Open@VT

Open Access, Open Data, and Open Educational Resources

New Open Textbook: Aerospace Structures by Eric Raymond Johnson

Cover of Aerospace Structures by Eric Raymond Johnson
Cover art: Tom Cleary via Unsplash
Cover: Kindred Grey

Virginia Tech’s Kevin T. Crofton Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering and Virginia Tech Publishing are pleased to announce publication of a new open textbook by Eric Raymond Johnson, Ph.D., titled, Aerospace Structures.

Aerospace Structures (https://doi.org/10.21061/AerospaceStructures) is a 600+ page text and reference book for junior, senior, and graduate-level aerospace engineering students.

The text begins with a discussion of the aerodynamic and inertia loads acting on aircraft in symmetric flight and presents a linear theory for the statics and dynamic response of thin-walled straight bars with closed and open cross-sections. Isotropic and fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composite materials including temperature effects are modeled with Hooke’s law. Methods of analyses are by differential equations, Castigliano’s theorems, the direct stiffness method, the finite element method, and Lagrange’s equations. There are numerous examples for the response of axial bars, beams, coplanar trusses, coplanar frames, and coplanar curved bars. Failure initiation by the von Mises yield criterion, buckling, wing divergence, fracture, and by Puck’s criterion for FRP composites are presented in the examples.

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New open textbook: Teaching in the University: Learning from Graduate Students and Early Career Faculty

by Max Esterhuizen with Anita Walz and Donna Westfall-Rudd

New book helps instructors increase the effectiveness of teaching diverse groups of students.

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Virginia Tech Publishing have released a new open textbook titled Teaching in the University: Learning from Graduate Students and Early Career Faculty.

The book is written by 20 current and former students in the Graduate Teaching Scholars Program and is edited by Donna Westfall-Rudd, the director of the program and associate professor in the Department of Agricultural Leadership and Community Education, and recent Ph.D. recipients and program teaching assistants Courtney Vengrin ‘15 and Jeremy Elliot-Engel ‘18. Leah Hamilton, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Food Science and Technology, peer-reviewed the book.

book cover
Cover design: Kindred Grey

As an Open Educational Resource, this textbook provides free access to peer-reviewed guidance and reflection on becoming an instructor based on the experiences of fellow new instructors.

The edited collection provides insight and strategies for successful teaching, advising, and mentoring of graduate students. The authors offer support and encouragement for the implementation of student-centered teaching practices relevant to college classrooms. They offer this resource for fellow faculty and graduate students to improve instruction and engagement.

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Announcing New Open Textbook: Neuroscience for Pre-Clinical Students

Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Virginia Tech Publishing are pleased to announce the second open textbook publication in a series, Neuroscience for Pre-Clinical Students, by Renée LeClair, Ph.D.

book cover
Cover by Kindred Grey. Brain CC BY by Mahmure Alp from The Noun Project.

Neuroscience for Pre-Clinical Students (https://doi.org/10.21061/neuroscience) is a USMLE-aligned text  designed for a first-year undergraduate medical course, and covers neuroenergetics, neurotransmitters, neuropeptides, and selected amino acid metabolism and degradation. It is meant to provide the essential biochemical information from these content areas in a concise format to enable students to engage in an active classroom. Hence, it does not cover neurophysiology and neuroanatomy; and clinical correlates and additional application of content are intended to be provided in the classroom experience. The text assumes that the students will have completed medical school prerequisites (including the MCAT) in which they will have been introduced to the most fundamental concepts of biology and chemistry that are essential to understand the content presented here. With its focus on high-yield concepts, this resource will assist the learner later in medical school and for exam preparation.

The 49-page text was created specifically for use by pre-clinical students at Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and was based on faculty experience and peer review to guide development and hone important topics.

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Announcing New Open Textbook: Cell Biology, Genetics, and Biochemistry for Pre-Clinical Students by Renee LeClair

Book cover for Cell Biology, Genetics, and Biochemistry for Pre-Clinical Students by Renee LeClair
Cover Art: Adapted from Biochemlife CC BY SA 4.0
Cover Design: Kindred Grey

Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Virginia Tech Publishing are pleased to announce publication of a new open textbook by Renée LeClair, Ph.D., titled, Cell Biology, Genetics, and Biochemistry for Pre-Clinical Students.

