[EAS] Digital Libraries, Peer Review & Other Joys
Peter J. Kindlmann
pjk at design.eng.yale.edu
Thu Aug 28 16:14:33 EDT 2008
Dear Colleagues -
Here is a little late summer reading (on a laptop with a network
connection), about the continuing shift in how we relate to digital
library resources, the shades and shadiness of peer review, and other
aspects of the publication process.
Regarding digital libraries, my main regret is that the very real
librarians, whose pivotal contributions make such environments
productive, are increasingly fading from the awareness of library
patrons. This is a classical problem of virtualization, where real
usefulness still depends crucially on real people.
Have a good Labor Day weekend. --PJK
From: "Carolyn Kotlas" <kotlas at email.unc.edu>
To: Peter Kindlmann <pjk at design.eng.yale.edu>
Subject: TL Infobits -- August 2008
Date: Thu, 28 Aug 2008 10:39:15 -0400
TL INFOBITS August 2008 No. 26 ISSN: 1931-3144
INFOBITS is an electronic service of The University of North Carolina
at Chapel Hill ITS Teaching and Learning division. Each month the
ITS-TL's Information Resources Consultant monitors and selects from a
number of information and instructional technology sources that come to
her attention and provides brief notes for electronic dissemination to
NOTE: You can read the Web version of this issue at
You can read all back issues of Infobits at
Understanding the Net Generation's Texts
Stakeholders in Digital Transformation in Higher Ed
Increasing the Impact of Online Scholarly Journal Articles
Peer Reviewing: Past & Present
The "Dark Side" of Peer Reviewing
UNDERSTANDING THE NET GENERATION'S TEXTS
"Much has been written about the way in which the [Net-Generation]
learner acquires and processes information. Coming of age in an
environment saturated by technology, where the digital world interacts
more and more seamlessly with the "real" world, means that these
students represent the first generation of virtual learners--learners
accustomed to seeking and building knowledge in a technology-enhanced
environment. When these learners seek information, they are more likely
to look for it online than anywhere else since this is the environment
with which they are most familiar. Are educators rising to the
challenge of teaching these students? Some evidence suggests that they
In "Why Professor Johnny Can't Read: Understanding the Net Generation's
Texts" (INNOVATE, vol. 4,no. 6, August/September 2008), Mark Mabrito
and Rebecca Medley of Purdue University Calumet discuss the difference
in literacy skills between the current generation of college students
and the faculty who teach them. They describe the differences between
the two groups as "not a generation gap but an information processing
gap" that can be bridged by faculty experiencing the digital world from
the students' perspectives.
The paper is available online at
Registration is required to access articles; registration is free.
Innovate: Journal of Online Education [ISSN 1552-3233], an open-access,
peer-reviewed online journal, is published bimonthly by the Fischler
School of Education and Human Services at Nova Southeastern University.
The journal focuses on the creative use of information technology (IT)
to enhance educational processes in academic, commercial, and
governmental settings. For more information, contact James L. Morrison,
Editor-in-Chief; email: innovate at nova.edu; Web:
STAKEHOLDERS IN DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION IN HIGHER ED
"To succeed in the internet age, libraries must be aware of which
traditional roles are no longer needed and which potential roles would
be valued, and strategically shift their service offerings to maximize
their value to local users."
Since 2000, Ithaka has conducted surveys to understand how new
technologies are affecting the attitudes and behaviors of faculty in
higher education. In 2006, Ithaka expanded its study by a similar
survey of librarians. The results, which compare data from 2000, 2003,
and 2006, are now available in "Ithaka's 2006 Studies of Key
Stakeholders in the Digital Transformation in Higher Education" (by
Ross Housewright and Roger Schonfeld, August 18, 2008).
Some of the findings include:
-- "[W]hile [faculty] value the library, they perceive
themselves to be decreasingly dependent on the library for
their research and teaching and they anticipate that dependence
to continue to decline in the future."
