Category Archives: OAWeek

OA Week 2018: Bringing It All Together

Open educational resources (OER) – instructional resources made from open materials – are a logical endpoint when discussing open access initiatives.

At UT Libraries, we’re committed to promoting the adoption and creation of OER across campus. Our OER Working Group’s efforts were recently discussed on Tex Libris, and they have included revamping the OER LibGuide and creating a helpful guide for discussing OER with different audiences, among other outreach efforts to raise campus OER awareness.

As we continue to encourage the development and use of OER, we also have to acknowledge associated difficulties, chief among those being lack of funds and lack of time.

These are serious impediments to widespread OER adoption. However, progress is being made to address them. Following the Texas Legislature’s passage of SB 810, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board is in the process of awarding its first round of grants to instructors who will be (re)creating courses using only OER.

At a federal level, the U.S. Department of Education announced that its inaugural $5 million Open Textbooks grant award will go to LibreTexts, a UC Davis effort “to develop an easy-to-use online platform for the construction, customization, and dissemination of open educational resources (OER) to reduce the burdens of unreasonable textbook costs to our students and society”.

At Ohio University, a partnership between Ohio University Libraries and the Office of Instructional Innovation, paired subject liaison librarians with OER-interested faculty members to redesign courses to use only OER as part of the Alt-Textbook Initiative. Through a combination of faculty release time and librarian staff time, the Initiative was able to redesign 24 courses for projected student cost savings of roughly $200,000.

By identifying new and creative partnerships and advocating for legislative funding for OER efforts, the open community is working toward sustainable and scalable OER solutions.

Browse existing OER on OER Commons, OpenStax, and the BC Campus Open Textbook/OER Directory.

Share and discover information about OER activities at campuses across North America on SPARC’s Connect OER platform.


OA Week 2018: Engaging Early and Often

A key component of scholarly communication is, in fact, communication. What’s the point of making information available if engagement doesn’t follow? One way of facilitating increased engagement with scholarly literature is through the hosting of preprint articles on institutional repositories and preprint servers.

Preprints are typically defined as scholarly articles that have not yet undergone peer-review and are ready to be submitted for publication. Generally, preprints include the same overall information as final published articles but lack the added design elements and review that occur in the journal publication process. Most importantly in terms of open access, authors can, in most circumstances, freely post and make available their preprint work online.

Preprints speed up the dissemination of scholarly literature by aligning with researcher timelines – not publisher timelines. Preprint servers like arXiv, bioRxiv, and OSF Preprints typically make author-submitted preprints available for viewing in just a few business days, allowing posted articles to be both timely and relevant to current discussions. In the age of social media and instant reporting, it’s important that scholarly research increase the immediacy with which it’s available to enter public discourse.

Infographic about positive aspects of preprints
Image by Daniela Saderi & Adam Lazenby / CC BY 4.0

To come to any kind of consensus on scholarly research, we need a diverse range of individuals engaging with the research and giving feedback on findings. Open knowledge initiatives like PREreview, a web platform allowing for peer-reviewing of preprint articles, encourage scholarly conversation to occur between individuals whose voices have been historically excluded from this crucial process, such as early career and unaffiliated researchers. PREreview also provides valuable preprint feedback to “be compiled into a review and sent back to the authors, who then have the chance of integrating that feedback into their work” (Welcome to PREreview).

According to responses from about 500 faculty members in a recent UT Libraries’ survey, roughly 65% of faculty respondents have shared their scholarly research in “pre-print or e-print digital archives” in the past 5 years (Ithaka survey, Q10). Nearly 40% of those same respondents believed circulating preprint versions of their work to be “an important way for me to communicate my research findings with my peers” (Ithaka survey, Q12).

Considering submission of your preprint work to a preprint server? Double-check journal submission policies on SHERPA/RoMEO before doing so.

Interested in more results from the UT Libraries’ Ithaka S+R 2018 survey of faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students? View the full results online.


OA Week 2018: Going to the Source

Open data is defined as “research data that is freely available on the internet; permits any user to download, copy, analyze, re-process, pass to software or use for any other purpose; and is without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself” (Open Data). Many funding agencies (NIH, NSF) and journals (Nature, Science) now mandate that researchers share their data upon completion of a research project.

So, what are some of our goals when we make data open?

  • Increasing transparency and public trust in the scientific process,
  • Providing research access to historically excluded user groups, and
  • Making space for previously unexplored areas of scholarship through the promotion of collaboration and interdisciplinarity.

By allowing for and encouraging the free use and reuse of data, we give users the opportunity to more fully understand a researcher’s methods and to draw their own (potentially different) conclusions by engaging directly with the source materials.

To accomplish these goals, however, we need a place to keep all this open data. Open data repositories are quickly growing in popularity and use. Last year, UT got its own in the form of the Texas Data Repository. While only current UT students, faculty, and staff can freely host and share their own research data here, anyone can view and download posted datasets. Uploaded datasets are also assigned their own DOI so they can be cited in future research, and data creators can receive credit for citable content, further incentivizing and normalizing data sharing in the research process.

