Open Science Framework Webinar

OSF 101 – Get started with the OSF + manage your research workflow!

This webinar is an introduction to using the Open Science Framework (OSF – a free, open source web application built to help researchers manage their workflows. The OSF is part collaboration tool, part version control software, and part data archive. The OSF connects to popular tools researchers already use, like Dropbox, Box, Github and Mendeley, to streamline workflows and increase efficiency.

This webinar will get you up to speed on using the OSF, show helpful tips and tricks, and give you a launching pad for managing your first OSF project!

The OSF is the flagship product of the Center for Open Science, a non-profit technology start-up dedicated to improving the alignment between scientific values and scientific practices. Learn more at and, or email

Date: Thursday, December 8, 2016, 1pm – 2pm

Location: Digital Scholarship Center, Paley Library ground floor.

Changes at the Science & Engineering Library (SEL)

This fall the Science & Engineering Library will become a nearly bookless branch of the Temple University Libraries!

The planned changes will enhance the facility for productivity and innovation – we will remove book shelves and add group study tables, upgrade public computer workstations to better handle the graphics intensive software used especially by engineering students, and will prototype an innovation and light maker space for use by students and faculty, featuring our MakerBot 3D printer.

Table of students studying with books and laptops.

Students studying in SEL, 2014-15.


We will continue to hold course reserve books for engineering and science classes, and will retain a small collection of heavily used books for course support, including some standards and handbooks. We will continue to lend ipads, calculators, GPS units, chemistry modeling kits.

Move of the book collection.  The SEL collection is currently comprised of approximately 10,000 books published in the last 5 years in the fields of biology, chemistry, geology, physics and engineering. These will be moved to Paley Library and integrated into the stacks in stages, as outlined below.

We have purchased access to more online reference books and handbooks in recent years. New this spring is Access Engineering – a collection of McGraw-Hill handbooks. This joins the Knovel online collection of handbooks in the sciences and engineering and other collections of electronic books.

Note that our small collection of approximately 20 current periodicals will also be moved to Paley and made available in the current periodical stacks on Paley’s main floor.​

The move will happen in stages and SEL will remain open–with some restricted areas–throughout the move:

  • Books will be moved from SEL to Paley Library, July 21st-23rd
  • Books will be temporarily shelved in a staging area on the 3rd floor East in Paley Library. They will still be available for use.
  • The Library’s Diamond catalog and signs will note the temporary location for the Science & Engineering Library Stacks collection in Paley.
  • In the Library’s catalog each book will retain the location Science & Engineering Library Stacks until integrated into the Paley Stacks location. Book locations will be updated once daily in the catalog.

New computers.  The Library will upgrade 23 of the workstations located in SEL to increase computing performance. The new machines will better handle the graphics intensive computing done by engineering students.

Two students and a library staff member look at parts in a 3D printer

Engineering students 3D print at the Science & Engineering Library.


Creativity and light fabrication space.    We will also prototype an innovation and light maker space in our former library staff room area that will be available for student or faculty use. This will include a creativity/meeting space with a table, whiteboard, and monitor located next to an area that can be used for light welding and fabrication, featuring our 3D printer.

Audience looking at presentation.

Professor Dennis Silage talks about Raspberry Pis at SEL 2014-15.


Fast Facts about SEL.

  • Location: Room 201, College of Engineering Building, corner of 12th and Norris Streets
  • Number of visits in 2014-15: 213,990
  • % increase in visits (as recorded exit counts) compared to 5 years ago: 50%
  • Number of public computer workstations: 47
  • Logins to public computer workstations in 2014-15: 48,262


Introducing Scopus

Scopus Word highresLogo copy

Temple University has acquired a new subscription to the Scopus database. This database is now accessible to Temple users through our library’s homepage at

Produced by Elsevier, Scopus is the world’s largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature for a wide array of topics. With over 55 million records from over 20,000 journal titles, this database offers users resources across technology, science, engineering, medicine, social sciences, and arts/humanities. Out of these 22,000 titles over 20,000 journals are peer-reviewed. Scopus also includes many new types of features and tools including tracking citations over time with the Citation Overview/Tracker, or analyzing an author’s publishing history with Author Evaluator.

For more information on usage please contact the SEL library and browse Scopus’ video tutorials to learn more about their unique search tools.

Public Access to Research Findings: New Agency Guidelines and Requirements

On February 22, 2013, the Office of Science & Technology Policy issued an Executive Directive on Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research. The memo calls for federal agencies that have over $100 million in annual research and development expenditures to require grantees make research outputs publicly available. Recently, many of these agencies and some others have responded to the OSTP memo by releasing new policies and documents outlining future policies about making research findings available.

