Open Tenure Archive

Open Access Tenure: What Goes Forth

Posted November 7, 2016 By Abigail Goben

Last week I received notification from my Dean that I passed the final Library vote on my promotion and tenure dossier with the unanimous support from my colleagues. Now, I go to campus.

A friend asked me what exactly those words mean (all English but in that order?). All tenured Library faculty at UIC have read through my papers, my files, letters of recommendation, etc–and have voted on me three times. This was the final vote and now my dossier will be proofread, floofed, and edited a smidgeon more before a committee of tenured faculty members at the UIC Campus level will read it and vote on it. This means faculty from Chemistry, Dentistry, Urban Planning, etc reading, evaluating and voting.

Because there are so many disciplines and as the standards for each discipline wildly vary, I will be evaluated only by my college’s standards–the Library standards. Those go with my packet and someone from another college will do a fine tooth comb reading and make a presentation to the committee, the rest of whom do a lighter reading. So, a  Bioengineering faculty member or a History professor may be finding out a lot about research data management policy and RDM self-education. The tenured Library faculty member who sits on the campus committee cannot speak for or against my case. They can only answer direct questions. I’m told in the past, they had to stand in the hallway during the discussion of the candidate.

I’ve not gone back through all the forms again in the past couple of weeks. I need to–one more time–and to email my long-suffering paperwork person and the Dean’s assistant with any little tweaks. But as promised, I’ve got a public version of my dossier ready for anyone who is interested in reading it.

Goben 6Y Public Dossier

As usual, this isn’t entirely what I turned in. Works in progress have been removed and you’ll need to go through my CV on my About Me page to get to full text of my research.

My statements have been drastically overhauled, so if you’re interested in seeing the biggest changes, look there. My committee participation list is mostly just longer, as is my teaching list.

Countdown to the Board of Trustees vote (which comes after campus vote in February) will continue through the end of July 2017. But things are moving forward and the future looks bright!

Open Access Tenure: Hurdle In Sight…

Posted October 24, 2016 By Abigail Goben

Thursday is the last Library vote on my tenure dossier. It’s my final College vote where my tenured Library colleagues will recommend to my Dean whether or not my package goes forward to campus in January. They’ve been deliberating all fall, so hopefully it will be a fast meeting? I don’t know when exactly I’ll get the results, probably within a week or two.

My external reviewer letters were back in September* and the fall has seen myriad rounds of edits and not a little process frustration squeezed into the usual chaos that is Fall Semester. Teaching, new students, new research, new projects–and proofreading my papers another time, one more time, tweaking a date here when something comes out, moving two more book chapters from the accepted column to the published column.

At the moment I feel very abstracted from the process. My “final” dossier went to the library a week and a half ago and since then I’ve been through a conference, a personal trip, and a B1G Homecoming Weekend (minus the actual football game itself). I know the vote is coming but it still feels far away. That will probably change Thursday morning.

I am putting together my 6Y-Public-Dossier for those who are following along and I’ll have that up for download after I hear about the vote.

In the interim, I’m not writing enough…but what academic ever is?

*I wish I could read those. Could they strip out the names?

Open Access Tenure: View From the Six Month Mark

Posted June 8, 2016 By Abigail Goben

Approximately six months from now my Dean will send off my dossier to campus and I will not have any further opportunity to update my case.

There are still a number of big important dates to face down between now and then and considering how fast the first five months of the year have gone, I don’t expect that the rest of 2016 is going to seem particularly long.

Right now I’m working on the packet for my external reviewers, which will go out around the time I leave to attend ALA Annual in about two weeks.

For that I’m preparing:

  • My research statement– updates from things I’ve done in the past six months and where further research is going. This will be the final version of this statement, unedited after it goes to them so it has to be shiny.
  • My interdisciplinary statement — same thing, only including all the dentistry research, and particularly including the paper that I got pulled into after my 5Y dossier went in. I didn’t even know that project existed and now we’re in revisions and hoping for an acceptance in August/September.
  • PDFs of all everything I’ve published (just have to check the folder where I keep all of those)
  • CV — This will be easiest as I update it regularly. One addition: I don’t put “papers under review” on my vita as it’s an openly readable Google doc and I don’t want a reviewer stumbling across it and unblinding themselves accidentally. Because I cannot send those manuscripts to the reviewers, I will put them here in addition to the other stuff so they can see what’s coming next.

