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What You and Your Editors Should Know about the New DOAJ Application

November 25, 2014

With the recent flurry of press about the Directory of Open Access Journals’ new eligibility requirements, many journal editors are wondering where their journal stands and what they should do about it. We’ve done a little sleuthing and are happy to report that your journal is almost certainly in good shape for the upcoming changes.

DOAJ’s new application is designed to keep out predatory publishers who take advantage of authors by charging exorbitant article-processing charges; you, too, should benefit from DOAJ’s move to distance it from the predatory publishers that give open access publishing a bad name. As editors and publishers of library-led journals that don’t function on an author-pays model, you should be put at ease. DOAJ isn’t trying to kick you out; in fact, it wants to list as many legitimate open access journals as possible.

Although the application form has swelled to an intimidating 52 questions, this isn’t a test that your journal needs to ace in order to be included in DOAJ. Something well below 100% “yes” answers will get you in DOAJ. Many of the questions are used by DOAJ not as inclusion criteria but instead to group journals by categories within their site and otherwise gather information on journals.

Hopefully, that news alone prevents you from treating the application like a to-do list and trying to get all those boxes checked before your next issue comes out. Although the application brings up a lot of ideas that your journal might want to look into, such as a standardized plagiarism policy and clear copyright and licensing information, these things take thought and time to implement. There’s no rush!

A DOAJ representative has informed us that the open access journal aggregator will be reassessing all its existing stable of journals in 2015. When DOAJ is ready, one of its staff members will be contacting journals’ editors/publishers directly to invite the journal to reapply to the DOAJ database—so you don’t need to worry about getting caught off guard.

Finally, we will be actively tracking survey responses and application success rates in order to be able to help you submit an accurate application that is most likely to win approval. The DOAJ Editorial Team works with applicants throughout the process to help ensure that their applications are accepted. And, even if rejected, applicants can apply as many times as they like. So rest easy—and know that we’re always happy to answer any questions that come up at

“Keep Talking and the Projects Will Come”: One IR Project Leads to Another and Content Leads to Downloads

November 18, 2014

Becoming a trusted scholarly communications expert on campus is a strategic process, something Jonathan Bull at Valparaiso University and Lucretia McCulley at the University of Richmond illuminated in their informative Digital Commons webinar. The keyword in this equation is “communication”: as Jon says, “Keep talking and the projects will come!” Further, projects keep coming because admins are able to show success along the way with readership reports. Jon and Lucretia have both cultivated their expertise over time and are now the go-to people on their respective campuses for a variety of needs. These range from authors’ rights issues and data management to publishing student work. Jon and Lucretia shared successful outreach ideas, messages that have connected with their stakeholders, and strategies for staying on top of the evolving scholarly communications landscape.

Jon stressed the importance of continually speaking to stakeholders and other librarians. For example, when Jon spoke with a faculty member about putting his research in the IR the professor responded “I can do you one better!” and asked about putting upcoming conference proceedings online. Jon then responded with “one better” than that: putting the whole conference online. The ball kept rolling, culminating in the prestigious collection of the U.S.-Japan Bilateral Workshop on the Tropical Tropopause Layer, an international partnership including multimedia and poster presentations. One IR project leads to another, and content leads to readership—ValpoScholar just passed 1 million downloads—success in action!

Once the downloads come and the IR can demonstrate success, this can beget more success and funding through continual content recruiting and marketing. A healthy IR needs “care and feeding,” as Jon says. Word of mouth can be powerful, as when a Liturgical Conference at Valparaiso was fully hosted in the IR, and a student journal was later developed out of this conference’s success.

Lucretia and Jon both emphasized ongoing education for themselves and their colleagues in the form of webinars, conferences, DC User groups, blogs, copyright workshops, following “conversations beyond the campus” through email lists, and making time for ongoing professional reading of such journals as JLSC and D-Lib Magazine. Lucretia also mentioned that attending bepress’s Scholarly Communications Course was especially helpful in positioning herself as a trusted resource for campus needs.

Lucretia underlined the importance of a faculty engagement program. As Lucretia says, “roam and mingle with faculty” to discover what their current research is. She has let their needs direct her, as when she enriched a Scholarly Communications LibGuide with answers to faculty questions about predatory publishing and evaluating journals—a guide which is now used to educate faculty chairs and the tenure committee. Jon developed a LibGuide on Copyright Issues so faculty could be educated about owning their intellectual property, and which all can turn to for answers on use of copyrighted material on campus. Check out their webinar for a detailed list of suggestions and many more useful tips!

