Headshot of NISO Eexecutive Director, Todd Carpenter

February 2015

There is a relationship between how business models and technologies develop and evolve. We often think of how new technologies enable new products or services and how those technological developments lead to businesses. However, the inverse of this concept is also true—as new business models or processes are developed, technologies must be adjusted to support those business model. The evolution of each pushes the other in new directions.

This is particularly true of the distribution model of content. Open access publication of journal articles became possible due to the reduction of distribution costs through digital publication and the internet. Now that OA distribution is picking up speed, it is impacting the business processes that have traditionally supported serial publication. Systems that have worked exceptionally well for journals, such as subscription agents, ISSN numbers, EDI for payment processing, price catalogs, serials cataloging, and abstracting and indexing services, are not always suited for an article-by-article digital publishing model. Likewise, new business models, such as funding of publication costs through article publication charges, rather than subscriptions, drives the need for new technologies to support this differing method of payment. Open access article distribution is just one example of this interaction of new business models and technology, but there are others, such as demand-driven acquisition and knowledge bases.

NISO has recently focused on the creation of recommended practices, rather than standards, as these new business models develop and evolve. Locking the community into full-force de jure standards too early in the development of these new models could inhibit innovation. However, there still is a place for consensus. In fact, such consensus is critical to foster the growth of new products and interoperability in early lifecycle stages.

One such project, Access and License Indicators (ALI), published its recommended practice last month. Focusing on solutions that would work within both the current and the evolving models, and technologies, the ALI Working Group has identified two new metadata elements that will provide an opportunity for publishers of open access articles to signal, at an item level, the free-to-read status and associated rights of a content object. This metadata will allow others to harvest information about those objects for a variety of purposes, such as discovery, compliance tracking, and content harvesting (if permitted), particularly in hybrid availability publications.

This is but one of the many best practices needed to provide the necessary structures for a robust and efficient marketplace for open access. NISO will be fostering development of additional consensus approaches related to open access in the coming years, as well as in other evolving areas such as altmetrics, new bibliographic descriptions, linked data, and e-books. Business processes among publishers and software providers are adapting to new technologies in all of these areas. As we identify the areas where NISO standards or recommended practices can provide solutions, attention will be focused on both the technology and the business sides of these issues.

Todd Carpenter’s Signature

Todd Carpenter

Executive Director

NISO Reports

Recommended Practice on Metadata Indicators for Accessibility and Licensing of E-Content Published

NISO has published a new Recommended Practice on Access License and Indicators (NISO RP-22-2015) that defines metadata to be used to indicate free-to-read content and a link to license terms for the use/re-use of that content. Developed by the NISO Working Group on Access License and Indicators (formerly Open Access Metadata and Indicators), the recommended practice proposes the adoption of two core pieces of metadata and associated tags: <free_to_read> and <license_ref>. The first tag would indicate that the work is freely accessible during the specified timeframe (if applicable). The second tag would contain a reference to a URI that carries the license terms specifying how a work may be used.

Adoption of these two metadata designations will allow both humans and machines to assess the status of content. The combination of the two metadata tags can be particularly useful in indicating the subtle nuances of different Open Access content. The indicators include a date component so that content with access and re-use rights that change over time can be adequately understood. The recommended metadata tags can easily be incorporated into existing metadata distribution channels, encoded in XML, and added to existing schemas and workflow. The <free_to_read> tag can also be used to automate the display of appropriate status icons to users and for signaling or determining compliance with most funder and institutional policies.

Access and License Indicators (NISO RP-22-2015) is available for free download from the ALI Working Group webpage.

New ISQ Issue: Licensing of Digital Content

Now available in open access on the NISO website is the Winter 2014 issue of Information Standards Quarterly with a theme of Licensing of Digital Content. Licensing of digital content has been a complex—and contentious—issue since the advent of the first e-journal. While much understanding and experience has been gained since then, greater diversity in types of e-content and technology advances continuously add new challenges to licensing.

In this issue of ISQ, Ann Shumelda Okerson provides her Reflections on Library Licensing, describing both the advancements that have occurred in digital content licensing over the past decade and the remaining and new challenges that we need to address. Todd Carpenter discusses how the Linked Content Coalition Framework for Rights Management will make it possible to manage and access online rights information seamlessly across all types of media. David Martin authors a standard spotlight on the ONIX for Publication Licenses specification from EDItEUR. While this standard has been around for over five years, several recent developments may help make its adoption finally take off. And Adam Chesler and Anne McKee review in The Shared Electronic Resource Understanding (SERU): Six Years and Still Going Strong how this alternative approach to a negotiated license continues to grow in use.

