A Software Named ‘R’

While many researchers rely on SPSS or SAS to handle their statistical data, many users are starting to migrate to R software. Unlike SPSS and SAS, which are propriety and costly to buy, R is a free, open source software that may be used for computing statistics while conducting research. Besides the cost, there are many advantages to R. It works with Windows, Macintosh, UNIX, and Linux platforms. It runs wide variety of functions, from basic to advanced; functions such as data manipulation, graphics, and statistical modeling are available. Because the software is open sourced, many developers have written and distributed add-on packages at no cost to the user, in order to improve functionality.

While there are many advantages to R software, it is not without its downsides. Traditional software packages, like SPSS and SAS, have a very comprehensive user interface and are easy to use. For example, SPSS interface looks very much like an excel spreadsheet, with which most people are familiar and using. In contrast, R has a large learning curve and can be less user friendly. It relies more on programming and coding knowledge, with which many researchers do not have experience. However, there are sources online to help researchers learn the programming fundamentals that are required to use R. Another area where R lacks is in technical support. Both SPSS and SAS are commercial products and have customer/technical support available to users. Since R is open sourced software, there is no official support. However, a large community of R users can help one another troubleshoot problems and offer peer support to one another. If users are not comfortable with peer support, there are third party groups that provide support for R and respond to problems rather quickly.

R software can be downloaded and installed at https://cran.r-project.org

A session about R will be offered at the SHS Faculty Research Retreat on February 12, 1:30-2:30 PM.

Additional resources

This post was contributed by Annette Carr, Chief Librarian, Bay Shore and was originally published in ‘Significant Results: The Research Newsletter of the School of Health Sciences’ Volume 1, Issue 1. It is reprinted here with permission.

An Exciting Opportunity to Publish Your Research!

It’s Monday morning, and, as you check your email over a cup of coffee, you notice a new message:

From: mdawson@gmail.com
Subject: An Exciting Opportunity to Publish your Research! 

Dear Dr. Smith,

I want to congratulate you on all your many accomplishments in your field of research and expertise. I am writing this e-mail with reference to your article published in the field of medicine. Specifically, I have had an opportunity to read your paper: Diabetes and Renal Malignancy in Adults, which was published in The Annals of Medical Case Reports, Volume 10 Issue 3. 

I know you are an expert in this field, so it is my honor and privilege to invite you to submit a manuscript to our new journal, The Open Annals of Medical Case Reports. This Open Access journal has a distinguished editorial board with extensive academic qualifications, is double blinded peer-reviewed, and is indexed in EBSCOhost, Ulrich, Informed Librarian Online, DOAJ, ISI, Google Scholar, CrossRef, OAK, and similar indexes. Volume 1, Issue 1 needs only two more articles to publish, so I am pleased to offer you a 30% discount on our APC! If perhaps you do not have a manuscript at this time, we request you to suggest your colleagues to submit.

Please let me know about this exciting opportunity as soon as you can!

Thank you!

Mike Dawson
Editorial Coordinator
The Annals of Medical Case Reports

Have you received an email like this in the past? Perhaps your first thought was, ‘Finally a good place to get my work published!’ Or, maybe you saw a 30% discount and the bargain shopper in you got excited. Maybe, instead you were suspicious: you’ve never heard of this person or this journal. But it’s new, so that explains it. Wait, is it really their “honor and privilege” and why are they congratulating me? Something is off. 

The email above is, in fact, fake. We made it up based on samples of messages sent from predatory publishers. The term “predatory publisher” was coined in 2010 by librarian Jeffrey Beall and continues to be used to describe amateurish or fraudulent organizations that intentionally deceive scholars into paying for their works to be published without the value-added services and support that reputable organizations offer, like peer-review, copy-editing, and indexing. Like most social engineering schemes, these predatory publishers use flattery and deceptive tactics to get your money, your research — or both! Similar schemes include invitations to become an editor or attend a conference, where your name and reputation might be used to lure other authors.

Don’t fall into the trap!

