Open Access, Open Data, and Open Educational Resources

Tag Archives: Videos

OA Week Event: Keynote Address by John Willinsky

John Willinsky, Distinguished Innovator in Residence, gave the keynote address for Open Access Week at Virginia Tech Thursday night in the Graduate Life Center auditorium. “What Is It About the History of Learning that Calls Out for Open Access to Research and Scholarship?” revealed not only historical aspects of scholarship in general but connections between Virginia Tech and his founding of the Public Knowledge Project.

John Willinsky, Open Access Week 2013 keynote at Virginia Tech

John Willinsky, Open Access Week 2013 keynote at Virginia Tech

When Virginia Tech became the first university to require electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs) in 1997, the software for presenting them online was made freely available. Willinsky used the software to post ETDs online (with their authors’ permission, of course), though he discovered that implementation was not as easy as it could have been. This concept of providing freely available software for the purpose of open dissemination of research inspired his founding of the Public Knowledge Project, which provides open source software for producing open access journals, monographs, and conference proceedings. (Today there are 5,000 journals using PKP’s Open Journal Systems, about half of them in the developing world.)

Not only is there a human right to knowledge, any knowledge claim depends on being public. To investigate the nature of knowledge we must address the concept of intellectual property, which is culturally pervasive yet rarely taught or examined in our universities. A university’s relationship to intellectual property is different due to its public or non-profit legal status, and its educational purpose affords it status in the evaluation of the fair use principles of copyright, for example. The tax exempt status of universities recognizes that they produce a different kind of property, particularly in the case of a land-grant institution like Virginia Tech. There is a social contract between society and the university.

Historically, the exchange of real property for another kind of property goes back to the monasteries. Noblemen (and women) gave land (symbolically, a chunk of turf was placed on an altar) so that they, through the monastery, could be closer to God and have a surer path to heaven (and for certainty’s sake, nobles were buried on monastery grounds– here Willinsky noted that Leland Stanford is buried on the grounds of Stanford University). But personal patronage of this kind was not lasting. So today we have democratically elected governments who, on behalf of the public, provide patronage for the advancement of humanity through land grants (the Morrill Act of 1862), tax support, and tax exemption. The knowledge produced in universities is public. The audience was deputized to spread the word.

Thanks to the University Libraries’ Event Capture Service for the video below. [Edit 2/28/14]

OA Week Event: Faculty and Graduate Student Panels

There were some excellent discussions last night during our Open Access Week faculty and graduate student panels. Our faculty panelists were Dr. Zachary Dresser (Religion and Culture), Dr. Deborah Good (Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise), and Dr. Joseph S. Merola (Chemistry).

Faculty Panel (from left, Zach Dresser, Debby Good, Joe Merola)

Faculty Panel (from left, Zach Dresser, Debby Good, Joe Merola)

Both Dr. Good and Dr. Merola have had positive and negative experiences with open access journals. Dr. Good has had positive interactions with PLoS One as an author and peer reviewer, but criticized some hybrid open access journals for asking whether she wanted to take the open option before the paper had been peer reviewed, which could lead to a real or perceived bias due to the fee involved. She has also been asked to become editor of a journal on Beall’s list of predatory journals.

Dr. Merola serves on the editorial board of an open access journal and has had good experiences with open access in general. But he has submitted to another open access journal that would not withdraw a paper or remove him from its editorial board. Dr. Merola also noted that hybrid journals are unlikely to reduce subscription prices with open access takeup. Both Dr. Merola and Dr. Good noted that abstracting and indexing can be a problem with open access journals.

Dr. Dresser primarily writes in the field of history, and noted that humanities journals have shown little movement toward open access. The monograph is the gold standard in these fields, and he referred to the AHA controversy that was the subject of Monday’s ETD Panel. Dr. Good asked why ETDs (electronic theses and dissertations) could not be broken into separate articles as happens in the sciences. Dr. Dresser responded that though it happens on occasion, history is a very traditional field that places value on a story or narrative as a whole (thus the focus on monographs). Interestingly, Dr. Dresser is participating in an open textbook effort in American history.

Our graduate student panelists were Stefanie Georgakis (Ph.D. candidate in Public and International Affairs), Jennifer Lawrence (Ph.D. candidate, ASPECT), and Joshua Nicholson (Ph.D. candidate in Biological Sciences). Stefanie and Jennifer are co-editors of the Public Knowledge Journal, an interdisciplinary open access journal for publishing work by graduate students (at any university). Josh Nicholson is co-founder of The Winnower, an open access journal in the sciences that will be starting in 2014.

Graduate Student Panel (from left, Stefanie Georgakis, Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Nicholson)

Graduate Student Panel (from left, Stefanie Georgakis, Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Nicholson)

Stefanie and Jennifer are struggling with the sustainability of PKJ, though not in the way you might think. While the journal is hosted on campus, the challenge is finding editors, peer reviewers, and submissions from a constantly changing population. PKJ is seeking a formal partnership to ensure its sustainability. Stefanie and Jennifer are also hoping to increase readership and provide for the preservation of journal content. They felt that alternative perspectives are suited for open access, and enabling open discussion of articles on the journal site can combat the inward-looking culture of some traditional journals. PKJ can help graduate students become familiar with the publishing environment, a need also identified by Dr. Good earlier in the evening.

Josh is critical of traditional publishing, and especially of peer review. The Winnower will serve the sciences as a low-cost ($100 article processing charge) open access journal that will also employ open peer review (he noted that the NIH’s PubMedCentral has just begun post-publication review). Articles under review could be revised as a result of review for the first 3 months, then assignment of a DOI would signify publication, though further reviews could be added.