ISQ is available in open access in electronic format on the NISO website. Both the entire issue on Licensing of Digital Content and the individual articles may be freely downloaded. Print copies of ISQ are available by subscription and as print on demand. For more information and to access the free electronic version, visit the Winter 2014 issue's webpage.

February Webinar: Authority Control: Are You Who We Say You Are?

The world of authority control consits of an alphabet soup of acronyms. ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID), which is a system to uniquely identify scientific and other academic authors; ISNI (International Standard Name Identifier), which identifies the public identities of contributors to media content such as books, television programs, and newspaper articles; and VIAF (Virtual International Authority File) a system that combines multiple name authority files into a single authority service, hosted by OCLC—all have their places when discussing identifiers for authority control.

Identity issues and disambiguating authors, researchers, other content creators, and their institutional affiliations are crucial as we move into a world of linked data. In NISO's February 11 webinar Authority Control: Are You Who We Say You Are?—to be held from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. EST— presenters will cover the implications and differences between ORCID, ISNI, and VIAF.

Topics and speakers are:

  • ORCID identifiers in research workflowsSimeon Warner, Director of Repository Development, Cornell University Library

  • ISNI: How It Works and What It DoesLaura Dawson, Product Manager, ProQuest

  • VIAF and its Relationships with Other FilesThomas Hickey, Chief Scientist, OCLC

For more information and to register, visit the event webpage.

February Virtual Conference: Scientific Data Management: Caring for your Institution and Its Intellectual Wealth

In spite of the fact that it is produced daily and is the underlying support for scholarly journal articles, research data has been one of the least managed content resources. This neglect is fast coming to an end, as many funding organizations now require that researchers plan for the organization, care, and sharing of the data produced as part of a funded project. Libraries have a significant opportunity to take on a new role in their institution's data management. The same expertise used in managing traditional print and electronic library resources can be applied to data management planning and curation. But while there are many similarities in managing data, there are also important differences that need to be addressed.

NISO's February 18 virtual conference Scientific Data Management: Caring for your Institution and Its Intellectual Wealth—to be held from 11:00 - 5:00 p.m. EST— will explore many current and up-and-coming aspects of research data management, including:

  • Data management practice meets policy

  • Uses for the data management plan

  • Building data management capacity and functionality

  • Citing and curating datasets

  • Connecting datasets with other products of scholarship

  • Changing researchers' practices

  • Teaching data management techniques

Visit the event webpage for a detailed agenda of speakers and topics and to register.

New for 2015: All registrants to this virtual conference receive a free login to the associated Training Thursday on Crafting a Scientific Data Management Plan to be held on February 26.

February Training Thursday: Crafting a Scientific Data Management Plan

Based on comments and feedback from previous webinar and virtual conference attendees, NISO has instituted a new series of three "Training Thursday" webinars for 2015. These are more technical webinars for those wanting more in-depth knowledge. Each Training Thursday follows a related virtual conference. Registrants to the related virtual conference receive a free login to the associated Training Thursday, or you may register separately just for the training webinar.

First up on February 16 is Crafting a Scientific Data Management Plan, to be held from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. EST. Presenters Kiyomi D. Deards and Jennifer Thoegersen from University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries will guide you through the elements of creating a data management plan, including gathering necessary information, identifying needed resources, and navigating potential pitfalls. Participants will work on a practice plan and critique sample plans provided by the instructor.

For more information and to register for this training webinar, visit the event webpage. All registrants to the February 18 virtual conference on Scientific Data Management will receive a free login to this training webinar and do not need to register separately.

March Two-Part Webinar: Is Granularity the Next Discovery Frontier?

NISO will be holding a two-part webinar in March on Is Granularity the Next Discovery Frontier?. The rise of the Discovery System in the library world has helped to streamline end user searching by providing them with search functionality that more closely resemble search engines like Google than traditional database searches. But with this streamlined search comes added expectations from users about their ability to drill down into content and retrieve more granular pieces of information; anything from book chapters and individual letters to the editor to specific graphs and images could conceivably be retrieved in a more granular search.

In Part 1 of this webinar, How to Support Direct Access to Increasingly Granular Chunks of Content in Response to User Expectations—to be held on March 11 from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. EDT— speakers will discuss the implications of granular content for user search interfaces and discovery engines.