There are some beautiful pages describing what each agency says about their requirements from the University of Washington Libraries and Columbia University Libraries, and available documents are listed below. However, many of the new guidelines have much in common:

  • Most agencies cite PubMed Central as a model for depositing publicly accessible versions of articles
  • Almost all of the released documents indicate that agencies will be requiring grant recipients make final versions of their research articles available freely within 12 months of publication
  • Many will require that the underlying data associated with those articles be made publicly available at the time of the article is published or within 12-30 months of the final set’s compilation
  • Most agencies will be, if they are not already, requiring that a data management plan (DMP) be submitted with all grant proposals
  • If you cannot make your publications and/or data available, most agencies will require you to provide an explanation. Examples of excusable noncompliance include personally identifiable information and intellectual property issues
  • Most agencies specify that costs of depositing and sharing data and/or articles can be written into grant proposals
  • Public access requirements for many agencies are already in place while others are planned to be implemented in the coming months or years (depending on the agency)

The following agencies have released documents in response to the OSTM memo:

Additional agencies will be affected by the OSTP memo. Those that have yet to release their plans are:

  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Department of Interior
  • Department of Labor
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
  • Smithsonian Institution

If you have questions about these emerging guidelines and requirements or DMPs in general, contact a librarian at Temple Libraries or get in touch with the Office of the Vice Provost for Research.

An informational session will be held in the Science & Engineering Library on Thursday, May 7 at noon. Please sign up if interested in attending – registration is not required but we’d love an expected head count.

More Resources:
Columbia University Libraries
University of Washington Libraries
Overview of OSTP Responses chart
Information from SPARC
Data Management guidelines from Temple University Libraries

Introducing Embase!


Embase is a biomedical and pharmacological database containing over 28 million records from over 6,000 renowned medical journals; including over 2,600 journals in related fields and over 300,000 conference abstracts. This database, produced by Elsevier, provides in-depth drug and medical device indexing as well as journal articles/studies from around the world spanning 1947 to the present. It is updated daily with new content to support the latest scientific achievements and breakthroughs.

Embase is comprised of content merged from three databases: Embase, the Excerpta Medica database from Elsevier (1974 to present), Embase Classic (Excerpta Medica Abstract Journals backfile) (1947-1973), and Medline, from the U.S. National Library of Medicine (which Includes current Medline (1966 onward) as well as OldMedline (back to 1950)).

Embase is now available for all Temple University users through our website:

For more information or research assistance please contact any SEL librarian.

Altmetrics: Impact past citation counts

“In today’s digitally-transformed higher education landscape, the lines between popular and scholarly influence are blurry at best. More and more, scholarly communication is moving away from the strict sphere of conferences and published literature and into Internet-enabled arenas like blogs, institutional repositories, online interdisciplinary communities, and social media sites.” (Roemer & Borchardt, 2014)

Understanding the impact of your work is more complicated than simply noting how many times your articles have been published. Altmetrics, or “alternative metrics” (or, alternatively, “complementary metrics”), look at more than just citation counts. They look at downloads, views, shares, tweets, and more.

Learn about how altmetrics can help you at the Science & Engineering Library this Friday, November 14 at 3pm. Stacy Konkiel will be presenting Altmetrics 101: How to Make the Most of Supplementary Impact Metrics via Google Hangouts. Register here!

Altmetrics event flyer


Roemer, RC; Borchardt, R. (2014). Keeping Up With…Altmetrics. American Library Association. Retrieved from:

The System Is Down: Could it be space weather?

If you’ve tried to do research using the libraries’ services this week, you may have encountered a few hiccups. The computer labs in the Paley Library lost their network connection for a little while and our EZBorrow system and Summon discovery service weren’t working properly. All these problems have been resolved and we’re all very sorry of the inconvenience these issue caused. It seems odd, though, that they all happened in the span of a week.

I did a little research and found a possible scapegoat for all of the libraries technical problems: space weather. On February 24, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory witnessed a massive solar flare. It had a class of X4.9.

A news report on explains how solar flares are measured thusly:

“Solar flares are measured on a scale of intensity ranging from A, B, M, C to X. The X-strength flares, the level the recent solar activity has been categorized as, are the highest strength.”

The number after the letter also relates to strength. X2 is twice as strong as X, X3 is three times as strong. So the flare on the 24th was 4.9 times stronger than an X-class flare. That’s pretty strong!

Time lapse photo of the recent solar flare

Solar flares are impressive to watch, but they also can cause a chain reaction that results in problems for our communications infrastructures here on Earth. The solar storms affect our ionosphere and magnetosphere which in turn leads to “electromagnetic induction in long electrical wires” and “electromagnetic interference leading to communications disruption.” (Howard, 2014). Our network issues this week could certainly be described as communication disruptions.