Photo by Skitterphoto

We recently received several inquiries from faculty regarding a few questionable publishers’ solicitations. We did some detective work to help make sure that our researchers publish with trusted and credible organizations. Here are some of the ‘red flags’ we check for each time we receive a request from your colleagues to evaluate a journal or publisher:

  • Publisher’s direct marketing, or spamming your email, asking you to share 
  • APC fee is not mentioned anywhere 
  • The promise of unusually and virtually impossible short submission-to-publication times (2 or 3 days!)
  • No clear guideline for author’s submission
  • Information on copyright and Creative Commons licenses is absent or unclear
  • Non-functional contact information, such as email and social media platforms
  • The contact address is residential or represents another business; try a search on Google to check for this
  • The names of lead authors or editors are repeated in other journals from the same publisher 
  • Editors are not known as experts in the field
  • The scope of journal is vague or too vast
  • Indexing claims use incorrect jargon

This is not a comprehensive list, so remember: when in doubt, contact your librarian! Suspicious emails should also be reported to Touro IT, especially ones with links and requests for personal information.

Additional library resources

  • Think, Check, Submit! Choose a trustworthy journal for your research. 
  • Rubric for Journal Evaluation
  • Research & Scholarship Library Guide 
  • Ulrichsweb: A global serials directory useful for researching if a journal is refereed/peer-reviewed

This post was contributed by Sara Tabaei and Timothy Valente, Midtown Library

Introducing UlrichsWeb: A Periodicals Directory

An authoritative source with over 300,000 periodicals, including scholarly, peer-reviewed, open access, popular magazines, and newspapers in over 900 subject areas, UlrichsWeb has numerous features to guide faculty and graduate students as they decide where to publish, judge the quality and legitimacy of publications, and assess how widely an article might be disseminated in any particular publication.

Ulrich’s platform is searchable and browsable by title, subject, keywords, and more. If you are exploring potential journal titles in which to publish your work, you can jump-start your query with its simple search box, or, if you want to search like a pro, try out the Advanced Search options, where you can limit your search by type of publication, subject area, and key features, such as whether it is peer-reviewed, open access, abstracted, or indexed, or has one of many other attributes.

Since this directory is integrated into the Touro Libraries databases, you can easily discover what journals are available via the Libraries by clicking on the green logo for the 360 e-Journal Portal on the right side of the page. If the journal is available in full-text, you can browse through previously published articles to get a better sense of what kind of publications the journal is looking for.

Ulrich’s provides indexing and abstracting information (you can select this limiter in the advanced search) for a publication with several benefits:

  1. If you want your published work to be visible and retrievable, it is important to know if the journal of your choice is indexed in databases or resources where it can be retrieved by other researchers, practitioners, and scholars. In other words, the indexing information for a journal can be a measurement of your article’s future exposure.
  2. The more databases in which the article appears, the more potential impact any given article may have.
  3. The indexing and abstracting information can also help in identifying journals that are more established and recognized in your field. Predatory journals will automatically be forced out of the game, since they are mostly not indexed in prestigious databases — though some have sneaked their way in, so we have to be always on the alert. See more information on how to avoid predatory publishers in our Research and Scholarship LibGuide.

In addition to the advanced search, you can also narrow your search by checking the options in the left pane. On the results page, you can view the details of a journal title, save or download your list of searches or email them to yourself (note: you need to open an individual account to save your lists for a later date).

If you click on “Change Columns,” you can customize some of the information depending on what you are looking for. Personally, I would add “Frequency” to my search column, since it gives me an idea about how long it might take to get published.

Finally, a small but important space is dedicated to a review or description of a journal’s purpose and its intended audience. This summary helps to quickly determine if your research topic aligns with the scope and content of the journal. On the results page, you can also directly access the publisher’s website with more detailed information on the journal, its submission guidelines, and more.

UlrichsWeb is accessible via the Touro Libraries Databases after you log in with your TouroOne credentials. Please email Sara Tabaei with any questions about UlrichsWeb or to schedule a walk-through of the database over Zoom.

Fun fact: Ulrich’s was originally published as a book in 1932 by Carolyn Farquhar Ulrich, the Head of Periodicals at the New York Public Library. Librarians rock!

This post was contributed by Sara Tabaei, Library Information Literacy Director

What’s new in instructional support for fall 2020?

