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The Challenges of Today’s Librarians and Researchers in Accessing Scholarly Resources

By Nikki Borgel on Mar 6, 2020

Editor Note: Understanding the importance of this timely topic and to ensure that research is made available to the wider academic community, IGI Global has made a sample of related articles and chapters complimentary to access. View the end of this article to freely access this critical research.

Research is always harder when you cannot find the information you need. With more peer-reviewed, reliable information becoming available every day, it is easy to think that whatever researchers need will always be right where it is needed, but oftentimes, that is not the case. Researchers turn to librarians to keep data and information organized and easily accessible, but more often than not, the system fails researchers and librarians. A recent article from Against the Grain discusses all the ways information disappears and how it is possible to increase overall access for researchers. Librarians at the Caltech library and repository have found a way to improve the system, promising efficiency and better services for the future.

The problem most prominent issue researchers in developing fields and disciplines face is that there is not yet an easy way to separate and standardize the data needed, which in turn, makes it even harder for future scholars to find and build on existing research. When research becomes difficult, scholars may turn to less ethical resources like predatory, vanity, or rogue publishers. Despite all the issues in quality data access, there is hope. By taking steps to simplify the programs and services that organize data and information and by also working to provide an easy platform for researchers to share data and software, improvements have been made and Caltech’s research data repository is a prime example of this progress.

Current efforts to revamp the way this information is managed is supported by the latest research content in these areas, including Building Equitable Access to Knowledge Through Open Access Repositories (IGI Global), authored by Prof. Nikos Koutras, from the University of Antwerp, Belgium. This publication provides emerging research exploring the theoretical and practical aspects of open access publishing practices in the digital age and applications within scientific and academic research. Below, we explore how these new technologies are helping librarians and researchers alike to access invaluable information.

Building Equitable Access to Knowledge Through Open Access Repositories
Authored by Prof. Nikos Koutras (University of Antwerp, Belgium)
Copyright: © 2020 | Pages: 319 | ISBN: 9781799811312 | EISBN: 9781799811336

This publication provides emerging research exploring the theoretical and practical aspects of open access publishing practices in the digital age and applications within scientific and academic research...Learn More.

Easier Access

To some, it is difficult to understand why storing and managing data has become such a hot topic and issue, but according to the chapter “Collaboration Between Researchers and Academic Library: Road to Research Data Country Wide Consortium and Innovation in Library Services” by Prof. Liisi Lembinen, from the University of Tartu, Estonia, from the publication Library Science and Administration: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications edited by the Information Resources Management Association, USA (IGI Global), “a new age of science is evolving - one driven by data for the management of which a variety of technological solutions are used. Data is becoming so large (labeled big data) that regular systems and previously existing technological tools no longer suffice in managing, analyzing, and storing it.”1

Library Science and Administration: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications
Edited by Information Resources Management Association (USA)
Copyright: © 2018 | Pages: 1,735 | ISBN: 9781522539148 | EISBN: 9781522539155

This publication is a comprehensive reference source for the latest scholarly material on trends, techniques, and management of libraries and examines the benefits and challenges of library administration....Learn More.

A key component to Caltech’s improvements has been a push toward FAIR data. This stands for “findable, accessible, interoperable, and reproducible data,” in other words, making it simple and easy to find and use the data you need. To make data FAIR, the process includes assigning metadata, using persistent identifiers, and providing human and machine access, especially to supplementary data and software that accompanies the research. The greatest challenge facing libraries and repositories is keeping access available to for long periods of time and making it easy for researchers to add/include their research. Here, libraries have the advantage for user access and organization, but they have inefficient systems for researchers to customize their standards to meet the discipline standards. Because of this, library repositories often receive a much smaller influx of datasets than would be preferred.

Easier submission systems and forms for researchers, starting with basic metadata that can be added to later, allow for researchers of all abilities, levels, and disciplinary needs to submit faster, and get their research into the hands of those who will benefit from it. The key to success in Caltech’s program has been simplifying the system for everyone involved by complying with FAIR principles to make data, software, and research available for the long term.

The Fight for Open Access

Easy access is key to disseminating important information, and open access only makes it easier. According to Prof. Nikos Koutras, from the University of Antwerp, Belgium, in the chapter “Introduction: The Background of Discussion” from the publication Building Equitable Access to Knowledge Through Open Access Repositories (IGI Global) “OARs are digital document servers with archived information resources that usually operate in the context of higher education or research institutions in which scientific and scholarly information is deposited and made accessible worldwide and free of charge.”2

Free and accessible may sound like the perfect system for everyone involved, but there is a wide variety of reasons making content open access is difficult. Aspects such as copyright laws, licenses and rights, and money all contribute to researchers going against choosing open access and instead publishing traditionally through journals and repositories that have greater barriers to access. Of these things, the legal/copyright side often poses the greatest problem to authors and publishers opting into those services. Other risks going into an open access format include the potential for predatory publishing scams.

While research is always published for others to see, use, and expand upon, open access can open the door to the apprehension of research and data when proper copyright laws are not in place to protect the original creator and their hard work. Researchers and authors are sometimes forced to make the choice between providing the most efficient access to their work and protecting it from others. Many argue that the progression of open access publications is a great opportunity to expand copyright laws to further protect researchers and writers.

The primary goal of the academic community to progress and enhance the overall body of knowledge to keep our society advancing and moving forward. This is best made possible by creating easier systems for librarians, researchers, and scholars alike. FAIR access, open access, and renovated systems change the way we find and interact with data, software, and information, setting more scholars up for success.