Solar activity has caused trouble in the past for communications. In 1998, a solar flare knocked out the functionality of 80% of pagers (Eagleman, 2012), which sound ridiculous but it was real problem for physicians and other professionals at the time. In 1989 Quebec’s power grid went down completely after a huge solar storm erupted. Several other cities in the Northeast had damage to their power grids and radio communications in Russia were failing as well. The largest solar storm recorded was in 1859 and is called the Carrington Super Flare. The Carrington flare didn’t affect any pagers for obvious reasons, but it lit up the night sky across the globe.

So, is the solar flare of February 24 the cause of network problems at Temple University Libraries this week? Maybe. Solar activity could cause these types of problems and, given that it takes a few days for the outbursts to impact us, the timeline makes sense. But I’ll let you come to your own conclusions.

Read more:

Suggested search terms: “solar flares”; “solar storms”; “space weather”; “coronal mass ejections”; Carrington Super Flare; geomagnetic storms

If we must talk about the weather, at least let us talk about space weather.

Science of Therapy Dogs

Bernese Mountain Dog

If you’ve been at Paley Library this week, you may have noticed we have some visiting therapy dogs. The dogs are with Therapy Dogs International and are here to help you relax before and after your final exams.

If you like dogs, you already think this is a great idea, right? But spending time with dogs or other therapy animals has been shown in numerous studies to have physical and mental health benefits for participating humans. A review article by David Marcus summarizes the findings of some of these studies:

The study by Odendall and Meintjes also tested the stress levels of the dogs providing therapy for humans. They showed that the therapy dogs benefit from increases in hormones like endorphin, oxytocin, and dopamine. However, while the experience is a positive social experience for the dogs, it is not a stress reliever for them – it’s a job. While it’s not the most taxing of professions, “sitting or standing quietly, maintaining a high level of obedience and calm instead of engaging in play, and accepting handling from strangers require work and effort by the therapy dog.” (Marcus 2013.) The dogs need breaks now and then while on the job, but they’re happy to have you spend time with them.

You can read more about these studies in the links above or in the following review articles. If you missed the dogs today, you can still relax with others tomorrow and Wednesday!

Further reading:

Photo credit: “Playful Mood” by Takashi Hososhima via Flickr

Open Access “Sting” Reactions

If you say “open access” this month, especially around the science community, you’re likely to get an earful about the recent article in the journal Science that tested the peer-review process of OA journals. The gist of the article is that the author, John Bohannon, wrote an article about poorly done research that jumped to questionable conclusions under a fake name from a fake institution. He sent this article (or variants of it) to hundreds of supposedly peer-reviewed OA  journals that charge author fees. He selected the journals largely based on two sources: a list of probably predatory OA publishers maintained by Jeffrey Beall and the Directory of Open Access Jouranls (DOAJ), which many information professionals consider a moderately good source for determining if an OA journal is up-to-snuff.

There has been a big hullabaloo in response to this article. Many big names in the OA movement cite that there are major problems with Bohannon’s research. Mainly, he had no control group. He only sent his article to OA journals, no subscription journals. This is a real problem. A lack of a control group is grounds to call research lacking, or even crumby (and is one of the reasons Bohannon’s fake article is “poorly done”). After all, what kind of conclusion can you draw about the state of the OA publishing world if there’s no comparison to the subscription world?

There have also been loud voices about the bias Bohannon employed in his selection of which journals he submitted the article to. The way he selected OA journals gave him a higher chance of submitting to the disreputable ones. This is also a problem and a sign of less-than-perfect research. With bias like that, how could he not get the results he got?

So what results did he get?

More than half of the journals that responded accepted the crumby article without suggesting major revisions.

Let’s be real. The results are what caused the hullabaloo and Bohannon’s apparent conclusion that OA journals are sketchy is what caused our hearts to drop. OA advocates, like myself, poured over this article when we saw it. We scoured it looking for the flaws I mentioned above. We wrote blogs and articles pointing them out and calling attention to the down-played findings that some OA journals are as good as we thought.

But we didn’t do it just because we wanted to see better research (although we always do) or because we didn’t believe Bohannon exposed some bad publishers (we’re always on the look out for that ourselves). The real cause for the hullabaloo, for the outcry and panic we felt when we saw this article was that we knew – we KNOW – that the faculty and the researchers we try so hard to convince to publish OA didn’t pour over this article. They didn’t scour it. They read it and wrote OA off yet again. For OA skeptics, this article proved what they always thought. That fact is, at least to me, a major bummer.