In Part 2, The Business Complexities of Granular Discovery—to be held on March 18 from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. EDT—speakers will discuss the implications of granular content discovery for the business side of the equation.

You can register for both or either part; registrants to both parts receive a 25% discount. For more information and to register, visit the event webpages: Part 1; Part 2.

New on the NISO Website

New Specs & Standards

Research Data Alliance, For Comment: Data Foundation and Terminology (DFT) WG Recommendations

"Based on 21 data models presented by experts coming from different disciplines and 120 interviews and interactions with different scientists and scientific departments, the DFT group has produced 5 inter-related reports and defined a number of simple definitions for digital data in a registered domain based on an agreed conceptualization." The commenting period will end in one month at the end of February.

Research Data Alliance, For Comment: Persistent Identifier Information Types (PIT) WG Recommendations

"The working group on Persistent Identifier Information Types of the Research Data Alliance concerned itself with the essential types of information associated with persistent identifiers. The working group developed a conceptual model for structuring typed information, an application programming interface for access to typed information and a demonstrator implementing the interface. The final deliverable consists of a summarizing report, the interface specification and a set of exemplary types." The commenting period will end in one month at the end of February.

W3C, Standards for Web Applications on Mobile: Current State and Roadmap

"W3C has published the January 2015 edition of Standards for Web Applications on Mobile, an overview of the various technologies developed in W3C that increase the capabilities of Web applications, and how they apply more specifically to the mobile context. A deliverable of the HTML5Apps project, this edition includes changes and additions since October 2014, and covers continued progress of the platform. A notable change is that the document has been re-organized around the categories defined as Application Foundations, a set of high-level grouping of features that highlight the needs from users and developers for the next generation of Web technologies. Learn more about the Web and Mobile Interest Group."

W3C, DPUB IG Metadata Task Force Report Published as a Note

"The Digital Publishing Interest Group has published a Group Note of DPUB IG Metadata Task Force Report. The Metadata Task Force of the DPUB IG found, through extensive interviews with representatives of various sectors and roles within the publishing ecosystem, that there are numerous pain points for publishers with regard to metadata.…Some of the very technologies that are little used or understood in most sectors of publishing are widely used and understood in certain other sectors (e.g., scientific publishing, libraries).…This Note documents in detail the issues that were raised; provides examples of available RDF educational resources at various levels, from the very technical to non-technical and introductory; and lists important identifiers used in the publishing ecosystem, documenting which of them are expressed as URIs, and in what sectors and contexts. It recommends that while little new technology is called for, the W3C is in a unique position to bridge today's currently siloed metadata practices to help facilitate truly cross-sector exchange of interoperable metadata."

Media Stories

Research Data Management and Libraries: Relationships, Activities, Drivers and Influences
PLoS ONE, 9(12): e114734, December 8, 2014; by Stephen Pinfield, Andrew M. Cox, Jen Smith

"This paper analyses the contribution of academic libraries to research data management (RDM) in the wider institutional context. In particular it: examines the roles and relationships involved in RDM, identifies the main components of an RDM programme, evaluates the major drivers for RDM activities, and analyses the key factors influencing the shape of RDM developments.... Results show that although libraries are playing a significant role in RDM, there is uncertainty and variation in the relationship with other stakeholders such as IT services and research support offices. Current emphases in RDM programmes are on developments of policies and guidelines, with some early work on technology infrastructures and support services. Drivers for developments include storage, security, quality, compliance, preservation, and sharing with libraries associated most closely with the last three." (Read the full story)

NISO Note: Learn more about managing research data at NISO's February 18 virtual conference, Scientific Data Management: Caring for Your Institution and its Intellectual Wealth. Johns Hopkins University, Purdue University Libraries, an Jisc Collections are NISO members.

The Next Frontier: Federal Librarians and Data
Information Today, 32 (1), Jan./Feb. 2015; by Richard Huffine

"The challenges and opportunities of managing data are impacting librarians in the U.S. federal government. In all kinds of government agencies, librarians are taking on roles that support both researchers within their agencies and public users of the data that the agencies create. The U.S. federal government has been preparing for these new roles. In 2011, the Library of Congress' Federal Library and Information Center Committee (FLICC) released an updated document on competencies for federal librarians that addresses data.…In February 2013, the Obama administration issued guidance for agencies with large investments in research to develop public access plans for their publications and data. In the fiscal year 2014 federal budget, Congress put similar requirements in place for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Education. In March 2014, the administration reported progress within 23 agencies on drafting those plans. Throughout this process, librarians in several of those agencies have been involved to ensure the plans will meet the needs of their users." This article provides "a few examples of how librarians across the federal government are engaged in data management within their agencies and departments." (Read the full story)

NISO Note: Attend NISO's February 26 Training Thursday for a step-by-step session on Crafting a Scientific Data Management Plan. Library of Congress is a NISO voting member.