-- "[T]he vast majority of faculty view the role that
librarians play as just as important as it has been in the
-- While the library's role as purchaser and preserver of
information remains important for faculty, the importance of
its role of "gateway for locating information" is declining.
However, librarians surveyed list this role as very important.
-- "[F]aculty members are growing somewhat less aware of the
library's role in providing the tools and services they use in
the virtual environment."
-- As libraries move from print to digital collections,
"[n]either faculty members nor librarians are enthusiastic to
see existing hard-copy collections discarded, with the faculty
much less enthusiastic than the librarians. . . ."
The paper is available online at
Ithaka is an independent not-for-profit organization with a mission to
accelerate the productive uses of information technologies for the
benefit of higher education worldwide. "We work in close collaboration
with JSTOR (http://www.jstor.org/) and ARTstor
(http://www.artstor.org/), and we are currently incubating three
initiatives: Aluka (http://www.aluka.org/), a digital library of
scholarly resources from and about the developing world; NITLE
(http://www.nitle.org/), a collaborative effort to promote emerging
technologies in liberal arts contexts; and Portico
(http://www.portico.org/), a permanent archive of electronic scholarly
journals." For more information about Ithaka, go to
INCREASING THE IMPACT OF ONLINE SCHOLARLY JOURNAL ARTICLES
As more scholars use the Web to disseminate their publications, they
are faced with the problem of making their work stand out in the vast
sea of online documents. In "Increasing Impact of Scholarly Journal
Articles: Practical Strategies Librarians Can Share" (E-JASL, vol. 9,
no. 1, Spring 2008), Laura Bowering Mullen describes how academic
librarians can help faculty increase the visibility of their scholarly
articles by providing advice in the areas of self-archiving, citation
analysis, and open-access publishing. Mullen provides a number of
suggested strategies that scholars, in partnership with librarians, can
use to increase the impact of their writings.
The paper is available online at
E-JASL: The Electronic Journal of Academic and Special Librarianship
[ISSN 1704-8532] is an independent, professional, refereed electronic
journal dedicated to advancing knowledge and research in the areas of
academic and special librarianship. E-JASL is published by the
Consortium for the Advancement of Academic Publication (ICAAP),
Athabasca, Canada. For more information, contact: Paul Haschak,
Executive Editor, University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL, USA; email:
phaschak at usouthal.edu; Web: http://southernlibrarianship.icaap.org/
PEER REVIEWING: PAST & PRESENT
"Putting one's work forward for refereeing is like playing chess with
one's ego -- advancing one's pawn into the maw of scholarly battle.
Busy old-hand reviewers are not necessarily blessed with a generosity
of spirit, and may treat pieces harshly. On the other hand, newly
engaged referees may find their reports ignored by editors, for reasons
of lack of skill. Writing a review, as with receiving one, involves
skills of astuteness and nuancing. This is due to the complexity of the
academic publishing process and its professed responsibility to the
advancement of knowledge."
In "Peer Reviewing: Privilege and Responsibility" (TEXT, vol. 12, no.
1, April 2008), Jane Johnston and Nigel Krauth chart the history of
peer reviewing and discuss its role in current scholarly publishing.
