Scholarly Communication

dLIST: Fuel for the Open Access Revolution

“Coleman has always wanted to leave the planet better than she found it. She’s already done so.” That’s how the writer concluded the little write-up  about my 2007 Library Journal Mover and Shaker award. The award was given for my pioneering work in Open Access (OA), in starting and running dLIST the first disciplinary repository for Library and Information Science in June 2002. Today, dLIST is a part of the University of Arizona’s Institutional Repository. Fast forward to June 2016 when I attended the Annual Conference of the American Theological Librarians Association. I was there to present a paper from my Anti-racism research and invite collaborators for the OA Anti-racism Digital Library and International Anti-racism Thesaurus [proof-of-conceptprototype, and talks/papers here]. It was heartening to hear two of the three keynotes speak to the latest trends in Scholarly Communication, the growth of Digital Humanities, and the impact and challenges of OA in Libraries, Archives, Museums, and Digital Repositories. And, I realized…

plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

The more things change, the more they stay the same. 

In the month that followed my participation at the ATLA 2016 conference more things happened to confirm this:

  • I was grateful when Martha Kyrillidou, of ARL LibQUAL fame, consulted me, out of the blue, on an ALA/LAMA data assessment repository project (dLIST piloted an assessment repository component with NSF/NSDL projects and also advocated for ALA and ARL to adopt OA for librarians who were so focused on OA in other disciplines because of the journal crisis that they had forgotten their own field’s needs);
  • It was bittersweet to hear from authors* who have cited my studies, former students** and faculty collaborators on dLIST, that while there has indeed been progress with open access (OA) in the USA, such as state legislation mandating the deposit of research papers funded by public monies into an OA repository, many of the old barriers still existed. Most faculty still don’t care about OA or self-archiving, OA resolutions still fail in the Academic Senate, and so on. On the other hand, the visionary leadership and practices of dLIST – supporting inter-disciplinarity, connecting teaching, research and practice, by collecting a variety of scholarly genres/forms and formats, not just traditional research outputs, harvesting resources automatically with OAI-PMH, semi-automatically, and via manual deposits/self-archiving,  and describing student and faculty scholarship based on communities of practice and use, that is, the ‘information work’ of teaching, learning, citing, writing papers, preparing presentations, sparking ideas, making connections and more, via information communication technologies – continues to gather strength. A great deal of interest, energy, resources, and movement is being invested in digital scholarship, eScholarship repositories, big data, open data, research data, open educational resources, and so forth.

* I strongly believe that there is a long way to go, even within the library profession.  In our library passing an OA resolution failed a few years ago. Now after an IL legislative initiative SIUC also has a university wide OA policy/mandate .  As one of two managers of our IR I can tell you that we have not seen 100% participation rate.  There was an uptick in deposits but there are a lot of issues with enforcement of any OA policy and faculty just don’t seem to care enough.

As for the library world:  I think the biggest gains the profession made was making the ALA section publications OA during the past few years. Every small step moves us forward though.

– Andrea Imre, Serials and Electronic Resources Librarian, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

**I am also very proud of two of my students who worked on dLIST and co-authored publications with me. Paul Bracke and Jingfeng Xia are library deans, leaders of campus repositories’ management and research as well.

Here’s a recent prezi presentation on Schol Comm that I put together. It is not the most intuitive since I really wanted to spend time listening as well as sharing with the audience for which this was prepared. I include it here because I want to highlight the metaphor of a tree and its branches. My years with dLIST and with digital scholarship, both in academia and in the indie publishing world, has taught me, that scholarly communication is not just about the life cycle of research or publications; scholarship is all about relationships and conversations. The scholarly communication system of which libraries and librarians are an integral and mission critical part is thus most like a tree. A tree that can be cultivated but one that also needs the creative freedom to grow organically. Authors, libraries, publishers, funding agencies, users, students, and other stakeholders, are all branches and we must find ways to leverage our collaboration, partnerships and symbiosis.

I hope to sketch this vision of dialog and relationships out more in subsequent posts. For now, I’ve started to make impromptu video clips viewing through the lens of dLIST. Here’s the first part: dLIST Revisited: Fuel for the Open Access Revolution. I will be adding more, so be sure to come back. And, in case you’re curious about me, beyond my blog here and books on Amazon, here’s a link to the list of my works on dLIST (~105 research, teaching, presentations, grant proposals, and more). BL: Most people who choose academic and research careers do so because they want to make a positive difference, and that doesn’t seem to have changed at all. Libraries and librarians are mission critical in the conversations and relationships that make up scholarly communication.

A Few Resources Based on dLIST experiences in the broad area of Scholarly Communication: 

American Library Association and Association of Research Libraries. Scholarly Communication [ALA/ACRL Scholarly Communication website]. dLIST editors and I worked with both ALA and ARL right from our inception. In  is heartening to note how far both of these professional association have now come.

Charles Bailey, Jr.  Digital Scholarship. [website] Bailey, one of dLIST’s editors (~2005-2007) continues to be one of the best to consult on recent developments.

Eprints. Repository Fringe 2016 is happening next week and I wish I’d known about this earlier. I’d have loved to vacation with them!!!! dLIST ran on ePrints software and in fact, we developed quite a few features too as patches (Latest News). In 2002 chose ePrints for two main reasons among many others including there just wasn’t much else out there! One, the digital repository software was so easy for me to install and run on a server in my office; Two, it allowed me to customize the repository for research articles, educational materials, as well as research data and instruments. At that time nobody was paying attention to the educational piece as the focus was on research, but now. it is so very nice to see these three options offered so very visibly on the graphic promoting eprints 3.4 software.

Society for Scholarly Publishing. Scholarly Soup Kitchen. [blog]. SSP was another group with whom dLIST (again through the global team of editors we had) tried to engage. It is great to see this group of high-level publishers, librarians, consultants, and researchers from many different disciplines share their perspectives on this blog.



Published by Dr. Anita Coleman

The one and only Biblio Prof :)

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