Development Sneak Preview: November 2014

November 11, 2014

Jean-Gabriel Bankier, President and CEO of bepress

I hope everyone enjoyed the last round of improvements to Digital Commons, including pan/zoom for image galleries and a new featured collections page. We enjoy sharing with you our development plans, and I want to give you another peek at what’s ahead for the Digital Commons community.

At a glance:

• Take These New Maps Anywhere
• Preservation Enhancements
• Searchable Custom Fields
• PDF Cover Page Improvements
• Download Filtering

Take These New Maps Anywhere

New Playback Readership Map
The readership activity map is a very popular way of showcasing the impact of the full repository collection in Digital Commons. By community demand, we will provide a way to showcase the impact of individual Journals, Communities, Conferences, etc. The new Playback Readership Map will be possible to display on any collection in your repository. Instead of real-time activity, the Playback Readership Map is designed to display the download activity from a select time period (e.g., last 7 days). Even if the visitor is in the middle of the night, the pins will be dropping and showing the collection’s impact. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post with details.

Embeddable Readership Activity Map
Another way of broadcasting your success is by embedding the readership activity map on your related campus websites. The homepage of your library, law school, or Office of Research can show the global impact of your scholarship. Do they require SSL? No problem! Embeddable maps will include SSL support.

Readership Maps on Mobile Devices
The map has been so effective at expressing the demand for your scholarship that we are expanding support to include mobile devices. You’ll be able to bring an iPad to casual meetings and wow your faculty with downloads.

Preservation Enhancements

Safeguarding content has always been a priority for bepress. In addition to our own array of protocols to help ensure perpetual access to your content, we have been working with a group of institutions, forming a Private LOCKSS Network (PLN) as an additional preservation method for their scholarship. We are further streamlining the ability of LOCKSS crawlers to gather content. These improvements also help to support institutions outside of the PLN, such as those using MetaArchive, to retrieve and preserve their scholarship in multiple locations.

Searchable Custom Fields

One of the most popular feature requests is to expand the search capabilities within Digital Commons. Currently visitors can search all of the basic fields and the full text of any record. But researchers are often searching for unique terms that are outside the default fields. Authors may be required to provide other metadata, such as grant information, and make it easily accessible. Searches will be able to easily locate content wherever the metadata is captured.

PDF Cover Page Improvements

Another popular feature of Digital Commons is our PDF cover pages. The cover pages encourage return visitors, save time for editors, and help to guarantee your institution attribution for its scholarship. We will be upgrading the technology that generates these cover pages and helping to support the wider variety of PDFs in existence today.

Download Filtering

As you know from our previous post, we spent significant time this year fighting a new rash of bots that was artificially inflating the download reports. Much of that work was responsive to particular patterns of abuse that we were trying to quash. We are completing related improvements that make our algorithm easier to adjust so that we can be more responsive to sudden shifts in behavior.

As you can see much of this work was driven by requests from the community. We have another iron in the fire, a new data visualization, but it’s too soon to share details yet.

Okay, so when do we get to see the new features?

These features are currently under development, but stay tuned to the DC Telegraph for updates on these features, news about other upcoming improvements, and a continued closer look at our development process.
For questions about upcoming or recently released features, feel free to contact our Consulting Services team at!

Congratulations to the Second Graduating Class of the Scholarly Publishing Certification Course at bepress

November 4, 2014

From October 7th – 9th, 2014, IR admins from institutions across the country came to our offices in Berkeley, California for our second annual “Scholarly Publishing Certification Course: A Training Program for Library-Led Publishing Initiatives.” According to our participants the course was “extremely helpful,” featuring “a variety of excellent presentations,” workshops, technical training sessions, and opportunities for admins to meet one-on-one with their bepress Consultants.

Martin Kelly, Assistant Director for Digital Collections at Colby College, said “I have come away with ideas for reinvigorating and repositioning Digital Commons @ Colby within the college. I have also picked up many ways to improve our current collections and pending projects.”

