Social Sciences

Open access research in the news

Posted June 18th, 2012 by Katharine Dunn

MIT researchers tackle big data

MIT will host an Intel-sponsored research center to look at ways of handling “big data,” collections of data so immense and complex they cannot be processed by tools that currently exist. The center will be led by Electrical Engineering and Computer Science professor Samuel Madden and adjunct professor Michael Stonebraker. In addition to the Intel center, the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab launched a new industry-sponsored initiative called bigdata@CSAIL. As a part of the center and initiative, faculty and scientists at CSAIL will collaborate with corporate and university researchers beyond MIT to work on projects like analyzing biological data in search of more accurate diagnostic techniques or increasing the security and privacy of financial information.

Explore Professor Madden’s research in the Open Access Articles collection in DSpace@MIT, where it is openly accessible to the world.

Since the MIT faculty established their Open Access Policy in March 2009 they have made thousands of research papers freely available to the world via DSpace@MIT. To highlight that research, we’re offering a series of blog posts that link news stories about scholars’ work to their open access papers in DSpace.

Open access research in the news

Posted May 21st, 2012 by Katharine Dunn

Economist Finkelstein wins John Bates Clark Medal

The American Economic Association has named Amy Finkelstein winner of the 2012 John Bates Clark Medal, a prestigious annual award given to an economist under 40. Professor Finkelstein researches health insurance markets and has, among other work, analyzed the effects of Medicare and Medicaid on healthcare spending. In its announcement the AEA notes that Finkelstein’s research is “centered on some of the most important and policy-relevant issues facing developed economies today,” and calls her “one of the most accomplished applied micro-economists of her generation.”

Explore Professor Finkelstein’s research in the Open Access Articles collection in DSpace@MIT, where it is openly accessible to the world.

Since the MIT faculty established their Open Access Policy in March 2009 they have made thousands of research papers freely available to the world via DSpace@MIT. To highlight that research, we’re offering a series of blog posts that link news stories about scholars’ work to their open access papers in DSpace.

Changes to World Bank Resources

Posted May 9th, 2012 by Katherine McNeill

Researching development economics?  Note many changes on the our resources from the World Bank:

World Bank e-Library: http://libraries.mit.edu/get/elib – updated search engine and new open access repository

Provides electronic access to over 7,000 books, reports, journals, and working papers published by the bank, many going back as far as the 1970s.

Note: the e-Library has new terms of use, including Creative Commons licenses that allow for broader usage.   This change was made in conjunction with the recent launch of the Open Knowledge Repository —the World Bank’s new site for providing open access to many of its research outputs and knowledge products.  In addition, a new Open Access Policy will go into effect on July 1st.

World Development Indicators and Global Development Finance: http://libraries.mit.edu/get/wdi – new interface

These two databases are now combined in a new interface with more functions for selecting and displaying data, performing customized queries, downloading data, and creating charts and maps.  Provides statistical time-series data on development and the global economy for countries worldwide. Includes a wide range of basic statistics, including social, economic, financial, natural resources, and environmental indicators. 1960 to present.

Also in the new World dataBank Suite: – new interface

Time series data for over 50 countries. Includes social, economic, financial, infrastructure, governance, partnership, and environmental indicators. 1960 to present.

World Bank Open Data Web Site: http://data.worldbank.org/

In a recent initiative, the Bank has created a new infrastructure for improving public access to its data.  Their Open Data site provides many new tools for accessing and visualizing their data, including:

Library Catalog: Lastly, keep in mind that you can search for materials by the World Bank in the Libraries’ Barton Catalog by specifying it as the publisher in the Advanced Search.

Learn Quantitative Methods at ICPSR

Posted April 25th, 2012 by Katherine McNeill

ICPSR logo

Need to expand your skills in statistical methods and quantitative analysis? Attend the ICPSR Summer Program! Each year, ICPSR provides a comprehensive, integrated program of studies in research design, statistics, data analysis, and social science methodology. Registration is now open for the 2012 session.

For a listing of course offerings and application information, see the ICPSR Summer Program web site

Note that while most courses are held at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, the following two will be held in Amherst, MA:

For further information, contact Katherine McNeill, Social Science Data Services Librarian, at mcneillh@mit.edu.

A Professor’s Personal Open Access Policy

Posted January 24th, 2012 by Ellen Duranceau

Kai von Fintel, Professor of Linguistics and Associate Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences has announced a personal open access policy. He sets requirements for openness for his journal articles, book chapters, and books.

For journals, he “will only publish in, review for, and serve on editorial boards for journals that allow authors to deposit at least the final manuscript version (“postprint”) in an open access repository (such as MIT’s Dspace or the Semantics Archive), without any embargo (such as having to wait for 24 months before making the OA version available).”

