Students, staff and faculty took part in Random Acts of Kindness Day across campus and in the community on Friday November 2nd. In the Library, the day was celebrated with spontaneous candy & highlighter drops to delighted students. The Learning Commons sported a very successful card making station facilitated by volunteers from Student Life & Community Experience.
Articles by author: Evelyn Smith
Late night extended hours in the Matheson Learning Commons have resumed for the fall term.
- Open to 2:30 AM Sunday through Thursday.
- Approximately 400 study spots are available.
- The Ask Us desk and floors 5-10 will close at regular times (9 PM on Sunday, 11 PM Monday – Thursday).
- Library services, such as borrowing and research help will not be available during Late Night Study hours.
- Friday & Saturday closing times remain the same (some exceptions during the exam period).
The chance to hear from a compelling advocate for open educational resources has propelled graduate student Fares Belkhiria into using and advocating for OER in his own teaching and research.
Belkhiria, a second-year student at Goodman School of Business for Master of Science in Management, attended last December’s Library-CPI presentation featuring Rajiv Jhangiani, one of Canada’s leading advocates for greater access and affordability of teaching and learning materials. The event piqued Belkhiria’s interest in OER and he continues to correspond with Jhangiani about these issues. His enthusiasm and record of involvement with “open” made Belkhiria’s application for the Brock University Library OpenCon Scholarship a stand out.
Belkhiria, who also works as a graduate teaching assistant and guest lecturer within Goodman’s MBA International Program, will attend OpenCon – an international conference focusing on open education, open access and open data – in Toronto Nov. 2-4.
The Library offers this scholarship to support professional development for Brock graduate students and to reflect its commitment to transforming the mechanisms of scholarly communication.
A strong record of advocacy for openly sharing knowledge has resulted in Dolana Mogadime, Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Studies, winning the Brock University Award for Open Access.
Mogadime has contributed to enhanced knowledge production and exchange via several open access academic and professional communities of practice. Most noteworthy are her Equity Matters blogs through the Federation of Humanities and Social Sciences as well as her dedicated work as Editor-in-Chief of the open access publication Brock Education: a Journal of Educational Research. Mogadime continues to champion open access knowledge exchange on several fronts: on campus at Brock University, national and internationally. Her contributions have made difference to both academic and professional learning communities.
The award comes with a $2,500 grant which Dolana intends to apply to an open access book project.
Aaron Swartz was a young man who, in his own words, wanted to save the world. Instead, and unfortunately, on January 11, 2013, at the age of twenty-six, Aaron Swartz hung himself. News of his death travelled quickly and for many people, his death was a step back in the movement towards open information.
Swartz was an extremely intelligent individual. He was reading novels by the time he was in kindergarten and by 14 he was working as a computer programmer / software developer. Swartz was instrumental in developing licensing for freely sharing material and was a developer of the popular social-networking news site “Reddit”. As Swartz’s career progressed, he grew to hate corporations and working in corporate life surrounded by rules. Swartz eventually decided that he no longer wanted to work with computers and became passionate about advocating for freedom of information rights. Swartz did not believe people should have to pay to use software or access information. He became famous for using his internet account at MIT to hack JSTOR and download millions of academic journal articles. Swartz believed there was no wrong in his actions, nor did he see his actions as criminal and therefore declined a plea bargain. Instead he faced charges of wire fraud, and 11 violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Swartz was strongly opposed to the idea of accessing information as “stealing”:
“Stealing is wrong. But downloading isn’t stealing. If I shoplift an album from my local record store, no one else can buy it. But when I download a song, no one loses it and another person gets it. There’s no ethical problem. The evidence that downloading hurts sales is weak, but even if downloading did hurt sales, that doesn’t make it unethical. Libraries, video rental places, and used book stores
(none of which pay the artist) hurt sales too. Is it unethical to use them? (2004)”
In 2008, Swartz co-authored and posted an article titled “Guerilla Open Access Manifesto”, which was to be used as evidence at his trial to prove his intention of distributing all of the articles he downloaded from JSTOR:
“Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves. The world’s entire scientific and cultural heritage, published over centuries in books and journals, is increasingly being digitized and locked up by a handful of private corporations… Providing scientific articles to those at elite universities in the First World, but not to children in the Global South? It’s outrageous and unacceptable…We can fight back. Those with access to these resources—students, librarians, scientists—you have been given a privilege. You get to feed at this banquet of knowledge while the rest of the world is locked out. But you need not—indeed, morally, you cannot—keep this privilege for yourselves. You have a duty to share it with the world.”
Swartz died before his trial began. His life as a genius who stood up for freedom and fairness has been immortalized in the film The Internet’s Own Boy. Please join us for a free screening of the Internet’s Own Boy on Wednesday, October 24th from 10am-12pm in TH253. Tim Ribaric, Acting Head, Map Data GIS Library / Digital Scholarship Lab, will discuss the importance of the work Aaron Swartz was doing and how his activism is relevant for today’s libraries in the context of open source data.
(Quotes from Aaron Swartz’s Blog: http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog)
Blog post by Alicia Floyd.