Cell Biology, Genetics, and Biochemistry for Pre-Clinical Students (https://doi.org/10.21061/cellbio) is an undergraduate medical school-level resource for foundational knowledge across the disciplines of genetics, cell biology and biochemistry. This USMLE-aligned text is designed for a first-year undergraduate medical course that is delivered typically before students start to explore systems physiology and pathophysiology. The text is meant to provide the essential information from these content areas in a concise format that would allow learner preparation to engage in an active classroom. Clinical correlates and additional application of content is intended to be provided in the classroom experience. The text assumes that the students will have completed medical school prerequisites (including the MCAT) in which they will have been introduced to the most fundamental concepts of biology and chemistry that are essential to understand the content presented here. This resource should be assistive to the learner later in medical school and for exam preparation given the material is presented in a succinct manner, with a focus on high-yield concepts.

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A New Author Rights Benefit (a.k.a. Open Access Policy) at Virginia Tech

On March 22, 2021, an open access policy was passed by Virginia Tech’s Board of Visitors, an achievement that was years in the making. The new policy might be better named an author rights benefit, since the policy retains rights for authors, rather than requiring deposit (as “policy” implies).  In this respect, the policy is consistent with “rights retention” policies at numerous other U.S. universities.

The new open access language is now part of the university’s Policy 13000 (PDF), at the bottom of page 4:

8. For Scholarly Articles: Authors grant to the university a nonexclusive license to copyright in their scholarly articles in order to provide open access (free, public, online access) to them via the university repository. However, anything deposited in the university repository is subject to the provisions of all the numbered paragraphs above. An author may waive the license for a particular article or delay access for a specified period of time. The university may not sell the articles. Authors deposit in the university repository an electronic copy of their unformatted, post peer-review, accepted manuscript for each scholarly article within one month after the date of its publication. Upon deposit of accepted manuscripts into the university repository, the university grants authors a nonexclusive license to share accepted manuscripts elsewhere.

The open access policy guide has everything Virginia Tech researchers need to know, but here are a few key points:

  • Authors at Virginia Tech can deposit their accepted manuscript (the version after peer review, not the journal’s published version) as early as the day it’s accepted, with no embargo, regardless of the journal’s copyright transfer agreement (a very few journals may require a waiver).
  • The deposit window extends one month after publication.  To get the greatest benefit from an open access version, it’s important to have it available when others are looking for it, often as the result of a table of contents alert or Google Scholar alert.  Additionally, after publication the article metadata will be available in Elements, so deposit only involves identifying the article in your publications list and uploading the file.
  • In addition to Elements, there’s also a web deposit form and an email deposit option (a waiver is also available through all three options).
  • Everyone at Virginia Tech is covered by the policy.  Although more than 50 universities have open access policies, ours is among a very few that includes students and staff (the others are the University of California system, Penn State, and the University of North Texas).
  • The policy applies only to scholarly articles, not books or other forms of scholarship.
  • The policy is not retrospective, and applies only to manuscripts accepted after the policy was passed.  Deposit of article versions accepted prior to policy passage is still dependent on journal permissions.  If you still have your accepted manuscript, you can look up permissions on the Sherpa Romeo website, or get help by emailing vtechworks@vt.edu.
Image of the Open Access Policy Guide homepage
Explore the Policy Guide

The policy provides an important path to open access when other options may not be available.  Some journals have no sharing policy at all — once the copyright transfer agreement is signed, the article is paywalled indefinitely.  Some journals have lengthy embargos (for Elsevier, up to 48 months).  Some disciplines lack open access journals.  And the article processing charges at some open access journals can be a barrier for those without funding.  The new policy at Virginia Tech — allowing immediate open access to the accepted, peer reviewed version — overcomes all of these obstacles. And it’s worth noting that not every university provides researchers this right — for example, Virginia Tech is the only university in Virginia with an open access policy.

Open Access Week will feature a forum discussion of the policy on Monday, October 25, with special guest and open access expert Peter Suber of Harvard University. A PDN session on the policy will be held the following day at 3:00pm, and sessions will be available throughout the year.