Note: This last week has been *highly* entertaining as I’ve been watching reactions and interactions surrounding a new proposal for sharing of clinical trial data.  I’ve sent this as a briefing around interested parties at my library and thought it might be useful if you’re trying to find the thread. My goal is to hit some of the major highlights. If there’s a particularly salient response I’m missing, please let me know! (As far as I know, all of these articles are available openly.)


Last week the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors proposed new rules on data sharing for clinical trials. The statement that first caught my eye was a proposal for patient-level de-identified data to be shared within 6 months post-publication. There’s much more to it, of course, but that one was particularly of interest.

Full Text from Annals of Internal Medicine:

“Sharing Clinical Trial Data: A Proposal From the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors”

This, rather promptly sparked a response from the EIC and an AE of NEJM which includes a description of those who reuse data as “research parasites”

As you can imagine, the editorial got a lot of attention– a couple of interesting blog posts on that front:

Which then meant by Monday there was a further editorial from the EIC at NEJM that sort of clarifies but also is broadsweepingly negative about data scientists

Again, there was response:

And on a more public side, this piece in NPR:


Now then, to start sorting what infrastructure and policy we’re going to need to meet these new requirements… get your comment in to ICMJE by April!

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Midwinter in Boston…

Posted January 3, 2016 By Abigail Goben

I’ve started seeing the panic of everyone realizing that while they are starting to wind back up after the holidays and the new year that suddenly Midwinter, oddly early this year, is upon us.

Count me in for the slightly panicked group. While it looks like we won’t have the crazy snow of last year, with it’s many cancelled flights and hours upon hours of snow shoveling, these’s still weather to worry about and the joy of flying between Chicago and Boston in January.

I’m flying in on Thursday and out on Tuesday.  Major foci this year are being Madame Chairwoman for LITA Education (committee meeting, all chairs, and presenting to the Board again); ACRL RDM Roadshow (we have our “official” kick off on Friday); talking to RefWorks (I’m being sent to ask questions–that should be entertaining).

And of course I’ll be at LITA Happy Hour on Sunday. It’s always an excellent time. You should come too.

LITA Happy Hour
6:00-8:00pm, MIJA Cantina & Tequila Bar, Quincy Market, 1 Faneuil Hall Marketplace

I still have to figure out what knitting I am taking, I am planning for a minimum of three projects. One large one for hotel and plane knitting (and endless airport knitting if the weather doesn’t cooperate on one end or the other) and two small ones for going between meetings and balancing a snack or beverage.  I have endless faith in my ability to knit three times my usual capacity while I’m traveling.

Safe travels to those of you also headed towards Boston, I’ll look forward to seeing you there!




Into a New Year: Writing and Speaking

Posted January 2, 2016 By Abigail Goben

Happy 2016! I hope you’ve made it through the first couple of days of the fresh calendar without too much stress and with health or looking forward towards it.

There were a fair amount of aspects to 2015 that I won’t be sorry to have left behind, but there were a number of accomplishments I’m especially proud of and several new things coming in the next few months that I’m looking forward to.

Last year, I wrote a lot…

  • Goben A, Raszewski R. The Data Lifecycle Applied to Our Own Data. J Med Libr Assoc. 2015 Jan;103(1):40-4. doi:
    • It started off with Rebecca and I finally getting this paper out of the door. We learned a lot about data management and observed, with some horror, the state of our internal data processes.
  • Briney K, Goben A, Zilinski L. Do You Have an Institutional Data Policy? A Review of the Current Landscape of Library Data Services and Institutional Data Policies. J Schol Comm Lib. 2015 Sep;3(2):eP1232. doi:
    • I am so proud of the first paper from this collaboration. Kristin and Lisa have been fantastic research partners and we’ve already hit 850 downloads of the paper!
  • Goben A, Raszewski R. Policies and Background Literature for Self-Education on Research Data Management: An Annotated Bibliography. ISTL. 2015;82(Fall 2015). doi:
  • Goben A, Raszewski R. Research Data Management Self-Education for Librarians: A Webliography. ISTL. 2015;82(Fall 2015). doi:
    • Rebecca and I spent quite a few hours getting these pulled together and produced.  We hope all the self-educators out there will find them a useful starting point!

