News

  • Open access: let’s talk about costs

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    Most researchers support the principle of open access: that knowledge is a public good and should be freely shared. However, sharing freely does not always mean there are no costs involved. Publishing is expensive: funds are needed to pay for staff  who produce and edit academic books and journals and for technology and infrastructure such as websites, publishing software and servers.

    So if a journal is free to read, who pays for its publishing costs?

    There are many business models for open access journals, including advertising sales, subsidies from disciplinary societies or institutions, institutional publisher memberships and collaborative journal purchasing.  The model which attracts the most attention, however, is the use of article processing charges: journals charge authors a fee for each article they publish. These fees vary widely, ranging from a couple of hundred to several thousand dollars. About one-third of open access journals charge APCs, including journals published by major commercial firms including Elsevier, Wiley, Taylor and Francis, and SpringerNature.

    Article processing charges (APCs) are seen as a major barrier to open access. Researchers, particularly those who do not receive grant funding, may struggle to pay these fees. Some institutions offer grant programs to assist with APCs, but find it impossible to meet the full costs of APCs for all of their researchers.

    Brock’s Library Open Access Publishing Fund was established in 2011 as an educational initiative, aimed at raising awareness of open access and helping Brock researchers who choose to publish in journals which charge APCs. Since then, the fund has distributed 27 grants of up to $2,500 each to cover APCs for Brock researchers. The Library recently collected metrics, including citations, which demonstrate the impressive reach of these open access articles.

    While publishing in an open access journal is one route to open access, it’s important to note that researchers can freely share their work – for free – via online archives, such as the Brock Digital Repository. These archives are free to use and their contents are indexed n Google Scholar, making Brock scholars’ work available to everyone around the globe.

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  • Open in order to … increase access to knowledge

    The idea that society is enriched by the free sharing of knowledge and that the public has the right to access taxpayer-funded research is a major motivation for open scholarship. The concept of knowledge as a public good was a main driver for researchers who drafted the original Budapest Open Access Initiative in 2002:

    Removing access barriers to … (scholarly) literature will accelerate research, enrich education, share the learning of the rich with the poor and the poor with the rich, make this literature as useful as it can be, and lay the foundation for uniting humanity in a common intellectual conversation and quest for knowledge.”

    During this celebration of International Open Access Week, we can acknowledge that many barriers remain before those lofty goals are achieved. But the rapid growth in open access literature – now occupying at least 20% of the scholarly publishing sphere – demonstrates that researchers are increasingly embracing the principles of open access. Here at Brock, for example, a majority of faculty surveyed in 2014 agreed that their research should be freely available to all readers.

    Free access is particularly important in less wealthy nations, where researchers as well as the public may not be able to afford costly subscription journals. For example, Brock University Professor Ana Sanchez prioritizes freely sharing her research on tropical diseases affecting poor residents of developing countries.

    Health Sciences professor Ana Sanchez

    “Because it was open, my article reflects the very same principles of my research work: knowledge should serve the people who need it the most,” Sanchez says of Soil-transmitted helminth infections and nutritional status in school-age children from rural communities in Honduras. Published in 2013 in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases – with funding support from the Library Open Access Publishing Fund – this article has attracted more than 8,300 views and 1,300 downloads.

    Learn more about open access – and win a sweet prize! – on Thursday at the Open Access Fact or Fiction Prize Wheel in the Learning Commons, 11 am-12 pm.

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  • Open Access in order to … Collaborate

    Two figures with arrows pointing at each other

    Research is becoming increasingly transdisciplinary and collaborative: it’s common for people located at several different institutions to partner on the same study. But varying levels of access to subscription journal literature can make it tough for everyone on the same research team to access the same articles they all need.

    Open access removes those barriers so that scholarly literature is free for anyone, anywhere – thus making it easier for researchers to collaborate, wherever they are. Open access can also spark entirely new partnerships: let’s say someone just happens to find your study freely available online, realizes you share the same research interests and gets in touch to talk about working together.

    Image of Bareket Falk

    Kinesiology professor Bareket Falk

    Even when open access may not directly influence a research project, it continues to advance the scholarly conversation. An article that’s open is thus open for commentary – as experienced by Brock Kinesiology professor Bareket Falk, who received a grant from the Library Open Access Publishing Fund to help publish an article in the open access journal Scoliosis.

    “Because it was open, it may have attracted more attention. It is difficult to tell,” said Falk. “Nevertheless, a commentary (letter to the editor) was published on the topic and we were invited to comment.”

     

    Open Access week events continue. Don’t miss today’s live stream presentation by Canada Research Chair and copyright scholar Michael Geist @ 12:40 in ST1126.

