Library announces Award for Open Access recipients

In his introductory course for the Faculty of Education’s Adult Education program, Associate Professor of Educational Studies Robert McGray encourages his students to gather journal articles and other online resources to share with the rest of the class.

The idea is for the group to create a free and accessible course pack of materials that will live longer than the class.

“The students will be able to use these resources in perpetuity in their own professional work,” says McGray, whose course is geared towards mature learners who are already working in the adult education field.

Associate Professor of Educational Studies Robert McGray.

“It’s like crowdsourcing a large amount of scholarly material that is put into a repository. When class members are no longer Brock students, they can go back to that repository and download articles with annotations on them about designing courses for adults.”

Meanwhile, Professor of Health Sciences Ana Sanchez conducts primary field and laboratory research on neglected parasitic diseases such as soil-transmitted helminths and tapeworm parasites of humans and pigs.

Much of her work focusses on how these diseases affect communities (and in particular, children), mainly in Honduras.

She openly shared the results of her research into neglected parasitic diseases with researchers, practitioners and policy makers in Honduras and around the world.

For their efforts, Sanchez and McGray have jointly received the 2019 Brock University Award for Open Access, which recognizes a Brock community member who is a champion of freely sharing scholarship with audiences around the globe.

“Sanchez and McGray have each made tremendous contributions in all the areas cited in the award criteria, including sharing their scholarship openly, participating in open access journals and advocating for open access to research and educational resources,” says Elizabeth Yates, Brock’s Liaison and Scholarly Communication Librarian. “Both of these scholars are dedicated to advancing knowledge as a public good.”

Open access publications “are immediately available to anybody, anywhere, with no fee to the end user,” says Yates.

That is a concept dear to Sanchez.

“Open access – publishing in scientific journals that are not behind a pay wall – is in exact alignment with my principles of sharing knowledge and technology to advance science everywhere,” says Sanchez. “I’m very happy and honoured to receive this award. Open access is about equity and fairness and I feel a great responsibility to share my research findings. This is particularly important for countries that have been traditionally lagging behind scientific research in comparison with North America and Europe.”

Available to Brock faculty, librarians, staff and students, the Brock University Award for Open Access grants a $2,500 award that may be used to either pay an article processing charge for an open access journal or to support a non-profit platform for open scholarship.

This year’s grant will be shared equally by Sanchez and McGray.

The Award for Open Access is announced during International Open Access Week, which the Library celebrated with a day of events on Monday, Oct. 21.

“It is wonderful that both of our winners align so well with this year’s Open Access Week theme of Equity in Open Scholarship,” says Yates. “McGray’s work increases equity for students and educators by enhancing access to learning materials, while Sanchez is ensuring equitable access to health research for those in developing nations.”

In addition to Yates, the award adjudication committee included Tim Ribaric, Acting Head, Digital Scholarship Lab; Jennifer Thiessen, Liaison and Accessibility Librarian; and Nicola Simmons, Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Studies and winner of the 2017 Award for Open Access.

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