His publishing policy for book chapters is the same as for journals, but he “will consider reviewing books or book chapters that are not OA-friendly, because books are a different business from research journals,” though he “wish[es] that there was more movement towards OA books.”

As for books, Professor von Fintel will limit his publishing to books that “have a significant open access component, such as making at least the final manuscript freely available…”

Professor von Fintel has been taking action for more open access to research and scholarship for many years. In 2007, he launched an open access journal in his field, Semantics & Pragmatics, with a colleague, David Beaver. In 2009, he participated in the faculty committee that crafted the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy. He decided to post his personal open access policy publicly now because, as he tells it, “I had noticed that some of my publication and reviewing decisions were made in a rather unprincipled way that I later regretted. Having a clear personal policy will guide me towards making deliberate decisions in these matters.”

The passage of the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy makes it possible for faculty research to be shared openly on the web, von Fintel says, but a personal manifesto is still important because “faculty still have to make principled decisions such as choosing a journal that does not impose an embargo or exerts pressure to opt out of the OA Policy.”

Altman joins MIT Libraries as Director of Research

Posted January 24th, 2012 by Heather Denny

Director of Libraries, Ann Wolpert, recently announced the appointment of Dr. Micah Altman to the position of Director of Research, Head/Scientist, Program for Information Science in the MIT Libraries. Altman will be responsible for leading and growing the Libraries’ active research program in applied information science.

He joins MIT after 15 years in a variety of research positions at Harvard University, most recently as the Senior Research Scientist at the Institute of Quantitative Social Science, the Archival Director for the Murray Research Archive, and the Associate Director (through 2009) of the Harvard-MIT Data Center.

“Micah has deep experience in a broad range of research-oriented activities in the areas of information science, research data management, digital preservation, and scholarly communication – all areas that have great importance to the MIT Libraries,” said Wolpert.

Altman earned his undergraduate degrees in Computer Science and Ethics and Political Philosophy from Brown University, and his PhD in Social Sciences from the California Institute of Technology. He was awarded a post-doctoral research fellowship in the Department of Government at Harvard University. In addition to an extensive background in quantitative social science and computer science, Altman has notable expertise in archiving, librarianship, research methods, and scholarly communication through his professional roles at Harvard. He is widely recognized for his writing and presentations on topics that are of considerable relevance to research libraries. Altman’s appointment will begin in March 2012.

Presentation on Research Data Management Services at Johns Hopkins

Posted November 4th, 2011 by Katherine McNeill

Please join us for a presentation by Sayeed Choudhury on the development of research data management services provided to the Johns Hopkins University research community by the Sheridan Libraries (http://dmp.data.jhu.edu/).  This presentation is being hosted by the MIT Libraries’ Research Data Management Team, which provides support for managing research data created at MIT (http://libraries.mit.edu/data-management).

Date:  Monday, Nov. 7th
Time:  2-3pm
Place: 6-120

Bio: G. Sayeed Choudhury is the Associate Dean for Library Digital Programs and Hodson Director of the Digital Research and Curation Center at the Sheridan Libraries of Johns Hopkins University. He is also the Director of Operations for the Institute of Data Intensive Engineering and Science (IDIES) based at Johns Hopkins. He is the Principal Investigator for the Data Conservancy, one of the awards through NSF’s DataNet program. He has oversight for the digital library activities and services provided by the Sheridan Libraries at Johns Hopkins University.

Date: Monday, Nov. 7th

>Time: 2-3pm

>Place: 6-120

New York City Tax Lot Data Now Available

Posted October 25th, 2011 by Lisa Sweeney

NYC Parcels

Detailed tax lot data for New York City from 2002 – 2011 is available through the MIT Geodata Repository.  Attributes include ownership information, building characteristics (number of floors, total units, year built, etc.), valuations for tax purposes, and more. Easily find available datasets by using borough names, like Manhattan, to search.

President of SSRN to Speak on “The Scholarly Communication Collider”

Posted October 21st, 2011 by Ellen Duranceau

Gregg Gordon, President and CEO of The Social Science Research Network (SSRN), will offer a presentation at MIT during Open Access Week. All members of the MIT community are invited to attend his talk, “The Scholarly Communication Collider,” on Wednesday, October 26 from 11:30-12:30 in 3-270.

Using data from the SSRN and other sources, Gregg Gordon’s presentation will provide a brief history of how scholarly communications have changed in recent years; discuss the need for article level metrics to help identify what we don’t know we don’t know; and outline an approach for using online communities to produce innovative results.

