Brock’s library to celebrate Open Access Week

Brock’s James A. Gibson Library wants to raise awareness about the importance of making scholarly digital content widely accessible to all in society.

To do so, a series of activities will be held next week during International Open Access Week.

Recent changes in Canadian government legislation and worldwide trends are bringing about a transformation in academic publishing.

To help Brock’s research and scholarly community understand and take advantage of these changes, the Library is hosting several events during Brock’s annual celebration of International Open Access Week.

These include an Open Access Fact or Fiction Prize Wheel on Oct. 23 from 2 to 3 p.m. and Oct. 26 from 11 a.m. to noon; a live-streamed presentation from University of Ottawa Professor Michael Geist on the linkages between copyright reform, open access and open educational resources on Oct. 24 at 12:40 p.m.; and the presentation of the inaugural Brock University Award for Open Access.

In Canada, researchers are required to abide by the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications in which all federally-funded, peer-reviewed journal publications must be made freely accessible within 12 months of publication.

Those who receive grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) can comply with the policy by either:

  • archiving the full-text, peer-reviewed post-print version or final published version in a repository, such as the Brock Digital Repository
  • publishing in an open access journal

These two methods ensure that anyone anywhere in the world can read journal articles. Under traditional journal publishing, articles are only available to those who have paid hefty subscription fees.

Most researchers and scholars agree with the principle of open access, says Brock Scholarly Communications Librarian Elizabeth Yates.

Yates, Collections Librarian Ian Gibson and other Brock colleagues co-authored a 2016 study in Partnership: the Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research that examined faculty experiences with open access publishing at Brock University and Wilfrid Laurier University.

The team found that more than 75 per cent of arts and humanities, science and health science, and social science faculty surveyed said their research results should be freely accessible to the general public.

But less than half of the respondents said they would consider publishing in an open access journal.

Some open access journals charge authors fees ranging from $2,500 to $6,000.

And, some faculty question the legitimacy, integrity and academic rigour of open access journals, viewing them as lacking the high reputations and quality of traditional, subscription-based journals, Yates says.

Despite these challenges, “more and more researchers are practicing open scholarship because they see the benefits of open access, including higher citation counts and greater opportunities for collaboration,” she says.

She notes a tremendous growth in platforms outside of journals, including ‘pre-print servers’ where research can be written up and shared.

“You might post your paper and try to get comments before you submit it to a journal, or you might decide, ‘this is how I want to share my research,’ period, without pursuing a journal publication.”

And then there are ‘open lab notebooks,’ where researchers publish their results in real time, as they’re working in their labs.

Yates says the Library provides a number of supports for researchers and scholars as they pursue open access publishing.

“Brock University librarians have taken a leadership role on campus in supporting open access by adopting a Library Open Access Policy,” says Yates. “The policy, adopted by Library Council in June, means that librarians are ‘walking the talk’ by making their own scholarship openly accessible whenever possible.”

Other supports include an Open Access Publishing Fund to help researchers defray costs and an Open Access information section on the Library’s website.

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