Welcome to the fall 2020 semester! Although this semester might look different than other semesters in the past, the support that the Touro College Libraries can provide hasn’t wavered. We are excited to assist students and faculty with their learning, teaching, and research, and we invite you to contact a librarian to learn more about any of the resources listed below.

a sketch of a square figure drawing a lightbulb on an easel
Image by Manfred Steger from Pixabay

Do you have readings you’d like to make available to your students online?

Sharing in Canvas: If you are sharing a journal article or book chapter from outside of the Touro College Libraries databases with your class this semester, you may need to get copyright clearance to include the material in your Canvas course. This applies to electronic and scanned materials. The Libraries are available to assist you with determining whether you need to secure copyright clearance, and, if you do, with requesting permission to share. Please contact Marina Zilberman for more information.

eBooks and Databases: If you’re looking for easily accessible and low-cost materials for your classes, our eBook collections and electronic databases are a great resource. In Canvas, you can link directly to most books and articles.

Open Educational Resources: You can use many free resources in your class, including high-quality, peer-reviewed textbooks with instructor materials. Tell us which commercial textbook you would like to replace, and we will show you what’s available for your discipline. Contact georgia.westbrook@touro.edu for more about OER.

Do you want to use documentaries and educational films to support your instruction?

Streaming videos: For increased convenience and access by students outside of class, the Libraries offer a growing collection of online streaming videos, including Education in Video, Films on Demand, Kanopy and more. Most titles are also discoverable by searching in the library catalog by “Location: TC E-Videos.”

Are you teaching an online course?

Ask a Librarian: Students have ready access to assistance with research and library resources via chat, email or phone with our Ask A Librarian service.

Embedded librarians: This program matches you with a dedicated librarian to provide customized library instruction for your students. Learn more by contacting Sara Tabaei, Library Information Literacy Director.

Remote orientations: All of our library instruction classes can be held via Zoom video conferences, accessible by students from home, or can be shared as a recorded video for students to watch outside of class time.

Do your students have trouble finding the kinds of information you want them to use in their papers and projects?

Instruction: We offer both general library orientations and specialized research classes, customized to prepare students for the particular assignments in your course. Contact your campus library for information or to schedule a session.

LibGuides: These research guides are organized by subject to bring together the best resources for each topic. Additional guides are available on research skills and library services and we are happy to create one for your course upon request.

Do your students have trouble with writing and/or citing sources correctly?

Citing Sources guide: This guide includes presentations, videos, and quizzes to help you discuss academic integrity with your students. Additionally, you’ll find tools to assist with creating citations and detailed information on a variety of citation styles.

RefWorks: Refworks is a citation and research manager available to students and faculty with their @touro.edu email address. Import, organize and cite your research with this online tool. Training is available upon request.

College Writing guide: Our College Writing guide compiles the most helpful resources for composition, revision, and editing in academic writing.


We’re here to help with all of these resources and beyond! Contact the Touro College Libraries to learn more.

Unlocking Links with LibKey

Do you need a journal article faster than you can say “database”?

You’re in luck! The TC Libraries are excited to share LibKey, which allows easy access to PDF downloads when using the QuickSearch function on the TC Libraries homepage.

As part of the Libraries’ BrowZine subscription, LibKey’s quick access means you can skip the work of navigating to the database and checking for access to an article there or seeking out an open access version. There is nothing you need to do to turn LibKey on; it is automatically enabled.

screenshot of quick search results showing

And, if you’re on the move, LibKey Nomad is an extension which allows you to find full-text articles in the Touro Libraries databases via citations across the web, from PubMed to Wikipedia. Once you have installed the extension in your browser, the LibKey icon will appear by links on other websites, allowing you to see if there is an available article.

screenshot showing the libkey nomad icon by

For help with your research at any stage, from finding articles to crafting citations, contact the Touro College Libraries or check out our Research Guides.

This post was contributed by Georgia Westbrook, Open Educational Resources & Instruction Librarian.

 

Introducing “UAsk…WeAnswer!”

#1 Elbow_Bump1
The elbow bump: a social distancing-approved “howdy.” Image by J slick / CC BY-SA

Do you engage in the time-honored tradition of staying awake throughout the night to prepare for exams or produce written assignment? Perhaps you need the quiet of the small hours, or the focus that only a fast-approaching deadline can provide. Would you rather start your work when all the people around you are fluffing their pillows and ducking under their blankies? Only you (and possibly your family, friends, and significant other) know if you are a night-owl. There is no shame in your game! But what do you do when the world is on a 9-5 schedule and you are not?