Mr. Gordon will reflect on how searching and accessing the right content, in the right place at the right time, has become the primary issue in our era of overabundance of scholarly research, and on the need to increase the efficient use of scholarly content and provide user-focused search tools.

The Social Science Research Network (SSRN) is a leading multi-disciplinary online repository of working and accepted paper research in the social sciences and the humanities. The SSRN eLibrary has delivered 46 million downloads and grown to over 346,000 documents and 164,000 authors.

ESRI Business Analyst available through MIT GIS Services

Posted October 19th, 2011 by Lisa Sweeney
Business Analyst

Business analyst data for Boston's Back Bay neighborhood

This package combines detailed data about business, consumer spending, demographics, segmentations, and major shopping centers with tools for analyzing geographically.

 

Find out more about the data types available and its capabilities.

Business Analyst Desktop is available in the MIT GIS Lab for teaching and research purposes. Business Analyst Online is also available for teaching in MIT classes. Contact gishelp@mit.edu with questions or if you would like access to Business Analyst Online for a class.

Welcome back! Check out what the Libraries did over your summer vacation.

Posted September 22nd, 2011 by Heather Denny

The MIT Libraries have been working hard during your summer vacation. Here are some of the new things you can look forward to this fall:

New resources

Library hours & study space

Upcoming Events

View the What we did on your summer vacation flyer (pdf).

GIS workshops – Fall 2011 Series

Posted September 19th, 2011 by Lisa Sweeney

MIT GIS Services

Come learn about creating maps and doing geographic analysis!

Register for the Fall GIS workshop series.

Workshops include:

  • Introduction to GIS – Friday, Sept. 23, 1-3:30 pm or Tuesday, Sept. 27, 4-5:30 pm.  This session will introduce students to open source and proprietary GIS options.
  • Introduction to GIS for Architecture – Wednesday, Oct. 12, 12:30-2 pm
  • Discovering and Using US Census Data – Tuesday, Oct. 18, 1-3:30 pm
  • Exploring Spatial Patterns using ArcMap – Tuesday, Nov. 1, 1-3:30 pm
  • Introduction to Spatial Statistics Tools and Analysis in ArcMap – Tuesday, Nov. 8, 1-3:30 pm
  • Introduction to Regression Analysis in ArcMap – Tuesday, Nov. 15, 1-3:30 pm

Access to Bureau van Dijk’s Databases Orbis and Zephyr Canceled

Posted June 30th, 2011 by Katherine McNeill

The MIT Libraries is unable to renew its subscriptions to Orbis, a worldwide directory of company information, and Zephyr, a database of merger and acquisition deals, due to large unbudgeted price increases for these resources.

The cancellation also applies to subsets of Orbis, including the following databases: Amadeus (European companies), Icarus (US companies), Osiris (public companies worldwide), and Bankscope (banks worldwide).  Access to these databases ceased on June 30, 2011 via their native interfaces and also via the WRDS platform.

We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause MIT faculty, staff, and students who work with these resources.  However, their cost in FY2012 is double that of FY2010.  Such an unprecedented rate of increase would have required the cancellations of multiple other resources which are necessary to support research and teaching in management and social sciences and which are more fairly priced for academic customers such as MIT.  While regrettable, the cancellations of Orbis and Zephyr will enable us to continue to support a range of content in all disciplines, on reasonable terms, to the MIT community in the future.

Alternatives to Orbis and Zephyr

The MIT Libraries currently subscribe to other databases that provide content similar to Orbis and ZephyrHoovers Online provides profiles of over 80 million companies worldwide.  LexisNexis Company Dossier provides profiles of over 40 million companies worldwide and includes options for exporting data. SDC Platinum available at a workstation in Dewey Library and via client software, provides access to information on mergers and acquisitions, IPOs, joint ventures and other deals worldwide.  Other databases for company information and financial data are listed in the following research guides:

We will continue to evaluate new products for potential purchase to provide additional access to company and deals information worldwide.

For questions about the cancellation or for research assistance, please contact Alex Caracuzzo, MIT Sloan, Management, and Finance Librarian at alex3@mit.edu, or visit Ask Us!.

ESRI ArcGIS 10 Downloadable

Posted May 12th, 2011 by mit-admin

The latest version of the ESRI GIS software (including ArcGIS/ArcMap) and ESRI Data and Maps are now available to the MIT community via download from: http://ist.mit.edu/services/software/esri/10

Use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to make maps and analyze spatial information. Learn more about using GIS for your teaching at research at MIT GIS Services.