“It was great to hear from other IR managers / share experiences and talk about what works,” said Karen Bjork, Digital Initiatives Coordinator, Library, at Portland State University. Every participant reported that it was very helpful to work in person with their Consulting Services representative at bepress. “It was wonderful to be able to talk to her about issues and successes,” said Karen of her Consultant.

“We had several opportunities to ask questions, so I am leaving with all my questions answered,” said Jacklyn Rander, Publishing Services Manager at Grand Valley State University. She added that even though GVSU already has a thriving publishing program, “The course was helpful in gaining new ideas on how to improve our program and hearing what peer universities are doing with their publishing programs.”

“It was very helpful to have a lot of this info as we prepare to launch [a publishing program], rather than back-training when problems arise,” stated Andrea Wright, Science & Outreach Librarian at Furman University.

Topics for the course ranged from copyright and policy considerations to pitching a publishing business plan to provosts. Participants explored tools for managing submissions and peer review, defined their goals and action plans for their publishing initiatives, and developed a network of professional relationships with other library-publishers. We’re excited to announce our class of graduates:

Joshua Beatty, SUNY Plattsburgh
Karen Bjork, Portland State University
Martin Kelly, Colby College
Jacklyn Rander, Grand Valley State University
Lawrence Ross, George Washington University Law School
Andrea Wright, Furman University

Congratulations, Graduates!

We’re looking forward to reviewing all the helpful feedback we got in preparation for our upcoming spring IR Manager Certification course. Keep an eye out for more information on that in the near future or email for more information.


Best Practices from Your Peers: ETD Removal Policies

October 29, 2014

One topic we see come up a lot on our Digital Commons user group are ETD policies and workflows. In one thread—reposted here with permission—Margaret Heller of Loyola University Chicago and M Ryan Hess of DePaul University shared two expert perspectives on ETD removal policies that we wanted to highlight on the blog.

Mies Martin, formerly of Michigan Technological University, posed this question to the group:

“We are preparing our formal DC roll out and one policy or procedure we need to establish has to do with removal of content in Digital Commons. Right now our DC site consists mostly of Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Rather than reinventing the wheel I wanted to see if anyone could share their polices or procedures regarding removal of ETDs from their sites. I’m also interested in learning if anyone posts this information and if so, where on your site do you post it?”

Margaret responded first:

“We don’t have anything documented particularly well, but several experiences over the past year have led to the following set of practices:
1. When a withdrawal request is made, we first clarify the motivations. Is there a book contract at stake? Simple misunderstanding of the requirement to deposit?
2. Next we see if an embargo or access restricted to campus is acceptable.
3. In the one case where none of the above has been acceptable, the item was withdrawn, but the PDF is stored elsewhere with the understanding that is still archival material just as the print copy in the archives.
So far this has worked, with most people willing to accept embargo over withdrawal.
Our general withdrawal policy is on a policy page. It was written before I began managing the repository, and has never come up.”

Then M Ryan Hess offered his experience:

“We have a pretty established policy which largely puts the burden on the Colleges and Schools. Our largest ETD contributor made it a departmental policy that adding dissertations and theses to the repository was a requirement for graduation. Students must sign an agreement that they are posting their ETD on our repository. The aim of our ETD program is to promote the intellectual legacy of the campus, reinforce our reputation via Google and Discovery system results and also promote open access in general. Pretty much all the other schools follow this model. In fact, we highly recommend this to new schools and colleges that want to post ETDs. We have about one or two students a year come back with complaints about their writing being posted and so it’s very good to have consent documented. I think it also makes it really easy to enforce because it’s very simple and straightforward.
We also defer to the schools in terms of embargoes. Some use this. Some don’t. In some cases, the schools that do allow them, require that the faculty advisor sign off on any embargo.”

Margaret was kind enough to follow up and let bepress know that

“we discovered a retrospectively digitized thesis from the 1940s containing copyrighted material. The publisher asked us to withdraw it under the DMCA. Rather than withdrawing the entire thesis we consulted with library administration and chose to redact the pages with the copyrighted material and replace that with a page stating the copyright holder requested that the material be removed. This particular situation is relevant to current ETDs when they contain material that wasn’t cleared, and might be a way to make the entire thesis available without copyright violation.”

Thanks to Margaret and M Ryan for their great answers, and to Mies for posing such an important question!