Don’t worry — the Touro Libraries have got you! We offer remote reference through “U Ask…We Answer!” an instant messaging service powered by Springshare Library Software and your helpful Touro Libraries librarians. We are online 12/24 (9 to 9 EST, or thereabouts) 5 days per week, waiting to Chat with you. You can reach us from the QuickSearch results page, by clicking on the “Chat Live” tab located at the upper right corner:

#2QuickSearch Chat Live

Or by clicking the Ask-A-Librarian image in the upper right corner of the Libraries homepage:

#3AskALibrarian from homepage

When we are online, the Chat portion of the page will contain several blank text fields. We request your name, Touro email address, campus location and question. This information will be transferred to the librarian waiting online, at the ready to assist.

#4Chat online

But what happens when we are not online, and you still have a question? You have some options. You can always email us your question, and we will email you with a written response. To do this, click on the email icon:

#5 email checked

A form will magically appear where you can input your question and email address.

#6 Ask-A-Librarian Form

You will receive your answer within 24-48 hours.

Yikes! That’s a long time, especially when time is of the essence. But as I said, we’ve got you! If you didn’t reach us on Chat because you didn’t think of your question until after midnight, there is a second option.

#7The_Thinker,_Rodin
“The Thinker” by Rodin, photographed by Andrew Horne.

You can search the FAQs (frequently asked questions) contained in the UAsk… WeAnswer! knowledge base.

When we are offline, put a keyword in the blank text box and search. Questions previously asked using that keyword will be returned, and you can review any or all answers.

#8offline

#9Keyword search

You also have the option of searching the knowledge base at any time, even when we are on Chat, by clicking on the question mark icon.

#10Question markpg

This search will give you access to all the previously asked question and answer sets (asked by actual Touro students, faculty, alumni and staff), but arranged by popularity and currency.

#11 Frontpage

You can search by keyword, topic, or, if you are in the mood, browse through all question and answer sets. As more questions are asked, additional FAQs will be added to the knowledge base. Hopefully, this will increase the likelihood that your question will be included. While you might not find the answer to “How do I get the PDF of an article I need right now?” the FAQs will explain why it wasn’t in the databases and further action for you to take to obtain it. At 2 a.m., it’s sure better than nothing.

This post was contributed by Carol Schapiro, Librarian, Midtown Library

What’s new with RefWorks? August 2020

On August 11, Ex Libris/ProQuest provided a quarterly update about RefWorks, a citation manager to which the Touro College Libraries subscribe and one which we recommend for organizing research at all levels. There were some key changes and additions that will make navigating RefWorks easier — but your librarians are always available to help you, too.

A new “Top Frequently Asked Questions” page has been added to the Customer Knowledge Center (a site with information about and support for common RefWorks issues):

screenshot of refworks

If you have worked with RefWorks recently, you may have noticed that the APA 7th edition has been added, but that there are several styles to choose from. ProQuest has added information to the Customer Knowledge Center about the different versions of APA 7th.

screenshot from the exlibris knowledge center about

If those options do not suit your needs or the needs of your students, you can create (or request the creation of) an institutional version of the APA 7th edition citation style and mark it as a favorite. RefWorks administrators can also create citation styles for specific departments or classes.

The final key update from the presentation is particularly good news for everyone working from home: the RefWorks Citation Manager (RCM) add-on is now available for Word Online (i.e., the version available when working in Box) and can be installed from the Microsoft store.

screenshot of reference citation manager in

Within RCM, users can now toggle the bibliography on and off, so that a file will load faster when you are working online — you just need to make sure to leave it “on” when you are finished and ready to submit!

For more information on RefWorks, please see our guide to ProQuest RefWorks or schedule an appointment with a librarian.

This post was contributed by Georgia Westbrook, Open Educational Resources & Instruction Librarian

OER: Does the “E” stand for equitable?

With renewed calls for an examination into the diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts of educational institutions, it is critical to consider the role of libraries and their work in these efforts. Open educational resources (OER) and initiatives, often administered through libraries, can be tools to further equity and are worthwhile pursuits and points of consideration now, more than ever.