MIT GIS Services Globe

Digital library partnership gives MIT access to additional online resources

Posted April 20th, 2011 by Heather Denny

The MIT Libraries have recently joined HathiTrust, a partnership of over fifty academic libraries that share the ambitious goal of building a comprehensive digital library of their shared collections.

Started in 2008, the HathiTrust digital library currently contains over 8.5 million digitized volumes representing the collections of partner institutions. HathiTrust’s collections include both copyright and public domain materials digitized by Google, the Internet Archive, and Microsoft, as well as partner institutions.  Founded by twelve universities from the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, the University of California system and the University of Virginia, the partnership has now grown to include fifty-five institutions.  MIT and Harvard are two of the most recent universities to join.

Through the HathiTrust website, the public can search the full-text of 8.4 million digitized volumes, and get full online access to 2.2 million volumes that are in the public domain.  With the MIT Libraries membership, the MIT community will have the added benefit of being able to download full volumes of public domain works in PDF format, and also build and share collections using the Collection Builder feature.  Access will be provided to MIT users, with authentication through Touchstone, later this year.

Joining HathiTrust is one of several steps the MIT Libraries have recently taken to expand access for MIT faculty and students to print or digitized resources beyond the holdings of MIT.  In January, the Libraries announced their membership in Borrow Direct, a partnership with Ivy Plus libraries that gives the MIT community access to nearly 50 million print items. In February, MIT and Harvard libraries jointly announced an expanded alliance to explore collaborations for sharing library materials, advancing digital preservation collections practice, and developing future off-site storage facilities and services.

“In today’s interdisciplinary learning environment, it’s essential for our faculty, students and researchers to have access to an even wider array of information resources than ever before.  By collaborating with other outstanding research libraries, we can offer the resources necessary to support the cutting edge research and education that is MIT’s hallmark,” said MIT Director of Libraries, Ann Wolpert.

Wolpert added that it is important for universities to take a leading role in shaping digital libraries. “Libraries have been stewards of the scholarly record for centuries,” she said.  “We’re committed to the long haul.”

The MIT Libraries are actively involved in open access initiatives that support MIT’s mission to make scholarly knowledge openly available to the world.  Partnering with HathiTrust, an organization committed to collecting, organizing, preserving, communicating, and sharing the record of human knowledge, is in line with the Libraries principles of supporting the long-term curation of the cultural record, and furthering global scholarship and research.

GIS courses available online through ESRI Virtual Campus

Posted April 19th, 2011 by Lisa Sweeney

Want to learn about GIS online, on your own time? The MIT community has access to many virtual campus courses from ESRI. Courses can help students learn many skills including: using ArcGIS, working in 3D, raster analysis, programming with Python, and creating mobile GIS applications. The virtual campus addresses a variety of topics including getting started with the basics of GIS and working with HAZUS – using GIS technology to estimate physical, economic, and social impacts of disasters.

The MIT community can sign up for ESRI virtual campus courses for free by emailing gishelp@mit.edu. For a listing of available courses visit the MIT GIS Services website: http://libraries.mit.edu/gis/teach/esrivc.html

For updates about GIS related events, new GIS data and software, and more subscribe to mitgis@mit.edu by visiting: http://mailman.mit.edu/mailman/listinfo/mitgis

Learn Quantitative Methods at ICPSR

Posted April 7th, 2011 by Katherine McNeill

Need to expand your skills in statistical methods and quantitative analysis? Attend the ICPSR Summer Program! Each year, ICPSR provides a comprehensive, integrated program of studies in research design, statistics, data analysis, and social science methodology. Registration is now open for the 2011 session.  Note: while most courses take place at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, some do take place at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

For a listing of course offerings and application information, see the ICPSR Summer Program web site.  For further information, contact Katherine McNeill, Social Science Data Services Librarian, at mcneillh@mit.edu.

Harvard and MIT Libraries Explore Far-Reaching Alliance

Posted February 4th, 2011 by Heather Denny

Hayden Library, MIT

Widener Library, Harvard University

New agreement reflects physical proximity, cross-registration, joint programs, and research affinities

The Provosts of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have charged their respective library systems to explore expanded collaborations for sharing library materials, advancing digital preservation and collection, and developing future off-site storage facilities.

Both institutions have identified increased collaboration between and among their complementary libraries as an essential element in developing the research library of the 21st century. While an ambitious level of collaboration is anticipated, each library system will remain engaged with and guided by the respective missions and priorities of each university. While enhanced collaboration may serve to reduce prospective costs, the focus of the collaboration is on the future of 21st-century library services, technologies, and collections.

“No single library system can expect to meet the full intellectual needs of the academic and research communities of MIT and Harvard,” stated Harvard Provost Steven E. Hyman. “A wide-ranging exploration of all opportunities for collaboration is of great interest to both institutions.”

