Dr. Shu-Hsien Tseng
Dr. Tseng assumed the General Director of National Central Library (NCL) of Taiwan in 2010, and ever since then she has been dedicated to promoting the concept of open access to electronic theses and dissertations. Based on this, NCL has been publishing the “Annual Report on the Study Trends of Research Degrees in Taiwan” since 2013. In 2015, NCL invited 142 universities in Taiwan to start up the “Consortium for National Digital Depository of Theses and Dissertations in Taiwan”; in March 2016, a press conference was held to announce the most influential academic resources based on the statistics of “NDLTD in Taiwan”, which is established by NCL. Under Dr. Tseng’s leadership, “NDLTD in Taiwan” has become one of the most authoritative academic websites, fully collecting 950,000 bibliographies of theses and dissertations in Taiwan since 1945, among which, over 360,000 full texts are open to worldwide users for free download.”
Peter Murray-Rust is well known as a scientist and activist in favour of open (libre) access and open data. In the field of ETDs, he is committed to large and free (libre) dissemination of dissertations, in particular to make them available and exploitable through text and data mining tools. He contributed to the ETD conferences in Uppsala and Pittsburgh, was keynote speaker at the 2014 ETD conference at Leicester and participated in a 2015 conference at Lille on research data in dissertations. He is leader of the ContentMine project
. One part of his recent work deals with applying TDM techniques to ETDs in the field of chemistry and law.
The critical role of e-Theses: award acceptance speech at NDLTD
Posted on July 12, 2016 by pm286
I am honoured by this award; I ‘ll describe the current struggle for ownership of digital scholarly knowledge, emphasize young people and machine-understandable theses and suggest practices.
Early Career Researchers see the digital literature – including theses - as a primary research resource. We’ve set up ContentMine – a non-profit supporting machine reading and analysis of scholarship. There are 10-20,000 journal articles a day – and several hundred theses - so machines are essential. Today we’re announcing 6 ContentMine fellows – all of whom have exciting projects to create new bioscience from the scholarly literature.
But this brave new world is often opposed by the Publisher-Academic complex. Academia feeds knowledge and public money into companies who in return define the scholarly infrastructure and the rules by which Academia has to play.
The key issue is who controls scholarship? Universities? Students? Researchers? Or corporations only answerable to their shareholders? How many universities have been arbitrarily cut off by publishers with the accusation that “their” content is being stolen? Knowledge that should be available to the whole world is being controlled and monitored. Increasingly, universities are acquiescent and even required by publishers to police “compliance”.
Last month one of our fellowship - a graduate student colleague in the Netherlands - was legally mining the literature to detect malpractice – such as unjustifiable statistical procedures. After 30,000 downloads a publisher cut off the University and – without discussion - wrote denouncing him for “stealing” content. They required his research be stopped. The University complied. Then another publisher. And a third. Last month Cambridge was cut off for 3 weeks by one publisher. No explanation. No dialogue.
Europe is trying to reform copyright to support research. I am working with them, but there’s massive lobbying by publishers. They want to control and monitor everything. Textual content, repositories for data, metadata, metrics for academic glory.
Machine-understandable e-theses represent one of the remaining areas not controlled by publishers. They are a new opportunity for universities and a knowledge resource for everyone – citizens as well as academics. They report billions of dollars of research, and are often the only place where it’s published. To maximize the spread of knowledge – which young people are passionate about – some suggestions.
- Be proud of theses.
- Think of “use” rather than “deposit”
- Make theses globally discoverable.
- Involve citizens everywhere. Think of the Global South.
- Don’t repeat the mistakes of the “West”. Do it differently.
- Release immediately.
- Use DOCX, Tex, CSV, SVG, XHTML, besides PDF.
- Use versioned text and data GIT, DAT …
- Use openly controlled international repositories.
- Use permissive licences allowing mining and re-use.
- Do not hand over rights for content, discovery or access.
- Don’t buy systems - Encourage young people to build them.
- Experiment with Open Notebook Science.
- Encourage and use e-theses as a primary tool for research.
- Use Wikipedia / Wikidata as the default metadata for scholarship.
And a warning: Unless libraries take this type of opportunity now they will be increasingly replaced by commercial services and disappear. E-theses and young people are your chance.
Monique Joly is head of the library of INSA Lyon, one of the top ranking engineering schools in Europe. From 1999 on, she initiated the first ETD repository in France, CITHER
, and contributed to the standardization of ETD metadata (format TEF) and the development of the national ETD infrastructure STAR. She has always been committed to open access ETDs, open science and is today one of the opinion leaders for the application of TDM to research publications.
Monique's acceptance statement follows:
- First: I was interested by digital innovations in the late 1980s and with through the involvement of many librarians around me. So I'm not truly «special»: the circumstances made things happen, and we started digital diffusion of thesis at this time.
- Second: We learned a lot with NDLTD network and we have been inspired by many Virginia Tech guides and by the ETD metadata scheme.
- Third: After that, we discovered the power of search engines and the tremendous developement of notoriety for our institution, for researchers and for their research works.
- Fourth: Very quickly, we worked in a french network for adapting to the french situation the ETD metadata scheme; now, this metadata scheme is known as TEF (Thèses électroniques françaises) and digital legal deposit is generalized with the efforts of the French Research ministry, ABES (as said in their NDLTD conference) and with all research french institutions.
- Fifth: By now, we have just partially opened the treasure box : all the new digital services are in front of us, with different possibilities offered such as the identifier of author, DOI identifier, preservation and sharing of research data. All of these services could be for the best or the worst. The worst, really if they are invested of goals like tracking personal data or the privatization of scientific knowledge and the best if it is for scientific exchange.
- Sixth: My hope would be now to get an open social network, with guarantee of sharing, opening, and preservation and with private spaces really controlled by users.
- Seventh: A dreaming world, of course, but I am sure that our objective is to dream; all of actions like training, sharing good ideas and research results, and so on, are solid foundation for future.
I hope you have nice NLTD conferences. Long life to NDLTD network.