On September 5th, 2018 the documentary film Paywall: The Business of Scholarship made its global premiere. For those who are not entirely familiar with the world of academic publishing, this film provides an enlightening background on the process researchers take to publish articles and how members of the public then access that information. The film draws attention to restricted access to knowledge, specifically scientific journal publications. Many students, researchers, and industry professionals cannot afford to pay the exorbitant prices charged by subscription journal publishers. This has been described as “holding scientific knowledge to ransom”.
The movie educates viewers on the 35-40% profit margins made by publishing giants. These profits are significantly higher than corporate giants such as Google, Facebook, Apple and Walmart. Further, the fact that much of the research owned by publishing giants has been publicly funded is also brought to light. Governments are funding research that is then held by companies such as Elsevier who charge tax payers to access that same information that their tax dollars originally paid for.
The practice of charging individuals to access journal articles is especially detrimental to health professionals, doctors, researchers, and even patients who cannot access information that could have a significant impact on medicine. The practice of charging for information also leads to a prejudicial dissemination of knowledge. For universities and medical professionals in countries where the funds are not as readily available as they may be in the United States, their studies and more importantly, their treatment of patients is critically impacted by their inability to access paywalled medical information. Often times, individuals are paying for articles that prove not to contain the information they were looking for to begin with and in countries where there are no budgets for such expenditures, it is not possible for them to waste money on articles that they can’t be certain contain beneficial information.
Paywall: The Business of Scholarship clearly highlights the negative effects of article paywalls and provides a background on how the lack of access to knowledge has sprung the OA movement to “democratize information.” Open access promotes inclusivity and efficiency and the ideas that “scholarship must be open in order for scholarship to happen” and “scholarship is a conversation and the only way to have a conversation is to know what everyone is saying.”
To learn more about Paywall’s and Open Access, the James A. Gibson Library will be screening the documentary on October 23rd, 9-11 am, Library Classroom B.
Film quotation source: https://paywallthemovie.com/
Blog post by Alicia Floyd.
The Theme of the 2018 International Open Access Week is “Designing Equitable Foundations for Open Knowledge”. As Brock University Library staff were planning for OA Week, the question arose; “What is this theme trying to get across … what does it mean?”
Nick Shockey, Director of Programs & Engagement, SPARC describes the theme as follows: “This year’s theme reflects a scholarly system in transition. While governments, funders, universities, publishers, and scholars are increasingly adopting open policies and practices, how these are actually implemented is still in flux. As open becomes the default, all stakeholders must be intentional about designing these new, open systems to ensure that they are inclusive, equitable, and truly serve the needs of a diverse global community.”
A key concept in this year’s theme is equity. By definition equity is “the quality of being fair and reasonable in a way that gives equal treatment to everyone.” (Collins Dictionary, 2018) It is reasonable and perhaps ethical to say that everyone, especially individuals in an academic environment should have access to knowledge. Moves toward open knowledge are gaining momentum, such as incentives for researchers to share their work openly and awareness surrounding the importance and benefits of publishing in an open format is growing. However, much work still needs to be done. Universities are still paying publishing giants exorbitant fees to provide students, faculty and staff access to thousands of paywalled journals. Shockey raises some interesting questions in his blog; “How do we ensure sustainability models used for open access are not exclusionary? What are inequities that open systems can recreate or reinforce? Whose voices are prioritized? Who is excluded? How does what counts as scholarship perpetuate bias? What are areas where openness might not be appropriate?” Advocates and supporters of Open Access are actively addressing these concerns through ongoing conversations and initiatives to continuously increase inclusive, accessible scholarship.
Brock University is taking steps to support and promote Open Access. Learn more about Open Access, O.A. platforms and scholarly communication at Brock University. For more information on International Open Access week visit: www.openaccessweek.org.
Blog post by Alicia Floyd.
Brock Library will celebrate International Open Access Week – Oct. 22-28 – with events highlighting the need to develop systems of sharing research which are open, inclusive and equitable.
Please join us as we explore and celebrate the importance of open access to scholarship:
Monday Oct. 22
Open Access Fact or Fiction Prize Wheel — 10:30-11:30 am, Library Learning Commons: come spin the wheel and win a prize!
Tuesday Oct. 23
Movie screening & discussion (popcorn will be provided):
Paywall: The Business of Scholarship — multi-faceted exploration of the high financial and social costs of scholarly publishing
9-11 am, Library Classroom B
Wednesday Oct. 24
Movie screening & discussion (popcorn will be provided):
The Internet’s Own Boy — The story of programming prodigy and open activist Aaron Swartz, who took his own life at the age of 26
Thursday Oct. 25
Webinar: Exploring Open Educational Resources — 12-1 pm, ST1126
Friday Oct. 26
Open Access Fact or Fiction Prize Wheel – 10:30-11:30 am, Library Learning Commons: come spin the wheel and win a prize!
We will also celebrate Open Access Week by announcing the winner of the Brock University Award for Open Access and the Brock Library OpenCon Scholarship. And be sure to check out our displays and information about open access in Library and Learning Commons display cases.
For more information, contact Elizabeth Yates, Liaison and Scholarly Communication Librarian, at email@example.com
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.
Viewers are encouraged to choose an image or artifact from the exhibit which they find intriguing or beautiful, and share why in a submission to firstname.lastname@example.org. Prizes will be awarded for winning submissions (pick-up in MCA-240).
The MLLC display runs from September 24 to October 5, 2018. Submission deadline: October 5, 2018.