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  • Open Access in Order to … Gain More Citations

          
    Did you know that open access articles attract more citations than those published in subscription journals? A substantial body of research evidence demonstrates what’s known as the Open Access Citation Advantage. A recent study in the open access journal PLoS ONE found that advantage to be as high as 19% — even when articles had been embargoed (made open access after a certain period). This is because it’s easier for anyone to access a freely available article – meaning that scholars anywhere can cite it in their own papers without worrying if their institution can afford an expensive journal subscription.

    Why does this matter? Higher citations are regarded as a major indicator of research impact – the basis for growth in both individual researchers’ careers and in the profile of their institutions.

    Here at Brock, recipients of funding from the Library Open Access Publishing Fund attest to the benefits of freely sharing their articles:

    “Because it was open, this article received more citations than those I have published the same time period but not open.” —Jian Liu, Professor, Health Sciences

    “Because it was open,  my article attracted higher citations.” — Ping Liang, Associate Professor, Biology.

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  • On Display: Open Access Week Exhibit

    Did you know that open access leads to higher citation counts and raises the profile of Brock research? Scholarly literature made freely available online also enhances collaboration and ensures that the public can access taxpayer-funded research.

    In honour of International Open Access Week, Oct. 23-29, the Library and Learning Commons display cases feature open access resources and statements from Brock researchers on why “open” is important to them.

    The Library will also be celebrating Open Access Week with several other activities, including:

    • Open Access Fact or Fiction Prize Wheel – Oct. 23, 2-3; Oct. 26, 11-12; Library Learning Commons
    • Live stream of Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair, University of Ottawa, discussing the linkages between copyright reform, open access, and open educational resources. Oct. 24, 12:40 pm, Schmon Tower 11th floor, Room 1126
    • Announcement of the recipient of the inaugural Brock University Award for Open Access
    • Library News posts highlighting the impact of open access for Brock researchers

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  • Late Night Hours Resume

    Learning Commons open late

    Learn more about extended hours.

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  • New award for Brock open access champion

    A new award recognizes the potential of open access to broaden the reach of Brock research and transform scholarly publishing.

    Launched in advance of  International Open Access Week, the Brock University Award for Open Access  recognizes a Brock community member who is a champion of freely sharing scholarship with audiences around the globe. In addition to enhancing public access to publicly-funded research, open access benefits both individual researchers and their institutions by promoting higher citation counts, increased community impact and enhanced opportunities for collaboration.

    “The benefits of open access for research dissemination are huge,” said University Librarian Mark Robertson.  “We’re excited to host an award that recognizes the important role that Brock researchers play in championing open access in this changing landscape.”

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

    Open Access, which refers to scholarly digital content that is free to the end user, is a dramatic evolution in how scholarship is disseminated: for centuries, published research has only been available to institutions or individuals who can afford to pay costly fees to access subscription journals.

    “Open access opens up knowledge to everyone,” said Elizabeth Yates, Liaison/Scholarly Communication Librarian. “We want to honour those at Brock who are helping shape a more sustainable and democratic system of scholarly communication.”

    Applications, including a nomination statement and supporting documentation, must be submitted by Oct. 13 at 12 pm. A winner will be announced during Open Access Week, Oct. 23-27.

     

     

     

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  • Library Network Upgrade, Sunday, October 1, 2017

    Updates to networking equipment in the Library’s data centre will take place on Sunday, October 1st from 7 to 7:30 a.m.  During this time, no access to any library resources will be available.

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  • On Display: Voyage of Discovery: French, Italian, German, and Hispanic & Latin American Cultures

    Modern Languages, Literatures & Cultures display pic

    The Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures has mounted a display in the Learning Commons and Thistle hallway showcasing various aspects of French, Italian, German, and Hispanic and Latin American Cultures.

    Come to view the intriguing assortment of items on display and win a prize by successfully answering a skill-testing question each week. The questions will be posted on Facebook and on Twitter, as well as on the MLLC website. Please send your responses to: dbielicki@brocku.ca

    Skill-testing question #2:

    Enter here to take the subway! Name the style in which I was built. The names of both the French and German styles are required!

    Congratulations to Jacob Stickel, winner of week 1’s question.

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  • Welcome to Nicole Nolan, Associate University Librarian

    Nicole Nolan, Associate University Librarian
    A hearty Brock University welcome to Nicole Nolan who joins the leadership team of the James A. Gibson Library this October. Nicole joins us from Western University Libraries.  Read more about Nicole, her passion for libraries and her local roots. Please join us in welcoming Nicole to the Brock Community.

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