And I spoke a couple of times–on my research with Lisa and Kristin at RDAP and IASSIST, and by invitation at the SPARC/ACRL Forum at ALA 2014 about Open Access for early career researchers (and making sure that librarians include themselves in that category). Late in the year Rebecca and I did a webinar for the National Network of the Library of Medicine on Self-Education.

Upcoming writing:

  • Rebecca and I wrote another book chapter on Self-Education in RDM for librarians. We’re waiting on edits.
  • Lisa, Kristin, and I wrote two books chapters–one on services beyond DMP reading and one on how policies affect data curation practice. More waiting on edits.
  • A new research partner, Alison, and I are most of the way through a paper! Really need to get that finished.
  • Lisa, Kristin, and I are hard at work on Paper 2
  • All the other research projects and papers that keep popping up in my head at 3 a.m.

Upcoming presentations and such

And I realize that’s just one category. I have more thoughts about LITA and starting to wind down as Madame Chairwoman and my new dept head starts Monday and I have a bazillion other things going on at work as soon as I get back…

It’s going to be a busy year!



I’ll be in Meetings

Posted December 15, 2015 By Abigail Goben

A coworker and I were chatting about attending ALA Annual recently and his description of the last one he attended (Vegas, 2014) caught me off guard.  He talked about going to presentations and getting to see Stan Lee. I thought about Vegas and could only remember walking through casinos trying to find meeting rooms.

I tried to remember when last my ALA attendance didn’t feel like nothing but mandatory meetings, spliced with cramming in some f2f time with a handful of peers I don’t get to see elsewhere and who I won’t see again for a year.

For several years I’ve described ALA Annual and Midwinter as working conferences. These are not conferences where I go to recharge and learn — that’s RDAP or Midwest Data Librarians, etc. ALA Conferences are spent leading or attending or planning meetings, coordinating with other chairs or board or staff, attempting to sort out current barriers, and some focused division networking.  And I’m by no means alone. The LITA Board has at least 6 more hours of meetings than I usually attend–often also coming in another day early. I had to attend both board meetings once but not for the full 3 hours each. I know the LITA President (& VP & Past-Pres) have significantly more. And those on ALA Council seem to lose very large chunks of time.

Last summer, in San Francisco, I realized at the end of the conference that I’d never managed to set foot in the exhibit hall.  This was partially driven by a gubernatorial executive order that makes picking up a pencil or post it notes forbidden* and also partially due to the odd layout that meant all of my meetings were in the West building–which was a block away. But it speaks to the single-minded devotion asked of volunteers and further to the potential burnout we are engendering.

I was doing rough math just now and if you figure that ALA has ~24 hours of meeting time Sat-Mon mostly 9-5– being a chair means committing to 33-50% of your available time to just LITA meetings. This seriously limits the number of sessions I can even consider attending and that comes before scheduling time for lunch, unexpected or serendipitous meetings, final preparations or winding down from meetings, or hiding by myself to recuperate for a few minutes.**

I’ve considered a run for LITA Board.*** Having been chair of two committees now, I’m interested in shifting focus to the larger issues and furthering the work of the division. But one deterrent is the knowledge that I’d be facing another 3 years of biannual meetings where my entire purpose would be to attend working meetings. After 5 years of that already (with a couple of skipped Midwinters in there), that’s a particular issue for me. In the immediate moment, I’m put off by the prospect of committing that much time, effort, and my own money towards it. And I am one of the fortunate ones: currently I get some money each year I can put towards attendance and travel costs and I’m not required to take vacation time to attend.

