The RIOT discussion on December 15 was all about open access. Sarah led off with a question for all of us sparked by her post – is there a place to incorporate Open Access and OERs into one-shots?
We had an excellent discussion about how this does and could work in both undergraduate and graduate classrooms, and what the challenges are. Many of us already talk about open access journals in our undergraduate classes and find that students get very engaged when you talk about the price of journal/database subscriptions (about $10m/year for UTL) and “behind the scenes” information about the Libraries. This line of discussion comes up in the context of evaluating information, including understanding peer-review, and is easy to demonstrate when talking about GoogleScholar. Nobody has intentionally brought it up or built a lesson around it in undergrad classes, though, and there was some discussion of what this might look like. Ideas included using Colleen’s infographic from OA week to spark discussion or asking students to look for information in both an open access portal (such as DOAJ) and a database and compare. This might work better in a class with a social justice component.
When talking about open access in graduate student classrooms, there are natural ties to their own publishing activities. Janelle works with one seminar class where she spends 1 of her 2 sessions with them talking about this very issue. Because social justice is a big component of the College of Education, she is able to frame her discussion of OA this way. As she puts it, she asks them to “think about how what they are creating can’t be accessed by the people they are most trying to help.” PG talked about the importance of continuing education to social workers and how that lends itself to a discussion of OA.
We also talked about how to tie discussions of OA and Creative Commons to other creative activities besides scholarly publishing. Sidney talked about how many of her grad students and faculty want to use other people’s work in their own creative work (often without citation) but do not want to openly share their own. There are fears that sharing your own work under a creative commons license will lead to others profiting from it or using it in ways with which you disagree. This happens in the College of Ed, too, where people are training to be teachers (or may already be teachers) who heavily borrow from each other’s work already. Janelle encourages them to think about how to share their work with others for the benefit of those they teach.
One challenge everyone discussed is how to be an activist about this topic with or in front of people who are participating in the system. For example, when you are teaching undergraduates and talking about changing the model for scholarly publishing, the faculty member in the room is often a participant in that model. Graduate students often have to participate in that model when they get on the tenure track to achieve tenure. The trick is to find a balance between raising awareness about the issue and still showing why using library journals/databases now is important in the current environment. Janelle often explains to her users that if the model did change, the $10m we spend on subscriptions now could go to support research instead.
The discussion went on past the hour and included some non-instruction related threads such as:
- the importance of educating faculty to write OA into their grant proposals so that the fees for publishing in OA journals are covered
- the difference between disciplines and how the sciences are more embracing of OA and use different metrics
- trying to connect with the people on campus who make course packs so that we don’t ask students to pay copyright fees for articles we already subscribe to
- wishing there was a simple way to add links to articles in our databases within Canvas – the current model is too much of a barrier for faculty and we don’t have the staff to do it for them, although it would be a great cost savings for students
We also had some ideas for OA week that Michele will pass along to Colleen, including having giant checks in the PCL lobby to clearly show the costs of our current system, and taking some undergrad and grad papers, and even a dissertation, and showing how much each “cost” to create (basically adding up subscription fees for the journals they accessed).
Michele also promised to send around the ACRL IL/Schol Comm white paper from a few years ago, which can be found here – http://acrl.ala.org/intersections/.