Making things besides journal articles available

Apr 18 2016 Published by under scholarly communication, STS

Communication is central to science and the vast majority of it happens outside of peer reviewed journal articles. Some informal scholarly communication is intended to be ephemeral but in the past couple of decades, more informal communication is conducted in an online text-based medium in a way that could be captured, saved, searched, and re-used. Often, it isn't.

Libraries have always had a problem with gray literature. Unpublished dissertations, technical reports, conference papers, government documents, maps, working documents... they are one level of difficult to find. Some say, "well, if it's good information it will be in the journal literature" or "if it's worth saving, it will be in the journal literature." But we know that: details are left out of the methods sections, data are not included, negative results are under reported, etc. In some fields conferences are as easy to find as journal articles whereas in other fields they're impossible (and some of that is due to the level of review and importance of the communication to that field).

Practically, if you get the idea for something from a blog post, then you need to attribute the blog post. If the blog post goes missing, then your readers are out of luck.

This is all in lead up to a panegyric on the efforts of John G. Wolbach Library of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics with ADS, and particularly  Megan Potterbusch, Chloe Besombes, and Chris Erdmann who have been working on a number of initiatives to archive and make this information available, searchable, and citable.

Here is a quick listing of their projects:

Open Online Astronomy Thesis Collection, https://zenodo.org/communities/about/astrothesis/

Information about it is here: http://www.astrobetter.com/blog/2016/04/11/an-open-online-astronomy-thesis-collection

Even if your dissertation is in an institutional repository and is available from the university, this will make it more easy to find. Also, you can link to your datasets and whatnot.

Conference Materials: http://altbibl.io/gazette/open-access-publishing-made-easy-for-conferences/

We have folks who have been very dissatisfied with the existing options for hosting conference proceedings. I know one group went from AIP where they had been for decades, to Astronomical Society of the Pacific, to IoP and still weren't happy. They wanted to make the information available but not super expensive. This may be an option for long term access and preservation.

Informal astronomy communications: https://github.com/arceli/charter

This is more for like blog posts.

Research software: https://astronomy-software-index.github.io/2015-workshop/

 

All of this is pulled together by ADS (see also ADS labs), which is a freely available research database for Astro and related subjects (we are more interested in planetary science and solar physics at MPOW). PubMed gets all the love, but this is pretty powerful stuff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

No responses yet

Leave a Reply