But we OA advocates are doing what we do and staying positive. The buzz around the article is already dying down and we’re making some noise now during Open Access Week. We know a few things that the Science article didn’t feel the need to mention and we’ll continue to share with anyone who will listen:

  •  The subscription model isn’t sustainable. We love the work a lot of them do, but we the libraries and we the public simply can’t afford it.
  • Not all OA journals charge author fees. Not all OA journals that do charge author fees are sketchy.
  • Some subscription journals charge author fees. Not all those are sketchy, but some of them are.
  • There are some crumby OA publishers out there. There are crumby subscription ones, too.
  • There are crumby subscription journal publishers, too. Just wanted to reiterate that.
  • There are some amazing OA journals out there! Bohannon’s article shows that the ones we said were trustworthy are. We told you so and we’ll tell you more!

So what should  the take away be from Bohannon’s article? If you ask me, I’d tell you not to assume that OA publishers do not partake in peer-review or that all OA publishers are disreputable. No matter what kind of publication you’re publishing in, make sure it’s a good one. If you’re not sure, ask your librarian. We’ve been making sure you get access to quality journals for years and years. We’re happy to make sure only quality journals get access to you.

For more reactions to the Science article, check out these for starters:

Open access publishing hoax: what Science magazine got wrong from The Guardian
Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) response
Peter Suber’s response on Google+
Science Mag sting of OA journals: is it about Open Access or about peer review? by Jeroen Boasman. He lists many more reactions at the end.



Myths and Facts about Open Acc…ess

There’s a lot of misinformation floating around out there about open access (OA) publications. Here on Day 2 of Open Access Week, it seems like a good opportunity to dispel some of the most persistent myths.

The most common reason authors choose not to publish in OA journals is that they believe OA journals are lower quality than subscription-based journals, with lower impact factors and a lack of peer-review. They think that publishing in OA journals will hurt their chances for tenure, or lessen their professional reputation. The truth is, just as there are poor quality subscription journals, there are some poor quality OA journals. And just as in the subscription journal world, there are a lot of very highly respected OA journals with vigorous peer-review processes and high impact factors.

Another reason some people believe OA journals are lower quality than subscription journals is the idea that OA journals accept lower quality work along-side high caliber research. Again, what’s happening in the OA world is just like the subscription world: what gets accepted varies from journal to journal. One OA journal that gets this reputation of accepting “too much” is the very well respected PLOS ONE. PLOS ONE reviews submissions on the soundness of the science and methods of the research. As an OA journal, PLOS ONE doesn’t need to sell “sexy” titles or results to subscribers, so, unlike most subscription journals, they can publish excellent research on what some might consider less interesting or ground breaking topics.

Works that are freely available to readers are not free for publishers to produce. There is no one, standard way that OA publishers have worked out to cover costs. Some authors don’t want to publish in OA journals because they’ve heard that some move the cost from the readers to the authors. And there are some OA journals that do this, it’s true. However, most OA journals do not charge “author fees,” as they’re commonly known. Many of these fees are paid for by research grants or, in some cases, by the universities or institutions where the research was carried out. It’s also important to note that many subscription journals also charge the authors a fee for publication.

There’s a common belief that charging authors to publish leads to predatory publishers running rampant in the industry. Predatory publishers are those that publish anything submitted and cash in on author fees. These types of publishers exist in both the OA and subscription world, so it’s important to know where you’re publishing. And if you really don’t want to pay a fee, or have your institution or funding agency pay a fee to publish your work, find another quality OA journal that doesn’t charge one; there are plenty out there that don’t.

… & Benefits
Librarians have been aware of how unsustainable the traditional subscription-based model of publishing is and have consequently been early supporters of OA. But we’re advocates for more reasons than just “How’re we gonna pay for this?” By nature, we librarians love sharing information. We know that having and providing access to information leads to greater advancements of knowledge. As a bonus, we know that the researchers we support will be more visable – and, by extension, more influential – by publishing OA.

Copyright & Reuse
Another way that OA is good for authors is that they can reuse and share their work. Many researchers are teaching faculty. Articles published in subscription journals often have restrictions on how they can be used once they’re published. Even if you wrote the article, you might not be authorized to use the material in your courses or in book you may want to write later. While material published OA is copyrighted, you tend to have more freedom with what you can do with a work published OA than one published in a subscription journal. Wherever you publish, make sure to read anything you sign, know your copyrights and, if possible, maintain your author rights.

For more myths and truths on open access, I recommend the links below. Check back for more OA-related blogs from TU Libraries during OA Week 2013.

Also check out the Open Access guide from TU Libraries!