Open Access, Open Data, and Open Educational Resources

Category Archives: Worth Reading

Worth Reading This Week

One of the hottest topics in higher education recently is the MOOC, or massive open online course. MOOCs are a bit of a problem for libraries, since the majority of the content we offer is licensed (at a pretty steep price) and under the copyright of the publisher. At Duke a professor teaching a MOOC couldn’t get permission to use his own articles in the class. Fortunately the journals allowed archiving, and the professor still had his final versions, which were uploaded to the repository, as Kevin Smith writes. There are a couple of things worth noting. First, as Kevin notes, MOOCs provide an incentive for faculty to archive their work. Second, this is a licensing issue. Rather than depend on journal archiving policies, faculty will need to be more active in retaining copyright and publishing under CC licenses.

Last week’s big news about the purchase of Mendeley by Elsevier has resulted in some introspection about the role of for-profit entities in open endeavors. First, John Wilbanks writes that the key is the extent to which “open” is baked into the business model. If it is central to making a profit, fine. But if it can be discarded, it will be. Second, a post by Cameron Neylon takes a different approach by focusing on how nonprofits can take on larger roles- let’s have nonprofit startups, let’s have nonprofits buy out for-profit startups. How do we get there?

I think we need to do more in higher education to shift from commercial to non-commercial providers, because our values simply aren’t being served. Perhaps for journal publishing it would be helpful to have a list of journals published by commercial vs. non-commercial entities. The cost of journals (or their bundles) by commercial publishers is several times higher than for non-commercial publishers, as Stuart Sheiber notes. Maybe if that information was easier to obtain, and the reasons for supporting non-commercial publishers were more explicit, that would help shift perceptions of preferred journals to publish in.

Worth Reading

Project Information Literacy has an interview with Peter Suber. It’s particularly interesting to hear how he got involved in open access.

Nature has a special open issue on scientific publishing. All the articles are worth reading, but I especially recommend John Wilbanks’ License Restrictions: A Fool’s Errand advocating CC-BY licenses ( annotations are on his blog) and a very informative article, The True Costs of Science Publishing.

Curt Rice posts about why OA enhances academic freedom, rather than detracts from it as some have claimed.

MIT’s faculty open access policy is now 4 years old, and their library shares personal thanks for article access (during last year’s Open Access Week, MIT had a great article about the policy’s worldwide impact). Documenting this is hugely important. First, it shifts the discussion to the good things that are happening rather than hypothesizing about the bad things that might happen .01 percent of the time under OA. Second, and more importantly, it establishes a narrative that goes beyond the rationale for OA. As research in psychology tells us, people remember stories, not facts. (Positive narratives are also badly needed for ETDs). See how MIT solicited these stories through a feedback mechanism in their institutional repository:

MIT repository feedback mechanism

MIT’s repository feedback mechanism

Worth Reading

Several interesting items have appeared in the last few days:

This reflection on publishing in PLoS ONE is fascinating (read the comments too). PLoS ONE has lots of appeal (open access, fast turnaround time, good impact factor), but younger researchers can’t get past the perceptions of older colleagues.

The mass resignation of the editorial board of the Journal of Library Administration due to the publishing terms of Taylor & Francis is covered by Brian Mathews, Jason Griffey, and Chris Bourg. I think this is a positive move, but fear that JLA will simply replace the board and go on publishing as usual. Some have encouraged the editorial board to form its own OA journal, just as these boards that resigned did.

Of particular interest to Virginians, Waldo Jaquith used Kickstarter to fund a successful bounty for video speech transcription. The code will be put to use on Richmond Sunlight, a project of Open Virginia.

And here at Virginia Tech, the Center for Digital Research and Scholarship is offering a journal publishing service– here’s how the editorial process works.

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