The world of scholarly communications is constantly changing, but if there’s one thing we here at bepress can always count on, it’s the vast collective knowledge of our Digital Commons community. Though our team of IR experts are always here to help, we know that sometimes the most useful answers to your questions are the ones that come straight from your peers. That’s why a few years ago we set up an online Digital Commons user group dedicated to just that. Are you subscribed to the group yet? If not, email your Consulting Services Representative to find out how!

Commercial Contracts and Publishing Opportunities Result from Openly Sharing Group’s Work Online

October 21, 2014

J.R. Dennison, Professor of Physics at Utah State University, leads a group of graduate and undergraduate students who test aerospace materials called the Materials Physics Group, now represented online in Utah State’s institutional repository, Digital Commons@USU. He is thrilled that having his group’s work in the IR has led to funding and contracts, created publishing opportunities, made them more connected to their peers, and made the research more easily discoverable. The Materials Physics Group showcases a wide variety of work including faculty publications, conference publications, theses and dissertations, posters, presentations, reports, senior theses and projects.

A big opportunity came along when Professor Dennison got a call from the president of a small business with a NASA/U.S. Air Force contract who urgently needed help with testing, and found the Materials Physics Group in a panicked search of the Web. “One hour [later] he was talking to me and that started our collaboration.” The business partnership continues to be a success. “Beyond the contract funds, this contract is exciting to me because it opened up a door for me into a new branch of work—commercial and practical application of my craft.”

Professor Dennison describes further important professional opportunities as well. “The students, both graduate and undergraduate, have benefited greatly from the group’s presence in their USU IR too. The commercial application work that we have all been doing together has been driving real material science…. My students are writing topical articles and getting published.”

Professor Dennison is quick to give credit to his liaison librarian, Betty Rozum, Associate Dean for Technical Services, for recognizing the value of organizing, sharing and preserving all of this valuable research in the IR. “Betty was the one who got me to imagine the benefits that might come from making my group’s work accessible online,” said Professor Dennison. His monthly readership reports from Digital Commons showed that “people were actually finding and noticing my work.” Having the group’s research widely available has made it possible for new colleagues from around the globe to find Professor Dennison through his work. A colleague in China who found the work in DigitalCommons@USU contacted him—“He had read my work and had detailed questions. It was nice to get that kind of feedback and to get a new contact, especially someone I knew by reputation.”

This robust collection of work has become the home for the Materials Physics Group online, offering significant professional benefits, and Professor Dennison couldn’t be more pleased.

Model Collections: A New Resource Just in Time for Open Access Week

October 14, 2014

We’re pleased to announce a new resource: Model Collections!  Organized by discipline, these collections are designed to help you and your liaison or reference librarians further engage faculty with your repository initiative.  More specifically, we wanted to provide samples of each possible type of collection that a department might want to showcase.  We hope that you and your liaison librarians will share these examples of services the library can offer when presenting to departments.

So far, we have collected together some exemplary journals, conferences, faculty and student research, books, special collections, and other content in the following disciplines:

We would love your feedback and suggestions on this new resource!  What disciplines should we do next?  How might you use this resource?  Let us know by e-mailing us at

Show What Your IR Can Do for Undergraduate Research Groups on Campus with a Great Leave-Behind

October 7, 2014

Undergraduate research initiatives are cropping up everywhere you look. The question is: how can you show them what the IR can do to help?

We’ve taken some of the best and most creative examples of undergraduate research in Digital Commons repositories and created a leave-behind that we hope will help. The handout, “Digital Commons: A Showcase for Undergraduate Work,” highlights undergraduate collections from a wide range of institutions, from small liberal arts schools to large research-oriented universities. Show your undergraduate research partners how Digital Commons can support their mission with honors theses and capstone projects, student research journals and conferences, and a myriad of ways to showcase the special programs and opportunities that are unique to your campus.

Share the link with your office of undergraduate research, honors program, or anyone else invested in undergraduate work on your campus—or better still, print up some copies and drop them off in person. If you’d like our fancy dancy printed copies to leave behind, drop us a line and we can send a stack your way!

Coming Soon to a Website Near You: Portable Readership Activity Maps!

October 2, 2014

Earlier this year we announced a new tool: the Digital Commons Readership Activity Map, a real-time visualization of full-text downloads across the globe. Our primary goal was to provide IR managers and their libraries with a solution to the great challenge facing the IR initiative that Dorothea Salo, author of the “Roach Motel” paper, identified so clearly:

“The problem in my opinion isn’t so much that downloads aren’t happening; it’s that with many of our IR systems, usage activity is *invisible* because the software doesn’t surface it in any usable or interesting fashion.”