Other popular open data repositories include The Dataverse Project, Dryad, and ICPSR.

To search or browse a registry of open data repositories, visit


OA Week 2018: Emphasis on Access

With a name like open access, it goes without saying that accessing scholarly literature is not just an important piece of OA initiatives, but a primary goal.

One popular method of ensuring access to open materials has been through the utilization of institutional repositories. Institutional repositories are “digital collections capturing and preserving the intellectual output of a single or multi-university community” (The Case for Institutional Repositories: A SPARC Position Paper).

You may have heard about UT’s very own institutional repository, Texas ScholarWorks, which turned 10 years old this year. (They sure do grow up fast.) However, you may not have known that a majority of universities have their very own repositories, and they are also full of open scholarly resources.

In the past, there has been no way for users to search across these repositories simultaneously, making it difficult for researchers to locate materials posted outside of their own institution’s repository. A new tool, Unpaywall, is quickly breaking down this barrier to access. “Unpaywall is a free web-browser extension that hunts for papers in more than 5,300 repositories worldwide, including preprint servers and institutional databases” (Unpaywall finds free versions of paywalled papers).

Available as both a web search and a browser extension, Unpaywall makes it possible for individuals to quickly and easily locate free versions of scholarly articles legally hosted in institutional and organizational repositories. When using the Unpaywall browser extension, users viewing an article with a paywall will see a green or orange open lock graphic on the right-hand side of their screen if an open access version of the text is available. Clicking the lock graphic will take users directly to the open access content.

With planned Zotero and Scopus integrations in the works, Unpaywall is rapidly increasing the visibility of open scholarship hosted in institutional repositories and allowing researchers unaffiliated with an institution to access significantly more materials without hitting a paywall.

A comprehensive listing of repositories is searchable on OpenDOAR, a global directory of open access repositories.

Unpaywall’s repository source list is searchable and downloadable from their website.


Open Access Week 2018

It’s that time of year again – Open Access Week kicks off today! This year’s theme is Designing Equitable Foundations for Open Knowledge.

OA Week 2018 Banner Website

Open knowledge initiatives are inherently disruptive, labor-intensive, and time-consuming. When we design and implement these initiatives, we need to think carefully about who is likely to benefit and where there is potential for harm. Unfortunately, labor and time are finite resources. To generate real structural change in how we create and disseminate information, we must base our efforts on sustainable platforms. Otherwise, we risk open knowledge becoming just a “movement” and not the standard in academic practice.

This week on Open Access at UT, we’ll be highlighting some emerging and established tools that are helping the open community build the equitable foundations necessary for sustained growth and the resulting benefits to researchers, instructors, and learners.

Interested in learning more about open access? Check out the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) page on the topic.

Curious how other institutions are participating in OA Week? Follow the conversation on Twitter:

Free events for Open Access Week

Open Access Week is Oct. 22-28th. There will be several free online events taking place that week that anyone can participate in. Here are a few:

OA Week 2017 Summary

Thank you to everyone who helped with Open Access Week 2017 activities! I wanted to share with you a summary of our celebration this year.

In person activities:

Sign up for an ORCID ID
Tuesday, Oct. 24th, from 1-3 in the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) Building
18 students, faculty, and staff engaged with us about ORCID

Open Access Trivia Game
Wednesday, Oct. 25th, from 12-2 in the lobby of the Perry Castañeda Library (PCL)
We gave away 68 prizes, which means we talked to at least that many people. The majority of them were students, but we also talked to some faculty, staff, and visitors.

Data & Donuts: Archiving & Publishing Research Data with Texas Data Repository
Friday, Oct. 27th, from 3-4 in PCL Learning Lab 1
8 students, staff and faculty attended. Most of the attendees stayed late to continue asking questions and one person has already followed up with the presenter.

Posters in branch libraries
The posters & whiteboards we put up in branch libraries didn’t generate a lot of interaction in the form of people sharing their thoughts. I heard from folks at the branch libraries that they did notice students reading the informational poster – so hopefully we were able to get the message out.

Online activities:

TexLibris blog:
We had four guest blog posts on TexLibris, the Libraries’ main blog, this month.

Those posts, and the one I wrote, have collected 164 page views so far this month.

Open Access at UT blog:
Our posts for OA Week on the Libraries’ Open Access blog collected 65 page views last week

Research Data Services blog:
The Research Data Services blog collected 45 page views last week

Our OA Week tweets earned 3700 impressions (number of times people saw the tweet) and 43 engagements (clicking on, retweeting, following, etc) last week.

If you would like to access any of the materials we used for OA Week, they are available in Texas ScholarWorks:

Open Access Week 2017

Knowledge unfortunately isn’t free.

