Open@VT

Open Access, Open Data, and Open Educational Resources

Tag Archives: John Wilbanks

Worth Reading: Open Access (the book), Interviews, Oregon State policy, and the Meaning of Open

Open Access Peter Suber’s essential book Open Access is now, well, open access, one year after publication. It’s available in a variety of digital formats (scroll down to view), including HTML, PDF, ePUB, and Mobi. I also recommend the Internet Archive’s excellent streaming version, which I was unaware of until recently. Suber is also providing updates and supplements to the book. If you read only one book about open access, let it be this one!

Richard Poynder offers two new interviews on the current state of open access with Mike Taylor and Stevan Harnad. I tend to follow Taylor more than Harnad, and particularly like the former’s interview references to dispensing with journal prestige and the cost savings that will come with OA. I’m skeptical that Harnad’s vision of universal green (archived) OA will come to pass, though I think article archiving is an immensely valuable stopgap effort until more OA journals are up and running.

osu-tag Congratulations to Oregon State University for adopting an open access policy. The Faculty Senate did so unanimously. OSU has been one of the leaders among public universities on open access- the Faculty Senate endorsed OA a few years ago, they had the first library faculty OA policy, and their repository already hosts 58% of faculty papers. Let’s hope Virginia Tech won’t be too far behind.

Abuse of the term “open” is the subject of the most recent post from John Wilbanks:

So let’s get this clear. Just because you’re making something available that wasn’t previously available doesn’t qualify as open. Just because you’re reducing the transaction costs of access to something doesn’t qualify as open. Just because you’re involving more people than before doesn’t qualify as open.

Since there seems to be so much confusion about what “open” means (or intentional misuse for PR purposes), advocates of openness can provide a more precise meaning by calling out uses that don’t follow the Open Definition:

A piece of data or content is open if anyone is free to use, reuse, and redistribute it — subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and/or share-alike.

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