University Library Committee

Ask a Librarian

November 2, 2005

Attending: Elsa Althen, Steven Barkan, Susanne Breckenridge, Sarah Calcese, Catharine Degen, Ken Frazier, Evelyn Howell, Michelle Mason, Salim Mohammed, Teryl Roper, Phillip Braithwaite, Jocelyn Milner, Terry Burton, Jo Ann Carr, Jean Gilbertson, Deborah Helman, Lee Konrad, Carrie Kruse, Richard Reeb, Ed Van Gemert

Minutes from the 9/28/05 meeting were approved.

1. Introductions

Salim Mohammed, a graduate student in the School of Library and Information Science, and Catherine Degen, an undergrad in the School of Education, were introduced as the student representatives to ULC.

2. Announcements

Frazier distributed a letter from Pearson Higher Education, which was sent to him in response to the UW-Madison Libraries/Associated Students of Madison brochure entitled “The High Cost of Textbooks: Options and Alternatives for Students.” The problem of high cost textbooks is being discussed on campuses nation-wide.

Campus libraries are seeing heavy use at this time of year. The only times when more students are in the libraries are during final exam periods.

3. Reports from Library Directors

Lee Konrad (Director, Memorial Library)
Memorial Library is conducting searches for two positions: Latin American & Iberian Studies Librarian [since filled by acting Latin American & Iberian Studies librarian, Paloma Celis Carbajal] and East Asian Studies Librarian.

Jo Ann Carr (Center for Instructional Materials and Computing (CIMC); Special Purpose Libraries Group)
On November 14, the CIMC will host a workshop for faculty on library course pages. This is part of the CIMC's “Technology that Meets You Where You Are” series.

Deborah Helman (Wendt Library)
Wendt Library has begun a pilot project to set up MINDS@UW communities for the College of Engineering and its departments.

Ken Frazier (General Library System)
As in other parts of the university, the libraries are seeing aggressive recruitment of some high profile staff members. The Reference Department has lost one of its staff members to the University of California at Berkeley .

4. Journal cancellation exercise for 2006

Frazier reminded members that costs of serials from both commercial and nonprofit publishers have risen 2-3 times the rate of inflation for a number of years, making serial cancellations an annual necessity. The cancellation of serial titles is problematic for grad students and faculty/staff, but without cancellations, we undermine the purchase of books, databases and reference materials.

Reeb reported on this fall's serial cancellations. Lists of cancellations by title and library and a list of titles converted to electronic only are available from the library web site at . A letter from Frazier explaining the cancellation exercise is also on this web site.

In September, the UW Libraries cancelled 447 serial titles for a projected savings of $343,800 in FY06. This represents 1.2% of campus's 55,000 paid serial titles. Another 364 serials have been converted to electronic-only for further savings of at least $69,000. The total savings of $412,800 comes to 6.1% of our total serials expenditures.

To help offset the loss of journal subscriptions, UW Libraries have expanded the Library Express (LX) article delivery service. Requests for articles from cancelled journals published by Elsevier, Wiley, and Springer are purchased directly from the publisher. In July, LX began a user-initiated rush service. Library Express users have commented favorably on the quick turn around time and high quality pdfs provided. They also have commented on an improvement in productivity when using Library Express.

Frazier emphasized that though the combination of cancellations and Library Express has allowed the libraries to manage shrinking budgets and collections, the strategy of article-by-article purchasing is no substitute for subscribing to serials.

5. Library scholarly communications initiatives

Frazier summarized problems that have developed in the current scholarly communication model. Universities no longer can keep pace with the rising costs and quantity of scholarly output. The impact of rising serial prices has adversely affected the serials-driven science and technology fields. At the same time, trying to maintain these serials has resulted in pressures on monographic collections in the humanities and social sciences. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find academic publishers for some books. Universities pay to conduct research, pay again to summarize the research for publication in journals, and pay a third time to buy it back in the form of journal subscriptions.

The Faculty Senate recently passed a resolution in support of accessible scholarly and scientific publication , which encourages efforts to find alternatives to commercial ownership and management of scholarly and scientific publication. See the resolution at

a. Scholarly communications website development
In an effort to keep this issue before university faculty and students, the UW Libraries have formed the Office of Scholarly Communication and Publishing (OSCP.) Its web site can be found at:

The OSCP strives to present the university community with options for c ontrolling copyright , influencing publishers, and archiving research output. The Office also outlines alternative publishing models, including online book publishing, open access journals, and publication of conference proceedings on the internet.

In response to questions about the present publishing model where peer review plays such an important role, Frazier pointed out that some 1700 peer-reviewed open access journals are now available. In the open access model, societies still coordinate editorial work and peer review, while libraries might serve as facilitators between the university community and open access publishers.

The OSCP can assist researchers in interpreting publisher licenses. Even if a researcher has already assigned copyright to a publisher, there may be provisions in a license that allow for simultaneous archiving in a repository (e.g. Elsevier) or submission to a repository a year after formal publication in a journal (e.g. ACS).

b. Working with Grad School on NIH public access policy implementation
In response to growing consumer demand for access to the results of publicly-funded research, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have proposed that articles written to report on NIH-funded research be deposited in BioMed Central. This proposal has resulted in a backlash from publishers who believe it will undermine their business model. In May 2005, NIH compromised by making submissions to BioMed Central optional and by proposing that articles be submitted to BioMed Central one year after publication.

Frazier, Gilbertson and Burton have proposed to the University's Research Advisory Committee that there be a mechanism for helping Principal Investigators submit articles to BioMed Central. The three also will attend a meeting of the campus's associate deans for research to encourage submission of articles to BioMed Central.

6. Other business

A future ULC meeting may be held at College Library to facilitate a discussion of library as place. College Library recently has transformed some of its spaces in response to evolving student needs.

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