A colleague of mine recently ran into the surprise of just how much it costs to have a scholarly article published under an open access license and very much did not want to pay the hefty Article Processing Charge and ended up looking for different avenues in which to make their article openly available for folks who wanted to read it. Later in the comments of that post, the LIS Scholarship Archive was mentioned as a possible pre-print repository that could be utilized, something I had not yet heard of. This conversation got me started thinking about just how useful it is for me to be linking to articles or presentations I do here, in terms of utility to the wider field; good for my CV but probably not a whole lot of folks out there swinging by this website to check for what I’ve been doing lately.
I certainly like the idea of contributing to the profession as a whole and maybe giving somebody an idea to build on the work that I’ve done in a meaningful way, to create better things than I’ve been able to. So I started exploring the LIS Scholarship Archive (LISSA) and discovered that it looked like a pretty straightforward way to get involved with distributing my work more widely.
When looking to sign up for an account, one of the options is to use a login from your ORCID account (Open Researcher and Contributor Identifier), which was something I had seen in the email signatures of primarily academic librarian colleagues, and vaguely new about, so I thought I’d check that out first.
An ORCID iD is a user account that can act as a professional social media profile, allowing you to include information on your education, your professional experience, your organizational memberships and more, as well as a link to connect your unique iD with works that you’ve published via the work’s Digital Object Identifier (DOI), a means of persistently identifying a digital object on the web. Thus your ORCID iD, and it’s associated landing page, can become a central point of reference for who you are as a professional and what intellectual content you’ve put out into the world. They even give you a little embed-able HTML that you can put on a personal landing page (as can be seen on the homepage of this site) or your email signature which looks like this:
Clicking on that you’ll see my employment, education, organizational memberships, and the four things I’ve added to the next piece of the puzzle, the LIS Scholarship Archive (LISSA). LISSA is a pre-print repository using the Open Science Framework (OSF) software platform that was developed to allow easier sharing of scholarly research. OSF is used as the platform on which all sorts of different types of subject specific repositories are built, and in this case there is one such version supporting the LIS world in LISSA. The version of the OSF software they are using is the pre-print repository, which typically means that you would be seeing versions of articles before they have been edited and laid out by a journal staff to make them more attractive to a reader but it’s not just articles that can be submitted.
So far I’ve contributed one article that I had published in the non-peer-reviewed Ohio Archivist, the official publication of the Society of Ohio Archivists, two posters that I’ve presented at the 2019 and 2020 Society of Ohio Archivists Annual Meeting, and a presentation at the “Community Engagement @ Your Library” conference. None of these things were research papers or anything, nothing super involved, just attempting to share some workflows and projects that I’ve been engaged with related to street photography, digital libraries, and community driven collecting.
LISSA will automatically approve your submission on a conditional basis that will then be reviewed by those individuals maintaining the repository. If they find something that violates their terms, there is the possibility that the material will be revoked. I’m very happy to say that hasn’t happened for me, and typically within a week or two you can get a pleasing green banner added to your submission that says the work is good to go and officially accepted.
This all seemed like something I should do from a philosophical perspective, that is, I didn’t really expect that folks would really be seeing the works that I added to LISSA and that they ultimately would just be lost in the churn, not dissimilar to what I expect from these blog posts incidentally. Since I added the materials in the last month or so, the four items have been downloaded a total of 93 times, a totally unexpected outcome that has been delightful to see. It’s a really nice feeling thinking that you are contributing in some tiny way to the larger body of work that we do as information professionals.
If you have any interest in trying to be more richly involved with the larger LIS research and publishing community, and would like more of an audience for those works that you are creating, I would highly recommend getting yourself an ORCID iD and finding a repository such as LISSA to deposit all that hard work into, it’s been a great experience for me thus far.