Much of the research being conducted at universities, colleges, and institutes around the world is written up by professors, graduate students, and research associates and published in toll-access (subscription) journals. Anyone lacking a subscription to that journal will not be able to access the articles published there. This creates a serious access problem for many people across the globe.

An alternative method of publishing, called Open Access, is gaining in popularity and it allows for anyone to read the results of research for free.

Why should I care?

The short version:

expensive journals = less access to research results, especially for those outside of wealthy higher-ed institutions

less access = less research being done and/or research not happening quickly because of access barriers

The long version:

Most scholarly work is currently published through toll-access journals. The work is given to the journals for free by researchers and faculty at colleges and universities – they do this in exchange for the prestige that comes with publishing their work. Many times the research being described in the journals was funded by public agencies such as the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. These journals charge a subscription fee for access to the articles they publish. Sometimes the subscription fees are quite reasonable and other times they are outrageously expensive. At most colleges and universities, the Library assumes responsibility for the subscription and for providing access.

For students, researchers, and faculty at wealthy institutions this arrangement has worked relatively well for the past 100+ years. For those researchers at less-wealthy institutions or those unaffiliated with a college or university, it has created an access barrier that makes research difficult. Without a subscription to a journal, a researcher needs to try contacting colleagues at other institutions that do have a subscription or needs to email the authors to see if they will send a copy. These techniques are not always successful which means those researchers are left without access to information they need.

In addition, costs for scholarly journals have been rising rapidly at rates outpacing what libraries can anticipate and plan for based on the inflation rate.  This has created an unfortunate situation in which libraries have to cancel some journal subscriptions and purchase fewer books each year in order to keep up with price increases for the journal subscriptions that are considered critical to maintain.

What is Open Access?

Open Access (OA) is the free, immediate, online availability to scholarly works without significant copyright or licensing restrictions. Put another way, it means access to scholarly and creative works without price and permission barriers.

There are two main routes to OA:

  • publish in an open access journal – this means the work is freely available from the moment of publication. This is sometimes called gold open access.
  • Deposit a copy of the work in a freely available archive – this generally happens either at the time of publication or after publication. This is sometimes called green open access.

What can I do?

As a student you can support OA by asking your professors if they publish their work openly – either in open access journals or in an openly available archive. You can also deposit your own work in the University of Texas at Austin online archive called Texas ScholarWorks.

As a researcher or faculty member you can publish your work in an open access journal, and/or you can deposit copies of your work in Texas ScholarWorks. And, you can start discussions in your department about how faculty and researchers are evaluated for promotion and tenure.

For anyone at UT:

  • Stop by tables we’ll have set up during Open Access Week. We’ll have swag, treats, games, and enthusiastic librarians who can answer your OA-related questions.
    • Tuesday, Oct. 24th, from 1:00-3:00pm in CLA on the main level
    • Wednesday, Oct. 25th, from 12:00-2:00pm in the PCL lobby
  • Come to Data & Donuts on Friday, Oct. 27th at 3:00 to learn about sharing data with the Texas Data Repository
  • Tweet about open access using #openaccess
  • Read about, write about, and talk about open access
  • Check out and share the resources we’ve created

What is Texas ScholarWorks?

Texas ScholarWorks (TSW) is an online archive managed by UT Libraries. The goal of TSW is to provide open, online access to the products of the University’s research and scholarship and to preserve these works for future generations. TSW is highly indexed by Google and managed by the Libraries for long-term preservation. It’s easy for members of the UT Austin community (faculty, researchers, students, and staff) to share their work through TSW. Simply check out the FAQs or send an email to tsw at utlists dot utexas dot edu for information about how to submit.

What is Texas Data Repository?

Texas Data Repository (TDR) is an online repository for research data managed by UT Libraries. The goal of TDR is to provide a platform that makes it easier for researchers to collaborate on projects and share the data resulting from their research. It’s easy for members of the UT Austin community (faculty, researchers, students, and staff) to share their work through TDR. Simply check out the documentation or send an email to datamanagement at lib dot utexas dot edu for information about how to submit.

OA Week Promotional Materials

We’re getting excited for Open Access Week 2017 and wanted to share some of the posters we’ve created. They are all licensed CC-BY, so go ahead and reuse/remix them!

Sticker Shock
OA and OER
Paying for Articles – Don’t Do It!
Library Haiku
ORCID Identifiers

We’re having three activities for OA Week this year.

Tuesday, Oct. 24th, 1:00-3:00pm in CLA
Stop by the CLA main floor, talk to us about ORCID, and get a cookie

Wednesday, Oct. 25th, 12:00-2:00pm in the PCL Lobby
We’ll be having a trivia game event in the lobby. Those who participate will get prizes.

Friday, Oct. 27th, 3:00-4:00 in PCL Learning Lab 1
Data & Donuts – Archiving and Publishing Research Data with the Texas Data Repository