions.

Want to raise the profile of your program? Talk to your colleagues about uploading their works as well! Or invite Jill Cirasella, Associate Librarian for Public Services and Scholarly Communication, to a meeting to give an explanation and demonstration of Academic Works.

Want to improve the visibility of your center or institute? Contact Jill Cirasella to inquire about creating an Academic Works section for your center or institute!

A download in Seychelles!

A download in Seychelles!

(Graduate Center students, we’re doing a phased launch and are not accepting student works other than dissertations and theses quite yet. But stay tuned because we will in the near future!)

Have questions? Not sure which publishers allow you to upload copies of your articles? Want to get some one-on-one instruction before you begin? Contact Jill Cirasella — she’s happy to help by email, over the phone, or in person.

March Workshops at GC: Authors’ Rights and Why & How to Submit to Academic Works

This month, the Graduate Center Library is offering two workshops of potential interest to readers of Open Access @ CUNY:

You Know What You Write, But Do You Know Your Rights? Understanding and Protecting Your Rights as an Author
Tuesday, March 10 @ 2:30-4:00pm
Open to the GC and broader CUNY community: Click to RSVP

When you publish a journal article, you sign a copyright agreement. Do you know what you’re agreeing to when you sign it? Different journals have different policies: Some journals require you to relinquish your copyright. (You then have to ask permission or even pay to share your article with students and colleagues!) Some journals allow you to retain some rights (e.g., the right to post online). Some journals leave copyright in your hands. (You simply give the journal a non-exclusive license to publish the article.)

How can you find out a journal’s policy? How can you negotiate your contract to make the most of your rights as a scholar, researcher, and author? Come learn how to preserve your rights to reproduce, distribute, and display the work you create.

Led by Jill Cirasella, Associate Librarian for Public Services and Scholarly Communication at the Graduate Center. Open to students, faculty, staff, and anyone from the CUNY community who has questions about their rights as authors, open access publishing, or scholarly communication.

Can’t make it? Want a preview of what’s covered? See the materials from the previous authors’ rights event.

Grad Center Faculty Workshop: Why & How to Submit to Academic Works
Tuesday, March 17 @ 2:30-4:00pm
Open to GC and CUNY doctoral faculty and research assistants only: Click to RSVP

The Graduate Center recently launched Graduate Center Academic Works, an open access institutional repository that is the ideal way for faculty to make articles, book chapters, data, etc. available to their research community and the broader public. It’s also the perfect place to satisfy grant funders’ open access requirements!

You might wonder, “Are researchers allowed to make their scholarly journal articles freely available online?” Very often, the answer is yes: a majority of journal publishers allow self-archiving of this kind! (To find the policy of a specific publisher or journal, check SHERPA/RoMEO.)

This workshop will introduce faculty to Academic Works, present the many compelling reasons to post works there, and provide step-by-step instructions for uploading works.

(Graduate students, we apologize, but we’re not ready for you quite yet. We’re doing a phased launch, and the repository is currently only ready to accept faculty self-submissions. But it will be open to student self-submissions in the near future!)

Led by Jill Cirasella, Associate Librarian for Public Services and Scholarly Communication.

Can’t make it? Contact Jill at jcirasella@gc.cuny.edu for a one-on-one instruction to Academic Works.

Introducing Megan Wacha, Your New Scholarly Communications Librarian!

megan cropped 2Open access advocates around CUNY are thrilled to announce the arrival (and extremely productive first few weeks) of Megan Wacha, CUNY’s new Scholarly Communications Librarian, based at the Office of Library Services. While many CUNY librarians have long engaged, both formally and informally, with open access, repositories, and other scholarly communications topics, Megan is CUNY’s first librarian dedicated entirely to scholarly communications, and I know I speak for many when I say we’re eager — nay, ravenous — for her expertise, collaboration, and leadership.

Megan will be engaged with a wide variety of scholarly communications conversations, but her initial focus will be developing and managing CUNY’s new institutional repository, Academic Works. She will also co-chair OLS’s brand new Scholarly Communications Committee. And, of course, she’ll be a frequent blogger right here at Open Access @ CUNY.

Before coming to CUNY, Megan was Research and Instruction Librarian for the Performing Arts at Barnard College, where she led outreach on scholarly communications topics, served on the advisory committee to Columbia’s institutional repository (Academic Commons), provided guidance on fair use and copyright issues, trained editors of an open access undergraduate journal, and helped support various digital projects. She is also an active Wikipedian — her Wikipedia efforts include working to increase contributions by and about women and people from other marginalized groups. (And we can’t leave out the fact that she won Knowledge Unlatched’s open access meme competition!)

Many of you have already met Megan, but if you haven’t, you are welcome to reach out to her at megan.wacha@cuny.edu.

Handouts from “Everything You Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask . . . About CUNY’s New Institutional Repository Platform”

Maybe you weren’t able to attend last Friday’s workshop “Everything You Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask . . . About CUNY’s New Institutional Repository Platform.” Or maybe you attended but lost the handouts on the subway or in the snow. Either way, here are the handouts distributed and discussed at the event:

Please take a look, share with your colleagues (and Chief Librarians!) and let us know if you have any questions!

download-map

Download Map for Graduate Center Academic Works : 1,122 papers, 25,754 downloads, and counting!