A Framework Supporting the Shift from Traditional Digital Publications to Enhanced Publications
D-Lib Magazine, January/February 2015, 21 (1/2); by Alessia Bardi and Paolo Manghi

"Enhanced publications (EPs) can be generally conceived as digital publications "enriched with" or "linking to" related research results, such as research data, workflows, software, and possibly connections among them. Enhanced Publication Information Systems (EPISs) are information systems devised for the management of EPs in specific application domains. Currently, no framework supporting the realization of EPISs is known, and EPIs are typically realized "from scratch" by integrating general-purpose technologies (e.g. relational databases, file stores, triple stores) and Digital Library oriented software (e.g. repositories, cataloguing systems). Such an approach is doomed to entail non-negligible realization and maintenance costs that could be decreased by adopting a more systemic approach. The framework proposed in this work addresses this task by providing EPIS developers with EP management tools that facilitate their efforts by hiding the complexity of the underlying technologies." (Read the full story)

Commentary: Open Access Matters for Researchers
Physics Today, January 2015; by Gordon L. Nelson

"Should you, as a scientist, care about federally mandated free public access to journal articles and data? You should if you value the work of your scientific society. You should if you care about the sustainability and integrity of scholarly communication.…Arguments that government-financed research be made available at no charge within a year are overly simplistic. Clearly, publishing a journal is not free. It requires hardware, software, management of the peer-review process, editorial work, maintenance of the database over decades, and printing the product. The real question is, Who pays?…If costs are not addressed, the continued existence of the system of scholarly communication on which science depends is at risk. A related concern is that free access could have serious consequences for US scientific societies." (Read the full story)

NISO Note: The American Chemical Society is a NISO voting member.

Compliance: The Coming Storm
The Scholarly Kitchen, January 15, 2015; by David Crotty

"The world of scholarly publishing seems to have an affinity for crises and existential threats, and it is likely that the next few years will see us adding a new and complex burden to our anxieties—managing the enormous number of policies and requirements being placed on authors and their papers. This problem is just starting to be recognized, and creates time and effort costs across the spectrum of publishing, including extra work for publishers, librarians, administrators and researchers. Are there ways we can lessen this burden by planning for it in advance?…If all players use commonly available tools like DOIs, ORCID IDs…, and CrossRef's FundRef service for identifying the funding sources behind research, then compliance tracking becomes much more feasible." (Read the full story)

NISO Note: For more on issues related to open access infrastructure including compliance and tools, see the Summer 2014 issue of Information Standards Quarterly. MIT is a NISO Library Standards Alliance member.

Finally, a Breakthrough for Ebooks-Let the Library Deluge Begin!
Online Searcher, 39 (1), January/February 2015; by Nancy K. Herther

"The logjams that have plagued ebook distribution in the past 10 years in the U.S. seem finally to have been broken up, and it looks like this problem will be resolved shortly within the rest of the world. The next phase will involve resolution of ownership/DRM issues, integration and access to the widening range of authors and publishing outlets, and, with PUB3 and other standards in place, a period of artistic and intellectual innovation that will make the very term "ebook" seem passé. However, before we can dream the future, it's worthwhile to look at the incredible progress we've made." (Read the full story)

NISO Note: American Library Association, Penguin Random House, and Bowker (ProQuest) are NISO voting members.

arXiv Hits 1 Million Submissions
Cornell University Library Press Release, January 12, 2015

"It all started with an electronic bulletin board—one computer on one scientist's desk. Now, more than two decades later, arXiv is a driving force in scientific communication. It draws in thousands of researchers every day, operating with a permanent staff and a $1M budget. As an open-access service, it allows scientists—from diverse disciplines encompassing physics, mathematics, statistics, computer science and more—to share research before it's formally published. A million papers have now been uploaded to the repository." (Read the full story)

NISO Note: Cornell University Library is a NISO Library Standards Alliance member.