The rapidly rising cost of college is a both an economic enigma and an issue of equity. When a college degree is the ticket to higher wages for a whole lifetime’s worth of work, the price of admission should enable everyone who wants to take part to do so.

graffiti that says "for all"
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

There is a cost element of equity, and there is a representation element, too. While a free textbook may make it easier for everyone to acquire and access the resource (provided they have internet access), that textbook might still be out of reach to students who see examples and pictures about people and situations that are not at all familiar. OER can provide an opportunity to address this inequity.

Kharl Reynado, in a blog post for OpenStax, wrote about her experience attending the Open Ed 2018 Conference. She recounted hearing from Professor Jasmine Roberts, who teaches communications at Ohio State, discuss how OER has affected her relationships with students:

“While teaching, her student brought up a relevant example to their learning material. OER allowed her to quickly edit her textbook to incorporate the student’s idea. Though some people may see this as a very small gesture, I think that it can have a huge impact on how students see their place in education.”

This is an impact not only on how students see their place in education, but also whether they see it at all. Many traditional, commercial textbooks feature stock photos of white people with homogeneous origin stories and experiences. Students need to see people who look like them in the places they look every day; we can have a role in this through selecting images and anecdotes for OER that better match our students.

sam-balye-w1FwDvIreZU-unsplash
Photo by Sam Balye on Unsplash

In a recent essay for the New England Board of Higher Education, Robin DeRosa, the director of the Open Learning & Teaching Collaborative at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire, wondered:

“For some students (and even contingent faculty and staff in our universities) COVID has augmented inequities that were already baked into their lives. Our continuing institutional failures to ameliorate or address these inequities can no longer be tolerated, both because the vulnerable in our colleges are at a breaking point from a global pandemic and because we have been called out by a national social justice movement that is demanding that we make real change at last. Is open education a way to answer this call?”

She goes on to explain why she thinks that yes, open education can be a solution. More than just alleviating the cost burden on students, DeRosa writes, OER “asks us to rethink the kind of architecture we want to shape our education system.” This is a time of great potential for positive change across all aspects of our lives, and OER can be a catalyst for such change in education broadly, because when we think more in the framework of open education, we think more about the benefits of opening other aspects of the physical and metaphorical campuses, too.

a man teaching a woman sitting at a table
Photo by Monica Melton on Unsplash

OER can also help faculty work with their students to learn about equity and issues of equity, as demonstrated by examples from all kind of educational institutions. The Community College Consortium for OER has collected case studies and examples of this work, and The OER Starter Kit includes a section on Diversity and Inclusion that makes the connection to open pedagogy and offers exemplar in-class activities. This work is being done—and you can do it, too.

This post was contributed by Georgia Westbrook, Open Educational Resources & Instruction Librarian

Copyright Infringement vs. Plagiarism

Copyright is complicated — there is no doubt about it. It overlaps with a lot of other issues in academic integrity and scholarship, including plagiarism. While copyright infringement and plagiarism can and do sometimes occur at the same time, they are separate concerns.

Plagiarism is using someone’s ideas or words and passing them off as your own or not giving the original author credit. Copyright infringement is using someone’s copyright materials — visual works, literary works, or otherwise — without permission (and without a fair use or other legal exemption). This includes sharing works, making copies of the work, and editing or remixing the work, among other actions.

a lego pirate figurine
Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay

Using Your Own Work

Whether you can use your own copyrighted works depends on what your publisher allows. For example, to make copies of an article you wrote to give to your friends, you might need to get permission from the publisher if you signed away your right to distribute your work in your author contract. This can be especially frustrating, so it is important to carefully review your publishing contracts and add an addendum when necessary.

Self-plagiarism is another mistake to watch out for. Self-plagiarism occurs when you use work that you have previously published in a new work, without referencing your previous publication. It is important to let readers know the scholarly history of your thought, especially in scientific research; for students, self-plagiarism can result in academic dishonesty sanctions.

letters flying out of an open book
Image by Mediamodifier from Pixabay

Examples

Q: Adam uses several sentences from his dissertation in a new research paper he is writing; since he is using his own work, he decides not to cite it. What’s wrong with this scenario?