Reviewer letters are due back by September 1. I will never see the feedback nor know who those reviewers are, unless they happen to self-identify to me after the process.

We just got the draft calendar for this year, it won’t be finalized until later in the fall but I have three deadlines before then, so I’m working from that.

Other deadlines:

  1. August 19: Draft of my full dossier goes to Library P&T. They get to tell me to change commas, move clauses, etc. I can agree or not agree to their suggestions.
  2. September 12: The Dean emails my co-authors and asks about my contributions to our papers. Which reminds me, I have another set of co-authors I have to warn about that.
  3. September 16: Second draft of dossier goes to Library P&T. Again more revisions that I can accept or not (I have heard rumors of “Move X from Page Y to Page Z”–two weeks later– “Move X from Page Z to Page Y”… ) 
  4. October 14: Dossier goes to the Library P&T again.
  5. November 2: Final Vote by Library P&T
  6. January 2: The Dean sends my dossier to campus P&T

There’s a little bit of space from 11/2-1/2 where, if anything else is accepted or submitted, I can update that but from what I can tell things should be done minus reading 50 more times for typos.

So that’s the current tenure hurdles, let me know if you have process questions!

I don’t believe the SPARC/ACRL Forum at ALA Annual was recorded this year, but I had several people ask about my presentation so here are my remarks. The slides are available, though they are mostly just images.

Slide Deck


(Slide 1 Intro)

Thank you to Nick for the introduction and it’s exciting to get to wrap up the panel today. I’ve been so inspired by what the other panelists have already described, *of course* we should be talking to students and I can’t wait to get home and see how we can implement this at my institution. I hope you’re excited as well.

As Nick said, I’m a health sciences librarian at the University of Illinois at Chicago and if you’d like to see more about me, my blog is Hedgehog Librarian and you can find me on twitter @hedgielib.

(Slide 2 I’d Like to Change Directions)

I’d like to change directions from what the other panelists have been discussing so far. Up until now we’ve been talking about the library as collaborator or service provider and that’s something that we do a lot. We talk about students or researchers as this “other”, something we hold at arms length or a kind of shiny unicorn. I’d like to look internally at librarains. Many of us here do research and a number of us are early career researchers, whether we’re tenure track or not.

(Slide 3 Me!: An Example)

So, what do I mean when I say I want to talk about librarians as researchers? I’ll give you myself as an example. I’m a tenure-track research librarian at a large public university.  Prior to that I was a children’s librarian. My research umbrella is the impact of early 21st century technology on scholarly communication among librarians. What does that mean? It means I do research about open access, data, and a variety of other things that are impacting us presently. My current work is focused on institutional policies surrounding research data management and research data management self-education for librarians.  I am going into my 5th year of the tenure process, I have two still go, and I am absolutely in a publish-or-perish situation.

(Slide 4 A Personal Open Access Plan)

And then there was a decision I made on February 22, 2012. This was not that long after the NSF had started requiring data management plans and it was in the midst of the Research Works Act and I decided that I would attempt to get tenure publishing my library research only in open access journals.  This is the blog post from that day. I had to do research and publish to keep my job, but I also knew–as a former children’s librarian–exactly what it was like not to have access to the library literature and I decided that wasn’t going to work for me.

(Slide 5 It Helps to Have Support)

Deciding to do this wasn’t something that I really could do without some support and that came from a number of places. Immediately, it came from the library community. After I published my blog post, there were comments on the post and a lot of emails and tweets of support. It was absolutely wonderful to know that my peers throughout the profession were behind me.

I also had support from my institution. My college–the University Library–has an Open Access policy for faculty, as created by and voted in by the faculty. This isn’t university wide, but it does give me something to fall back on internally. And a number of my coworkers are very supportive of what I’m doing. That’s not something that everyone will have in all fields, either support from their profession or their immediate peers.  I am fortunate in that.

Finally, I got support from research colleagues and coauthors. They know about this and they believe in this for the projects that we collaborate on and that’s been a wonderful support as I am working on this over the years.

(Slide 6 We’ve Got Excellent Options)

It also helps that we have a number of excellent journals to publish in.  This is a short list and by no means is comprehensive–it’s what I jotted down when I said “Okay, if I had a new piece that I was thinking about publishing, where would I send it.” These are all well-reputed, peer-reviewed, gold open access journals.

