Heather James, Research and Publish Extraordinaire

Many of you know Heather James in her capacity as a research librarian, particularly for the First-Year English and Biology programs. Those who had her in class or made research consultations with her know just how awesome she is. Heather was the embedded librarian for many of my English 1001 and 1002 classes and had helped me a great deal in my dissertation research. So, when she made her move to digital scholarship, I felt that we all lost a fantastic resource. She did, however, talk to me about her new position and I learned that while she won’t help the Marquette students in the exact same way she had been, she will still be a very important resource and be able to help more students.

Heather James

Heather’s new title is Coordinator, Scholarly Communication and Digital Programs. What does that mean? She broke it down for me by first explaining what the “Digital Programs” is. “Digital Programs is the name of the unit that runs our repository, e-Publications,” she explained. Marquette’s e-Publications is the online storage site for all things produced at Marquette, whether the producer was a student, faculty, or staff. Heather explained that the repository serves three purposes. First, it keeps track what what has been produced at Marquette, including events that happened on campus and guest speakers. Second, it provides access to material that has been produced at Marquette. For example, when faculty publish their research it is usually in a publication that has a subscription fee, but the repository can offer full text access to many such works in a legally open version. To allow the repository to have access to it, and to avoid any copyright issues, faculty members will submit their pre-published work; this means that they submit the version of their research that has been peer-reviewed, but has not been copyedited or formatted to the requirements of the journal where it will be published in its final form. This is also where the Master’s theses and the Doctoral dissertations are published. Third, e-Publications helps in the publicity of the individual who submits their work. Students can provide future employers with links to their thesis, dissertation, or other work; faculty can link their research on their websites so that everyone can have access to a version of their research.

The “Scholarly Communication” part of her title refers to her position in advising anyone on campus with decisions on “publishing, copyright, and dissemination of unpublished work.” Basically, Heather is the person all you Master’s and Ph.D. students should consult with when you’re finishing up your project and want to understand the choices given to you for publication.

Thinking about the population she advises, I asked Heather to break down what she can do and how she can help both undergraduate and graduate students. For undergraduates, Heather can help students in thinking for the future; students don’t always realize that all the work they do at Marquette is theirs. They, the students, have the copyright to what they’ve produced. And depending on career goals, students might want to make sure their work is housed somewhere where future employers or academic reviewers can freely access. For graduate students, Heather helps them understand the publishing agreement and offers points to consider when making that decision. This applies to dissertations, theses, and anything co-authored with faculty.* For faculty, Heather offers information about trends in the publishing system, ideas about negotiating their copyright as authors, and multiple factors for evaluating venues for sharing their research and writing.

While Heather was a research librarian, her experience was limited to the majors for which she served as liaison, Biology, Chemistry, Biomedical Sciences, and English, and a large part of her time was focused on First-Year English. With her new position, Heather has the opportunity to work with students at all levels and from all disciplines, thus reaching out to and helping a broader group of students.

If you have questions about copyright of your projects, publishing your work, or are simply thinking long-term about what you might want to publish, you can email Heather and set up a consultation.

*Heather James and Elizabeth Gibes will be host a 50-minute discussion, “Images, Publishing, and Copyright — Do it right!,” for doctoral students and faculty dissertation advisors. This will take place on Wednesday, June 7 at noon in the Raynor Library Digital Scholarship Lab. A light lunch will be provided. You must RSVP by May 26 to Ida R. McConnell in order to attend.