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Next NII: People and Systems that Support the Distribution of Academic Information


by Ikki Ohmukai, Associate Professor, NII

     Prof. Ohmukai outlined the past activities of Content System Development Office; shared the latest news about CiNii; and showed the future development of CiNii for the launch of SINET5.

     Over the last year, access to CiNii Articles via browser counted for about 200 million and access to Books counted for about 41 million. For the first time, data regarding access via API was collected. CiNii Articles counted for about 280 million (combined number for OpenSearch and RDF), which was larger than accessed via the browser. Books counted for about 17 million, which is expected to grow.

     The major change made in 2013 was the replacement of computers and software. This was done smoothly and without disruption, so the change over was probably invisible to the users. Another change was the introduction of OCR on PDF documents. All PDF documents on CiNii will be replaced with the ones with embedded text soon. Based on the experience of service break-down after the earthquake in March 2011, NII has developed a system to transfer services so that users can continue to use them in case of an emergency (e.g. CiNii Books’s services are set to be transferred to Amazon, as was the case during a power cut in January 2014). Another development was a public consultation conducted at the end of 2013 and the subsequent decision to make NACSIS-CAT open. With clearly defined licence and usage conditions, NII will be able to provide data more openly as public property. The biggest influence to university libraries must be the termination of the ELS service that has been digitalising academic societies’ journals. Although CiNii will keep a search function, existing digitised content will be transferred to other platforms such as J-STAGE in the next two years. GeNii service was terminated at the end of last year, and part of its service is planed to be transferred and continued using CiNii.

     What is the future architecture of CiNii? NII conducted questionnaire surveys to investigate the needs of the users. The most popular need for CiNii Articles was to be able to search for PhD theses and overseas articles. In terms of CiNii Books, being able to search for free EJ was most important. CiNii Articles has only featured Japanese journals and CiNii Books has only featured books owned by Japanese universities because these data were available. However, the questionnaire revealed that users want more than just Japanese resources.

     Based on user feedback, the future of CiNii will realise the following three ‘D’s: Digital first; Dissertation; and Domain Specific. First, NII will reinforce the navigation function of digital information on CiNii Books (i.e. ERDB Project), and plans to include not only location and access information but also licence conditions. In terms of journals, NII will start from the information owned by CiNii and J-STAGE and will include Open Access materials. In terms of Books, NII will start with the information already digitalised, such as the National Diet Library (NDL) Digital Collection and HathiTrust. Second, CiNii Dissertation (tentative) will be created to provide search and navigation functions specific to doctorial theses. In about one-years time, NII will collect the data scattered in different locations (e.g. institutional repositories, NDL Digital Collection, NACSIS-CAT, etc) and put them together to be navigated on CiNii. Finally, NII will provide Domain Specific services that allow the search and navigation of both Japanese and overseas articles within a specific academic field. NII will start this project by creating a prototype, CiNii for Informatics, which focuses on the field of Informatics.

     In addition, NII is currently working on the simplification of the current design and the potential introduction of a new interface that integrates different services in one place. This is planned to be usable on touch screens. Ohmukai acknowledged the importance of not simply collecting log information but analysing and reflecting these data on new services. Although CiNii has focused on literature-based resources, it should include other medium as well in the future. For SINET5, CiNii will need to curate various content and provide services that will facilitate the use of such content. It is not enough in the future for CiNii to simply collect the data that are available, but it must proactively collect content that is required by the academic community.


by Koichi Ojiro, Deputy Director of Cyber Science Infrastructure Development Depertment, NII

     Mr Ojiro outlined JUSTICE’s work in facilitating the use of e-resources; discussed the future of research libraries in relation to the increasing trend of OA journals; and showed what the next JUSTICE can do to continue to support research libraries and the academic community.

     JUSTICE has become a necessary component for the academic information infrastructure. The main role of JUSTICE has been to negotiate the contract conditions of e-resources with publishers on behalf of the academic community. JUSTICE deals with publishers day-to-day, and last year this counted for 94 face-to-face negotiations (i.e. excluding telephone and email communication). It has become one of the largest consortiums in the world with 507 participating institutions (e.g. USA’s Lyrasis has 1290 members and is the world largest, UK’s Jisc Collections has 633 members, and French Couperin has 211 members). JUSTICE’s strength is its large number of members as it brings the economies of scale into the negotiation with publishers. For example, the percentage of JUSTICE-agreed contracts among the total expenditure spent on 15 major e-resource providers counted for 80 % last year. By using JUSTICE-agreed contracts, state universities as a whole saved about 440 million yen on their subscription to Elsevier e-resources compared to the Elsevier’s standard contract (data as of 2011). The usage of the e-journal has steadily increased over the last ten years. Between 2012 and 2013 it saw an increase of 9.3%, which indicates continued growth. The survey revealed that more than 50 % of researchers in pharmacy, chemistry, biology, physics, and medicine use e-journals almost everyday; and more than 70% of researchers in humanities use them at least once a month. So, it can be said that e-journals are essential components of research.