[Journal List: College and Research Libraries; Practical Academic Librarianship; Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication; Journal of the Medical Library Association; Journal of eScience Librarianship; Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults; Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship; Information Technology and Libraries–and, I forgot to include Evidence Based Librarian and Information Practice]

That’s nine places (eight if you take out the YA journal, my research doesn’t fit there) that I’d be perfectly happy to see my work published and these are all good journals. Many of these are sponsored by ALA Divisions and Sections, and I think that’s important as well.  I’ve also included a link to work that Walt Crawford is doing on the open access landscape, that’ll take you to his summary of what library science presently looks like.

(Slide 7 Pros)

Alright, so you know about me and some places to publish, what are the benefits of publishing open access? For starters, it means your work can be found and read by everyone. Almost every researcher I know wants their work to be found, they want to be the one known to be doing research on X and by doing so openly, more people can read and cite their work.

I mentioned my research colleagues before and I can’t stress that enough. My researchers partners are amazing women and I count myself very lucky to have the opportunity to work with them.

And, while this may seem somewhat arbitrary, it can help you pick what opportunities you want to pursue. To be clear, I don’t recommend this as the only mechanism by which you determine what you’re doing, but we all are over-committed and yet constantly want to say yes to three new things. When I’m looking at 2-3 new calls for papers, presentations, etc, one of the ways that I weed out what I’m willing to give my time to is whether or not the work will be openly available. For  me, it’s an important filter and can help me keep a little bit more of my sanity.

(Slide 8 Cons)

I had to think for a while about finding Cons to what I’ve done. Thus far, I haven’t really run into any. One point that was raised was that I don’t get any extra credit either from my library or the University for publishing my work openly. There is a library in Virginia who is doing that, mine isn’t–at least not yet. But that’s not a major concern, they want to see good research published in well-reputed places and I just showed you a list of highly regarded journals. So that’s pretty well taken care of.

The other concern that I hear raised is that of potential librarian research colleagues who don’t want to only publish in an open access venue.  Honestly it hasn’t really been a problem. This is something I’m very open about, obviously, and it’s something that I discuss with people far before we get seriously into a research project. I’m not going to wait until 14 pages into a manuscript to spring this one someone. Also, I’m not requiring it of my co-authors on all of their projects, just on this one that they do with me.

(Slide 9 Promoting as Peers)

So, what can librarians do at their home institutions? We can lead by example. We can publish our work openly and archive that work in our repositories. When we talk to students and researchers who are asking us about this, this gives us the opportunity to discuss it as someone who has gone through it. Everyone is looking for an example and we can be that to them–use me as an example of someone who is on the tenure track if that would be useful to you.  Much of our work is about relationships and when a subject faculty talks to the subject librarian who says “Oh, yes, I’ve already done this” –this idea of it is suddenly less daunting. We can forge the way.

We can also, by dint of experience, advocate for policy on campuses. Whether that be for the students or faculty, we know what needs to be considered and we should be requiring that we have seats at the table where these things are discussed.  And finally, remind them that it will get them more citations/reputation. That’s academic currency and it never hurts.

(Slide 10 Thank You)

Thank you to SPARC and ACRL for inviting me today and again, that’s where you can reach me. I’m happy to answer any questions.






Open Access Tenure: Peer Review +1

Posted January 7, 2015 By Abigail Goben

A couple of years ago we started the data entry process; more than a year ago the writing process; and a couple of weeks ago I heard rumors of pre-prints.

Tuesday, I had my first peer-reviewed article published.

Goben A. Raszewski R. The data life cycle applied to our own data. J Med Libr Assoc. 2015 Jan;103(1):40-4. doi: 10.3163/1536-5050.103.1.008.

And JMLA is a gold open access journal, so everyone can read it.

I have my own PubMed abstract page (that will get the PMC link eventually):  I’m excited to use it as an example for my students.  Yes, the *librarian* shows up in PubMed.

I hope you’ll read it.  The summary is: librarians need hands on experience with data to improve data management skills; librarians have LOTS and LOTS of data lying about, particularly in such things like reference desk metrics; we can use the latter to help us with the former and one learns a whole lot.

Rebecca Raszewski is a pleasure to have as a research partner. And apparently she doesn’t mind me too much, as we’re already working on another project.

One down, more to go…