The publications featured in this article, Building Equitable Access to Knowledge Through Open Access Repositories,  (ISBN: 9781799811312| EISBN:  9781799811336)written by Prof. Nikos Koutras, from the University of Antwerp, Belgiumand Library Science and Administration: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications (ISBN: 9781522539148 | EISBN: 9781522539155), edited by Information Resources Management Association (USA) are currently available both in print and electronic format through IGI Global’s Online Bookstore at a 20% discount, and are featured in IGI Global’s InfoSci®-Books database (5,300+ e-books). Recommend these publications, the InfoSci-Books database, and the InfoSci-Journals database (185+ e-journals) to your library to have access to this critical research as well as thousands of other research resources, including the chapters and articles below.

Complimentary Research Articles and Chapters on Scholarly Publishing and Ethics:

In response to the timeliness and importance of this topic, we have made all of the below articles and chapters complimentary to access. As such, please feel free to integrate these resources into your research and share them across your network.


Featured Publications Surrounding Scholarly Publishing and Ethics:

Learn More
Recommend to Library
Building Equitable Access to Knowledge Through Open Access Repositories
Prof. Nikos Koutras (University of Antwerp, Belgium)

Copyright: © 2020 | Pages: 319 | ISBN: 9781799811312 | EISBN: 9781799811336

This publication provides emerging research exploring the theoretical and practical aspects of open access publishing practices in the digital age and applications within scientific and academic research. Featuring coverage on a broad range of topics such as copyright protection, social justice, and European Copyright Framework, this book is ideally designed for researchers, scientists, policymakers, librarians, IT specialists, authors, publishers, academicians, and students seeking current research on the advancement of intellectual property rights in today’s technologically driven world.

About the Author: Prof. Nikos Koutras holds a PhD in Political Science from Ionian University and a PhD in Law from Macquarie University. He currently works as a postdoctoral researcher at the Faculty of Law of the University of Antwerp, Belgium. His research interests focus on intellectual property law, copyright law, open access, open science and governance.


Learn More
Recommend to Library
Library Science and Administration: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications
Information Resources Management Association (USA)

Copyright: © 2018 | Pages: 1,735 | ISBN: 9781522539148 | EISBN: 9781522539155

This scholarly publication is a comprehensive reference source for the latest scholarly material on trends, techniques, and management of libraries and examines the benefits and challenges of library administration. Highlighting a range of pertinent topics such as digital libraries, information sciences, and academic libraries, this multi-volume book is ideally designed for academicians, researchers, practitioners, and librarians seeking current research on library science and administration.


Learn More
Recommend to Library
Changing the Scope of Library Instruction in the Digital Age
Prof. Swati Bhattacharyya (University of California – Riverside, USA) and Prof. K Rama Patnaik (Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, India)

Copyright: © 2018 | Pages: 286 | ISBN: 9781522528029 | EISBN: 9781522528036

This scholarly publication provides emerging information on data visualization tools, creating effective instructions, and instructional design in library sciences. While highlighting the challenges of effectively training new and seasoned librarians in these various aspects of data technology and teaching methods, readers will learn the importance of giving librarians the tools they need to complete their new responsibilities. This book is an important resource for entry level and seasoned librarians, researchers, and instructional design specialists seeking current research on up to date library instruction in the modern technology age.


Learn More
Recommend to Library
Advanced Methodologies and Technologies in Library Science, Information Management, and Scholarly Inquiry
Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)

Copyright: © 2019 | Pages: 684 | ISBN: 9781522576594 | EISBN: 9781522576600

This scholarly publication provides emerging information on modern knowledge management and effective means of sharing research through libraries. While highlighting the importance of digital literacy and information resources, readers will also learn new methods in information retrieval and research methods in quality scholarly inquiry. This book is an important resource for librarians, administrators, information science professionals, information technology specialists, students, and researchers seeking current information on the importance of effective library science technology.


Learn More
Recommend to Library
Managing and Adapting Library Information Services for Future Users
Prof. Nkem Ekene Osuigwe (African Library and Information Associations and Institutions, Nigeria)

Copyright: © 2020 | Pages: 284 | ISBN: 9781799811169 | EISBN: 9781799811183

This scholarly publication is a collection of innovative research that encapsulates practices, concepts, ideas, and proposals that would chart pathways for libraries of all types to envision and understand how to thrive and remain relevant in the competitive information provision environment. It is expected to motivate librarians and information scientists to probe further into how libraries would better serve user communities of the 21st century who have options of accessing information from sources other than from libraries. While highlighting topics including artificial intelligence, human design thinking, and alternative finance, this book is ideally designed for librarians, information specialists, architects, data scientists, researchers, community development practitioners, policymakers, faculty members, and students seeking current research on emerging advancements in library optimization.


Learn More
Recommend to Library
Handbook of Research on Digital Content Management and Development in Modern Libraries
Prof. S. Thanuskodi (Alagappa University, India)

Copyright: © 2020 | Pages: 284 | ISBN: 9781799822011 | EISBN: 9781799822028

This scholarly publication is a critical scholarly resource that examines collection management and quality within information services. Featuring a wide range of topics such as e-resources, knowledge management, and consortia, this book is ideal for professionals, academicians, academic librarians, researchers, and students in the fields of library and information science, education, computer science, and information technology. Moreover, the book will provide insights and support executives concerned with the management of expertise, knowledge, information, and organizational development in different types of work communities and environments.


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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of IGI Global.


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1 Lembinen, L. (2018). Collaboration Between Researchers and Academic Library: Road to Research Data Country-Wide Consortium and Innovation in Library Services. In I. Management Association (Ed.), Library Science and Administration: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications (pp. 1294-1311). Hershey, PA: IGI Global. doi:10.4018/978-1-5225-3914-8.ch062

2 Koutras, N. (2020). Introduction: The Background of Discussion. In Building Equitable Access to Knowledge Through Open Access Repositories (pp. 1-42). Hershey, PA: IGI Global. doi:10.4018/978-1-7998-1131-2.ch001

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