—Comment made by Dorothea Salo to a thread on the meaning of her “Roach Motel” paper on the SPARC listserv (August 9th, 2009)

Reactions to the new Readership Activity Map have been overwhelmingly positive. The most frequent comment we get is that it is “mesmerizing.” We couldn’t be more pleased. The powerful visual impact of the Readership Activity Map has led Digital Common’s subscribers to take screen shots of the map to post on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere. One of Purdue’s research centers created a video of the map to show their impact.

But pictures and videos of the Readership Activity Map simply can’t match the impact of the real thing. Digital Commons subscribers want to put the live map on their informational TVs that sit outside of the entrances of their Libraries and administration offices. They want to be able to incorporate the live map into campus-wide public relations efforts. Deans want to have the maps accessible on mobile devices so that they can show donors when making house calls. To support these goals, and those of others following suit, we have prioritized making the Readership Activity Map portable so that you can highlight usage activity of readers anywhere the story resonates with patrons on campus or funders on and off campus. In the next few months Digital Commons subscribers will soon have the ability to:

• Embed the Readership Activity Map on any web site or monitor with a quick cut-and-paste job
• View or share Readership Activity from any mobile device

It is also worth noting that we’ve continued to improve the map itself. We’ve made it more intuitive and visually impactful. We have added the option to zoom in on readers around the world. We have also invested in the infrastructure supporting the map to make it more robust and in further filtering the logs to rigorously eliminate spiders, bots and crawlers from the readership logs in real-time.

Stay tuned for release announcements of these features and other plans we have for visualizing readership data, as well as other Digital Commons and SelectedWorks improvements.

Ideas for Celebrating Open Access Week

September 30, 2014

In late October academic libraries around the world will celebrate Open Access Week. This annual event is a great opportunity to publicize and educate faculty, students and staff about ongoing scholarly communication issues and initiatives, and to highlight IR services that help promote open access and sustainable scholarly communication.

Look no further than these Digital Commons subscribers for some great ideas about how to celebrate open access at your library:

Getting creative, Janelle Wertzberger of Gettysburg College is making OA logo cookies with a cookie cutter that they printed on their 3D printer, thanks to Chip Wolfe at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, who made an STL file for them! The University at Albany, State University of New York, will be having a launch event for their new IR, Scholars Archive, during Open Access week, and having Jim DelRosso from Cornell ILR come give a talk. The University of Kentucky is having a “a panel discussion about research and scholarship in an environment that is trending toward openness.” Boise State Scholarworks will be using OA Week to celebrate their millionth download (congrats!). CSU Ohio is having a joint conference with Wright State. UMass Medical School eScholarship@UMMS is celebrating OA Week and they will be highlighting their data services. As part of OA Week the University of Tennessee Knoxville library is having a 5th Anniversary Celebration of Trace, Tennessee Research and Creative Exchange.

If you need ideas for presentations and messaging, Isaac Gilman’s Open Access in 15 Minutes (or less) is a great place to start. OA advocate Peter Suber’s introductory page also provides an excellent overview. Many items in the collaboratory, such as this brochure for Johnson & Wales University’s ScholarsArchive@JWU, do a great job of framing the repository within the global Open Access campaign. In addition, the bepress outreach department ( is always happy to discuss marketing and messaging if you’d like more information.

Many universities also host open access week materials in their IRs. This is a great way to both advertise upcoming events and provide access to materials for those unable to attend. Here are just a few of the colleges and universities hosting OA week material in their IRs:

Gettysburg College
Wayne State University
Utah State University
Syracuse University
Trinity University
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

If you’re already thinking ahead to next year, consider following Crystal Goldman and the librarians over at San Jose State University’s lead. In celebration of Open Access Week SJSU hosted a one-day conference on open access, open resources, and open education. “Open Access Un/Conference: Promote, Impact, Assess” offers both a formal conference proceeding and an opportunity for informal discussion.

We’re excited to see our Digital Commons community planning such fun, innovative activities! If you are planning OA Week activities on your campus that you’d like to share, we’d love to hear about them—e-mail us at




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