Attracting reviewers could be a problem, and he is open to using a centralized service such as PubPeer. Reviews would be structured, avoiding a problem Stefanie and others brought up of short, insubstantial reviews. Reviewers themselves would be rated (similar to Amazon), with top reviewers perhaps receiving credit toward article publication. While there has been some concern about the potential for racism or sexism in an open environment, the session attendees seemed to agree that transparency was the best option, particularly in fields with single-blind peer review where bias could occur but not be revealed.

I asked whether The Winnower would try to become a member of OASPA (Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association), but Josh replied that the journal’s model would not fit their guidelines (such as having an editorial board) or PubMed’s listing criteria, echoing the abstracting and indexing concern mentioned by Dr. Good and Dr. Merola earlier.

Thanks again to all of our panelists for a great discussion, and to the event organizers, Kiri Goldbeck DeBose and Purdom Lindblad.

Thanks to the University Libraries’ Event Capture Service for the videos. [Edit 2/28/14]

Faculty Panel:

[Edit 5/23/14]:

Graduate Student Panel:

OA Week Event: A Panel on ETDs and Open Access

Our first event of Open Access Week 2013 provided plenty of interesting discussion yesterday. “ETDs and Open Access” (ETDs are electronic theses and dissertations) was led by Gail McMillan (Director, Center for Digital Research and Scholarship Services, University Libraries), Jordan Hill (ASPECT Ph.D. candidate), and Karen DePauw (Vice President and Dean for Graduate Education).

ETDs and Open Access

ETDs and Open Access (from left, Gail McMillan, Jordan Hill, Karen DePauw)

Gail McMillan began the session with her ETD survey data presentation. One survey queried universities about their ETD policies, and the other surveyed publishers on their willingness to consider revised work based on an openly available dissertation or thesis. About 95% of U.S. institutions have embargoed some ETDs. An interesting finding from the publisher survey was that on the whole, publishers in the humanities and social sciences are actually more willing to consider revised work based on an openly available ETD than science publishers.

Jordan Hill gave a brief overview of his own research (an oral history of memorials for mass murders) and the American Historical Association’s statement on ETD embargoes. Given the unique (and less-revisable) nature of his research, he is understandably concerned that its open availability could affect the chances of publication as a book, and therefore his job/tenure prospects. Rather than the 6-year embargo in the AHA statement, Jordan suggested the possibility of a 3 or 4 year embargo.

Karen DePauw gave an overview of ETDs at Virginia Tech. The university was the first to require them in 1997, prior to her arrival. A one-year embargo is available to students with renewal possible by request. One exception is a 5-year embargo for those in a Master of Fine Arts program (for creative work such as poetry and stories that would not normally be revised for publication). For those doing classified research, the graduate school requires that the research be publicly defended and some part of the research be made available.

These brief presentations by the panelists were followed by an open discussion. I was interested in knowing if any details beyond “case by case” publisher considerations were available (it primarily means a judgement of quality) and the distinction between “published” and “unpublished” (it signifies editorial review). The discussion was pretty wide-ranging, but to me the heart of it is that many early career academics like Jordan support open access but but recognize that it is not rewarded in the criteria for hiring, tenure, and promotion. It is not surprising that despite their approval of openness, they must be conservative and pragmatic in their approach because academic evaluation is not changing as fast as scholarly publishing.

Academic success in the humanities and social sciences is currently dependent on monograph publishing (another criticism of the AHA statement), which is in turn dependent on publishers who evaluate manuscripts based on how many books they think will sell. In particular, publishing an academic monograph is dependent on university presses, who in turn are (mostly) dependent on academic libraries to buy books. But libraries are buying fewer books due to the serials crisis (primarily in STEM fields), which puts stress on university presses, who in turn are less receptive to manuscripts from early career academics. In my view, universities and their libraries need to devote more resources to publishing monographs (such as using Open Monograph Press and implementing an external review process) so that academic work can be evaluated on its quality rather than its saleability. In addition, there’s no reason why this can’t work on the freemium model, with the full text available online but print versions for sale, with royalties going back to the author.

A big thank you is due to Jordan, Karen, and Gail for this thought-provoking session.

Thanks to the University Libraries’ Event Capture Service for the video below [Edit 2/28/14].

Later in the day, Gail and I presented Introduction to Open Access and Copyright. Lots of links inside that presentation for those who want to do some exploration. Interestingly, a graduate student raised similar concerns as Jordan Hill earlier in the day: young scholars are faced with a dilemma between open access and prestige. I pointed out that it’s not always an either-or choice since there are increasingly prestigious open access journals, and self-archiving is a valid option that is often overlooked. But when it comes to getting or keeping a job, it’s hard to fault young academics for publishing behind a paywall when promotion and tenure guidelines reward it.

Worth Reading: Easy Steps, Hybrid OA, Elsevier, Jack Andraka

Ross Mounce puts almost everything you need to know in one place with his post Easy Steps Towards Open Scholarship.

I’ve thought from the start that paying to have a single article open access in an otherwise paywalled subscription journal was a bad idea, and the many problems of hybrid open access are detailed nicely by Mike Taylor.

Timothy Gowers- who began the petition against Elsevier called The Cost of Knowledge – posts the resignation of an Elsevier editorial board member. In short, nothing has changed at Elsevier, except that they are now paying editors.

In the “worth viewing” category, the Right to Research Coalition, a student group advocating open access, posts a video conversation between Jack Andraka, 16-year old cancer researcher, and Francis Collins, head of the NIH.

New Video from Harvard

Here’s a great short video (8:30) with two Harvard professors talking about open access issues, including dissertations and altering publication agreements:

Open@VT on Mastodon

Loading Mastodon feed...