A: This is self-plagiarism.

Q: Beatrice is part of a book group with other members of the physics department. She thinks they would really like copies of her dissertation, which was published as a book last year by a commercial publisher. She doesn’t want them to have to buy the book, so she makes copies of it for each of them. What’s wrong with this scenario?

A: This is copyright infringement.

Learn more in our LibGuides for Copyright and Fair UseCiting Sources, and College Writing, read up in the blog post “Using Images on Blogs and Social Media (or: Pictures on the Internet Aren’t Copyrighted, Right?),” or contact a librarian for help with your writing and research.

This post was contributed by Georgia Westbrook, Open Educational Resources & Instruction Librarian.

11 Reasons to Consider OER for Your Fall Courses

Open educational resources, or OER, are excellent materials to use for in-person, online, and hybrid classes. As you plan your courses for the fall semester, here are 11 reasons to consider OER.

neon sign that says open
CC-BY: Bill Smith

#1: OER are available on day one 

OER can be ready for students on the first day of a course, or even before. You no longer need to wait for students to acquire a textbook to get started with the material.

#2: OER are free forever 

Rather than renting a print copy of a book that needs to be returned or paying for an access code that will expire at the end of the semester, students can use an OER material for free forever. This is particularly helpful for academic programs that build on standard foundational courses; as students move to more advanced levels, they can continue to use their earlier texts for reference.

calculator with college spelled out
CC-BY: GotCredit

#3: OER can be accessed anywhere, anytime 

All students need to read an OER is a device that can connect to the internet. They can access OER materials on their phone, a tablet, or a computer, or they can print out sections or the whole text. Most OER can also be downloaded for offline access.

#4: OER can be adapted to fit your course 

If you are asking students to purchase an expensive textbook, you might be tempted to “teach to the textbook” so that students get their money’s worth. With an OER, you can teach what you want and craft your textbook to match your needs.

#5: OER can be adjusted to match a changing semester  

Whether the semester goes as planned or becomes shorter than you had planned for, OER can fit your timeline. You can adjust a textbook in the middle of the semester to remove units you will not be able to cover or to add in extra material if your class needs additional support on a topic.

smiling square with icons representing documents
Image by Manfred Steger from Pixabay

#6: OER go beyond textbooks 

Textbooks might be the most common form of OER, but they are not the only OER. There are free, open versions of test banks, lecture slides, and even whole Canvas course templates you can import. If you can imagine a course material, it is likely that there is an OER version of it.

#7: OER support student success and retention 

Colvard, Watson, and Park (2018) found that “students tend to perform better in course settings when OER textbooks were used in place of expensive, commercial textbooks.” And librarians at Montgomery College, a community college in Maryland, found that when they made the switch to online emergency teaching this semester, the retention rate for OER courses was 85%, higher than the retention rate for the college as a whole. This is consistent with retention rates for OER across the semesters there. Not only are OER contributing to keeping students in class, they are contributing to higher grades, too.

#8: OER can be made accessible for all learners

Accessible design is a central tenet of the open community, so finding or creating materials that can be used by students with different learning needs is easily done. Some OER platforms offer audio versions of the text, accessible formats that can be read by screen-readers, and fonts that can be changed to be easier to read. These aspects of good OER design benefit all users, not just those with disabilities.

#9: OER are an opportunity to publish 

Publishing an OER material can be a great way to add to your CV. For many departments, an OER project can count towards promotion, based on research, writing, or service done to contribute to your professional community.

lego figurines
CC-BY: Giulia Forsythe

#10: OER can lead to deeper learning 

Students and faculty can collaborate to publish OER, deepening the opportunity to learn. This is part of the idea behind open pedagogy, which “is the use of open educational resources (OER) to support learning, or the open sharing of teaching practices with a goal of improving education and training at the institutional, professional, and individual level” (BCCampus OpenEd). Students can engage in meaningful creation of educational matters by using OER as a jumping off point.

#11: OER connect us 

OER start a conversation between authors, faculty, students, and community users from around the world. You can use resources from South Africa and contribute materials that might be used in a classroom in Germany. The “open” community is a welcoming space for connection and collaboration.

This post was contributed by Georgia Westbrook, Open Educational Resources & Instruction Librarian