     JUSTICE is not merely a Buyers’ Club. Since the launch of JUSTICE, it aimed to become a comprehensive utility for e-resources. JUSTICE is run by three administrative staff members who are transferred from university libraries for a fixed-term. JUSTICE is not only one of the largest, but also the cheapest consortia. The JUSTICE action plan for 2014 includes not only negotiations with publishers but also: 1) the back-filing of e-journals and the expansion of e-collections; 2) the shared use of e-resources management systems; 3) the long-term storage of e-resources and access guarantees; and 4) the training of library staff regarding e-resources. In the presentation, Ojiro particularly focused on the second and fourth points of the action plan. In terms of the e-resource management system, JUSTICE will join NII’s ERDB Prototype Project, which will study the effective employment of usage statistical data. JUSTICE hopes to collect usage statistics data integrally and provide these to member institutions in the future. It aims to create and provide additional services by referring to overseas examples such as Jisc Collections, which provide services such as Knowledge Base+, elcat (Electric Licence Comparison and Analysis Tool), JUSP (Journal Usage Statistics Portal) and PECAN (Pilot for Ensuring Continuity of Access via NESLi2). In terms of library staff training, JUSTICE has been providing training using NII’s internship scheme. Through the experience of the interns, JUSTICE produced a manual for e-resource contracts. He hopes to promote this manual so that it will be used in NII’s e-resource training sessions.

     Ojiro then discussed the changing roles of libraries as a result of the increasing usage of Open Access (OA) journals. The number of OA journals has dramatically increased, and it is projected that half of all published articles will be OA by 2021. The number of articles written by Japanese researchers that are published on OA journals is also increasing. In OA, the author pays a handling fee called APC (Article Processing Charge). The total amount of APC paid to BioMed Central by Japanese researchers counted for 170 million yen in 2012. The increase of OA journals will probably bring changes in libraries’ work. For example, the process of dealing with paper-format journals such as selection, contract, receiving, cataloguing, payment, service, ILL, binding, and preservation may all together cease to exist, and the managing of APC may become the library’s job. This could mean a shift in the library’s role from receiving to sending. Traditionally, the library’s role has been to purchase, receive, and provide resources to users. In an OA model, users contact OA publishers directly and access resources without the library acting as an intermediary. In the future then, the library’s role may be to send out materials produced by the institution to OA journals or repositories.

     Ojiro then pointed out that it is a problem that universities do not grasp the publications on OA journals and payment of APC by their own academics. SPARC Japan Working Group (consisted of Japan Association of National University Libraries, NII and JUSTICE) conducted a survey to investigate the usage of OA journals among Japanese researchers. According to the survey, the merits of OA journals were identified as being free to view and providing a speedy process from submission to publication. The concerns were: a) the quality and evaluation of OA journals and its continuity; and b) high APC price. Based on the survey results, the issues of OA journals are summarised as follows: 1) the quality of academic journals; 2) high APC price (especially, that of Hybrid OA journals); 3) only publishers have data of APC payments; and 4) Double Dipping (i.e. subscription fee for hybrid OA journals does not reflect APC payments). He argued that libraries can deal with these issues by: 1) providing information about high quality OA journals to researchers; 2) negotiating the price of APC; 3) centrally managing the APC payments; and 4) negotiating with publishers to lower subscription fees by reflecting APC payments. Ojiro pointed out that these issues could be addressed effectively using the collective power of JUSTICE. Examples can be seen in Jisc Collection’s institutional contract model agreement with PeerJ and Jisc PAC (i.e. a pilot project to create APC payment and management system).

     Ojiro concluded his presentation by showing how JUSTICE could be improved. He highlighted the collective power of the JUSTICE members (i.e. 500 libraries) and asked for all members to cooperate. To begin with, he called for more library staff to attend JUSTICE’s training. Regional JUSTICE branches could be more effective if they could share work between themselves. Finally, an annual one-week event (JUSTICE Week) could provide opportunities for library professionals to exchange ideas and expertise.