Thinking about this makes me even more grateful for the people who are doing it–my Board, my VP, my President and past Presidents, and those who will run next spring and have done this work in the past but also makes me frustrated.

I appreciate the opportunities I’ve had to be a Chair and the work I’ve gotten to do. There are incredibly dear friends and fantastic colleagues that I have become closer to as we’ve worked towards our collective goal of improving our division and the professional lives of our peers. And I anticipate that in a couple of years, my interest may swing around again and the idea of all of those meetings will not be as daunting as it is today.

But I find that I’d like to share my volunteering around a little more in the near future. I would like to give my time to maybe something for knitting, something in my community, etc.  Dentistry keeps trying to get me further engaged with ADEA.

And I’d like to go more ALA sessions to see what people are doing and come away recharged and having gotten to meet more new colleagues in addition to strengthening relationships with annual/bi-annual see-you-at-the-next-conference colleagues.

The Chair hat transitions in 7 more months and then we shall see.  In the interim, I’m putting together my Midwinter calendar.



**And a minimum of 1-2 hours trying to acquire sufficient quantities of caffeine

***Candidates are selected by the LITA Nominating Committee and they contact and invite potential candidates but I don’t think I remember anything from my year that said we could take self-nominations for consideration. It doesn’t guarantee you a slot on the ballet but expressing interest doesn’t hurt.


Open Access Tenure: Out of My Hands Briefly

Posted November 30, 2015 By Abigail Goben

And with a link to a Box folder, the dossier is turned in once more. I have no more deadlines to meet for my 5Y year and that feels a little odd. Very nice–absolutely–but odd.

I’ve again made most of my dossier public, if you’d like to read or review any of it.

What is included:

  • my CV (always public, see the link to the live version on my About Me page)
  • a list of annotated publications and their impact (note the Altmetrics!)
  • my statements
  • my librarianship accomplishments (the things that comprise my day job)
  • the campus forms (teaching evals, lists of committees, etc)

What isn’t there:

  • a folder of PDFs of all of my published work. It’s all open, save one book chapter, but the committee requests PDFs of everything so each committee member need not go chasing it down.
  • research in draft– I’ve got some book chapters sitting with editors and a couple of papers underway. Anything submitted, P&T got a PDF, anything underway they got a one page summary.
  • anything written by anyone else. We don’t have/recruit external letters of support, so I don’t have those. My peer teaching evaluation and my evaluation of librarianship are written by colleagues here and while I have a copy, it is strongly preferred that I don’t post those externally.

So now you’re done, right?  If I had a dollar for each time on this question, my student loan balance would be a lot lower.

Not yet, though I am at something of a brief pause.  On January 28, the University Library Promotion and Tenure Committee will vote on my dossier. I’ll meet with my Dean a few weeks after that (calendar tetris, woohoo!) to discuss the outcome of the vote. That vote is the faculty’s confidence in whether I should be submitted for external review.**

Then my Paperwork person will spend the rest of spring with me fluffing things, sending out any more papers I can get finished and accepted, and the Library trying to identify who they’d like as my external reviewers–who will then have the summer to read my research and comment on it.  AFAIK, they get that folder of PDFs, my CV, and my research statement. Nothing else.

The letters come back in the fall and then on November 4 is the final internal vote (4 internal votes altogether). It’s the 5.5 vote, if you will, and is the last make or break before sending my dossier to campus. Then some further formatting etc etc etc and somewhere around the first of January 2017 my dean will send my dossier to campus for a vote by the University Promotion and Tenure Committee in February 2017.

Head spinning yet? Me too.

But today, it’s out of my hands. I might get a question or two from the committee but I don’t need to wallow over anything for a few weeks, just forward any particularly interesting updates to my paperwork person as she prepares to present my case. Now I just get to focus on writing the two papers I’ve been neglecting and a to-do list that keeps threatening to drown me.


**If I fail that or any other votes, I’ll get a one year terminal contract starting with the next academic year (Aug 2016 or 2017) and I’ll be actively job hunting.