Both formal and informal relationships already exist between the MIT and Harvard libraries. MIT has shared in the use of the Harvard Depository since its inception in 1985. A 1995 agreement between Harvard College Library (HCL) and MIT brought reciprocal borrowing privileges to faculty, researchers, and graduate students in both institutions. An April 2010 pilot program extended those privileges to undergraduate students.

While traditional library materials have been the focus of prior agreements, digital materials are at the forefront of the new alliance.

“The increasing primacy of digital materials brings its own urgency to our collaboration, ” observed MIT Provost L. Rafael Reif.  “As new models of online information delivery emerge, Harvard and MIT can support joint programs for open-access as well as joint acquisition and licensing approaches that are appropriate for education and academic research.”

Under the agreement, the two libraries will develop a four-tiered action plan by the end of 2011.  The four tiers are:

Reciprocal access to circulating collections

By developing linked access between Harvard and MIT library catalogs and implementing reciprocal privileges that extend to Harvard’s graduate and professional school libraries, library patrons can anticipate full access to 20 million volumes that users will experience as a single collection.

Enhancing digital preservation and collection practices

MIT and Harvard have earned leadership roles through their open access programs and repositories and through their respective approaches to digital preservation. High priority areas for collaborative growth include digital archives of faculty papers and web-based publications.

Developing wider access to electronic information

Questions of electronic serials pricing, and the costs of building digital information management and delivery systems, point to opportunities for Harvard and MIT to investigate new models for licensing agreements, as well as alternative, open access forms of publication that reflect each institution’s commitment to the dissemination of new knowledge.

Envisioning joint off-site storage facilities for the future

Harvard and MIT have shared the Harvard Depository for high-density, non-browsable, off-site storage since 1985. Together, the two universities could effectively anticipate both a new service model and an additional facility for off-site storage.

“We’ve enjoyed a collaborative working relationship with Harvard’s libraries for many years,” said Ann Wolpert, Director of the MIT Libraries.  “This new agreement builds on our successes and underscores the commitment we share to provide our communities with the best and broadest range of resources possible, and to be at the forefront of advancing the digital preservation of scholarly work.”

“In several ways, the libraries of Harvard and MIT are already united by proximity and affinity,” said Helen Shenton, Executive Director of the Harvard Library. “Our new agreement supports the distinct priorities of two very singular universities. At the same time, it challenges us to collaborate on a sustainable information ecosystem for the 21st century.”

Changing Access to JSTOR

Posted January 10th, 2011 by Ellen Duranceau

Because JSTOR has recently reported excessive, systematic downloading of articles at MIT, we need to add a new layer of access control. This is the only way to prevent recurrence of the abuse and therefore the only way to ensure ongoing access to this valuable resource for the MIT Community.

How this affects your access:

  • Whether you are on- or off-campus, you must use either the shortcut URL for JSTOR (http://libraries.mit.edu/get/jstor) or use the JSTOR link in Vera in order to be recognized as a subscriber.
  • Your current MIT status will be verified as you are passed through to the JSTOR site.
  • This change will take effect by Wednesday, January 12, and as early as Monday, January 10.

If you find you have any problem with access, please email econtrol-lib@mit.edu.

The incidents that prompted this change involved the use of a robot, which is prohibited by JSTOR’s Terms and Conditions of Use . Additionally, these incidents violated MITnet Rules of Use. Continued access to JSTOR and other resources is dependent on the MIT Community complying with these policies.

Thank you,
Steve Gass
Associate Director for Research & Instructional Services
MIT Libraries

Library Locations Closed Over Christmas & New Year's Holiday Week

Posted December 2nd, 2010 by Melissa Feiden
MIT winter scene

photo by: Tom Pixton

All MIT Libraries locations, with the exception of the 24-hour study facilities in Hayden and Dewey libraries, will be closed Thursday, December 23, 2010 through Sunday, January 2, 2011, as a cost saving measure to meet Institute budget reductions.

During the closure, the Libraries’ website, Barton, Vera and access to electronic licensed resources will be available.  However, most library staff will be on furlough and will not be available to offer assistance. A small number of staff will be on-call to address any reported system outages; reasonable attempts will be made to bring systems back online as soon as possible.

While it will continue to be possible to make online requests for some MIT Libraries’ services or materials, these requests will not be acted upon until the Libraries reopen.  Due dates for materials on loan have been adjusted to reflect the closure – no items will be due during this period and fines will not accrue.  We apologize for any inconvenience.

Visit our library hours page for a complete list of individual library hours.

Please send questions, comments or concerns to budgetfeedback-lib@mit.edu.