The authors identify four components of the contemporary peer review
process and their responsibilities in the advancing of knowledge:
1. the researcher/author seeking peer review (Writer)
2. the role of the reviewer (Reviewer)
3. the philosophy of the journal publishing -- or rejecting --
the research (Journal)
4. the expectations of the discipline for which the paper is
The paper is online at
TEXT: The Journal of the Australian Association of Writing Programs
[ISSN: 1327-9556] is "an international peer-reviewed journal under the
auspices of the Australian Association of Writing Programs. TEXT
publishes academic and other material concerned with creative and
professional writing programs in universities, colleges, TAFEs
[Technical and Further Education institutions] and the community around
Australia, United States, Canada, New Zealand, England, and from other
English-speaking areas and programs." TEXT is published twice a year
and is available free of charge as an Open Access journal on the
Internet. For more information, contact: email: text at griffith.edu.au;
THE "DARK SIDE" OF PEER REVIEWING
In their paper "Perceptions of Ethical Problems with Scientific Journal
Peer Review: An Exploratory Study" (SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING ETHICS,
vol. 14, no. 3, September 2008, pp 305-10) researchers David B. Resnik,
Christina Gutierrez-Ford, and Shyamal Peddada report on an anonymous
survey of National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
scientists conducted in 2006 to discover ethical problems with the peer
review process. The main problem reported by those responding to the
survey was reviewer incompetence. Unethical reviewer conduct that was
-- personal attacks in reviewer comments
-- breach of confidentiality
-- holding up publication of the paper so the reviewer could
publish a paper on the same topic first
Since the survey's questions called for respondents to give their
opinions, one might argue that the responses are more a refection of
their personal perceptions than a picture of the true peer review
situation. However, as the survey conductors point out:
"[D]ocumenting that scientists perceive that there are ethical
problems with journal peer review can be an important finding
in its own right, because a scientist may change his/her
behavior in response to what he/she perceives to be a problem.
A researcher who is concerned that his/her ideas will be
stolen, for example, may not disclose all the information that
is needed to repeat his/her experiments. A researcher who is
concerned that a reviewer is incompetent or biased may choose
to ignore the reviewer's comments rather than address the
concerns (which may in fact be valid), especially if they
involve further time and effort in the laboratory. Additional
studies can help determine whether Scientists' perceptions of
ethical problems with journal peer review influence their
The paper is online at
A subscription is required for access; check your institution's library
to see if it provides online access.
"Incompetence Tops List of Complaints About Peer Reviewers"
By Jeffrey Brainard
THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION
August 27, 2008
"Recommended Reading" lists items that have been recommended to me or
that Infobits readers have found particularly interesting and/or
useful, including books, articles, and websites published by Infobits
subscribers. Send your recommendations to carolyn_kotlas at unc.edu for
possible inclusion in this column.
"Who Profits When You Publish?"
By K. A. Wallace
ACADEME, July-August 2008
"Among academic authors, discussion about dissemination of and access
to scholarly works and lamentation about commodification abound, but
scant attention is paid to the monetary aspects of digital publication
for authors, in particular authors in the humanities and to some extent
those in the social sciences."
INFOBITS RSS FEED
To set up an RSS feed for Infobits, get the code at
TL INFOBITS is published by the University of North Carolina at Chapel
Hill Information Technology Services Teaching and Learning division.
ITS-TL supports the interests of faculty members at UNC-Chapel Hill who
are using technology in their instruction and research. Services
include both consultation on appropriate uses and technical support.
To subscribe to INFOBITS, send email to listserv at unc.edu with the
SUBSCRIBE INFOBITS firstname lastname
substituting your own first and last names.
Example: SUBSCRIBE INFOBITS Eoin Colfer
or use the web subscription form at
To UNsubscribe to INFOBITS, send email to listserv at unc.edu with the
INFOBITS is also available online on the World Wide Web at
http://www.unc.edu/cit/infobits/ (HTML format) and at
http://www.unc.edu/cit/infobits/text/index.html (plain text format).
If you have problems subscribing or want to send suggestions for future
issues, contact the editor, Carolyn Kotlas, at kotlas at email.unc.edu
Infobits always welcomes article suggestions from our readers, although
we cannot promise to print everything submitted. Because of our
publishing schedule, we are not able to announce time-sensitive events
such as upcoming conferences and calls for papers or grant
While we often mention commercial products, publications, and Web
sites, Infobits does not accept or reprint unsolicited advertising
copy. Send your article suggestions to the editor at
kotlas at email.unc.edu
Copyright 2008, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ITS
Teaching and Learning. All rights reserved. May be reproduced in any
medium for non-commercial purposes.
More information about the EAS-INFO