Are you: ...a scientist hoping to maximize the audience for your research? ...a student who's tried to access a journal article through Google and hit a paywall? ...an early career researcher concerned about establishing your scholarly reputation? ...a taxpayer who wants to be able to access government-funded health research? If so, then Open Access is relevant to you! This week, Snell Library is celebrating International Open Access Week, which highlights the importance of expanding access to research on a global scale. Open Access Week is an international event now in its eighth year – its purpose is to raise awareness about inequities in access to information and promote change in the publishing industry. Traditionally, researchers access information they need through a personal subscription, buying a book, or accessing information through a library. But what if your library doesn’t have a subscription? Or, what happens when you graduate? Or, what about researchers in developing countries where the costs of access are out of reach? (Journal subscriptions can cost thousands of dollars.) These are some of the reasons why opening access to research is important. The theme of International Open Access Week this year is "Generation Open" – highlighting the importance of students and early career researchers as advocates for change. Snell Library has several events planned to celebrate OA Week; given the theme this year, I'm very pleased that for the first time, one of our events features a Northeastern student's work! And be sure to stop by our table in the lobby of Snell every day this week (11:30-1:30) to learn more and pick up a totebag, laser-cut bookmark, or pen! Schedule of Events Monday, October 20 3:00 pm-4:30 pm 90 SL Webcast: "Generation Open" Panel Discussion Speakers will discuss the importance of students and early career researchers in the transition to Open Access and explore how changes in scholarly publishing affect scholars and researchers at different stages of their careers. Refreshments will be served. Wednesday, October 22 3:30 pm-8:30 pm Digital Scholarship Commons (211 SL) Wikipedia Edit-a-thon Join us to improve Wikipedia’s coverage of under-represented groups in Massachusetts and U.S. history. This hack-a-thon style session will focus on editing and updating Wikipedia pages in a group setting. Participants do not need any prior experience with Wikipedia, just bring a laptop and a power supply. Refreshments will be served. Thursday, October 23 12:00 pm-1:00 pm DMC 3D Printing Studio 3D Printing Presentation: Andreas Aghamianz Northeastern student Andreas Aghamianz (COE '18) will discuss the process of fabricating and assembling his open-sourced inMoov robotic hand. Thursday, October 23 2:00 pm-3:00 pm 90 SL Webcast: The Right Metrics for Generation Open Stacy Konkiel of Impactstory presents a guide to getting credit for practicing open science. Refreshments will be served.
It's been two years since I last posted about textbooks, and with classes starting this week, I thought it was a good time to write an update to that post. Since then, a few things have changed.
First, the Bad News...The cost of textbooks just keeps going up. The New York Times article from October 2009 that I cited in my previous post estimated that college students spent, on average, between $700 and $1,000 each year on textbooks. Fast forward to August 2012... the Wall Street Journal just reported that the average student's textbook bill is now up to $1,213 a year. (Of course, you can always try selling a purchased textbook back to the bookstore at the end of the term, but, having stood in the buyback line myself recently, I know as well as you do that it's not exactly a money-making opportunity - if you're able to sell it back at all, that is. Textbook editions change so frequently that the copy you just bought may well be worthless in only a few months.)
Okay, How About Some Good News?There now are more alternatives to paying the full amount for a new, hardcover textbook. Textbook rental programs have really taken off in the past couple of years - the NU bookstore has been offering a rental program since Fall 2010, with both print and e-textbooks available for rental. If you're taking ENGL 1102 this semester, for example, you can choose between buying a new or used copy of Ways of Reading, or rent a copy for about half the cost of buying a new one. Rental can be a good option when you can't picture yourself referring back to your dogeared copy after you're done with the course. Online rental companies are also popular - Chegg has been around for a while, and Amazon just got into the textbook rental market, too (although at least one blogger found their selection a bit "skimpy"). It seems like we've been hearing a lot about e-textbooks for a long time now, but the iPad has really helped that market take off in the last year. More publishers are working to convert their traditional textbooks into iPad apps, which allow for interactivity in ways that an e-book on, say, a Kindle doesn't offer. It looks like publishers are realizing that an e-textbook can be much more than a PDF. "Open" textbooks are also gaining traction, as more faculty choose to adopt them for their courses. Publishers like Flat World Knowledge and Boundless offer online learning materials that are free or available for purchase on a sliding scale. Individual faculty are creating open educational resources (OERs) as well - here at Northeastern, Dr. Albert-László Barabási's network science course website offers a great example of how OERs can be much more than static texts.
What's the Bottom Line?This is a great time to start investigating alternatives to traditional printed textbooks - and as you can see, there are lots of options. Faculty - I encourage you to "think outside the shrinkwrap," if you're not already doing so. Students - investigate options and talk to your instructors. Let them know that you want to see textbooks become more affordable. And, if nothing else, ask them to put a desk copy of the textbook on reserve at the library! Update, 9/10/12: If you’re interested in learning about new developments in this area, I maintain an up-to-date list of links to news stories and blog posts on Delicious (also available as an RSS feed).
On April 17, 2012, Harvard University's Faculty Advisory Council on the Library issued an open memo to the Harvard community stating that "major periodical subscriptions cannot be sustained" due to high prices and unreasonable publisher practices. If this topic sounds familiar, it's because it's already been in the news recently - in January, mathematician Timothy Gowers-Lee blogged about these issues specifically as they relate to publishing giant Elsevier. In February, a website was created where scholars could sign on to a boycott of Elsevier; as of today over 10,000 signatures have been gathered. The Harvard memo avoids mentioning specific companies, instead referring to "certain publishers" that receive close to $3.75 million per year from Harvard for its subscriptions to their journals. Harvard's expenses for online journal content from just two major providers has increased 145% over the past six years. The memo states, "The Faculty Advisory Council to the Library, representing university faculty in all schools and in consultation with the Harvard Library leadership, reached this conclusion: major periodical subscriptions, especially to electronic journals published by historically key providers, cannot be sustained: continuing these subscriptions on their current footing is financially untenable. Doing so would seriously erode collection efforts in many other areas, already compromised." Harvard University is certainly not alone in struggling with rising subscription costs - it's been discussed in the professional literature since the 1990s, when publishers introduced the "big deal" pricing model of requiring libraries to subscribe to less important journals along with their subscriptions to essential titles. Only recently, though, have the mainstream media begun reporting on publishers' questionable practices. Although it's too soon to say whether the Harvard memo will have any direct impact on the industry, it's definitely increasing public awareness of an issue that not only affects Harvard but is jeopardizing the financial sustainability of academia as a whole. Recommended reading: ⇒ Full text of the Faculty Advisory Council Memorandum on Journal Pricing ⇒ "Harvard Now Spending Nearly $3.75 Million on Academic Journal Bundles," The Atlantic, April 23, 2012 ⇒ "The wealthiest university on Earth can’t afford its academic journal subscriptions," io9.com, April 24, 2012 ⇒ "If Harvard Can’t Afford Academic Journal Subscriptions, Maybe It’s Time for an Open Access Model," Time, April 26, 2012 ⇒ "Harvard panel pushes benefits of free journals," The Boston Globe, April 28, 2012
Mega-publisher Elsevier has been garnering some negative publicity of late. Last month it was revealed that its political action group funded the re-election campaigns of Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), one of the authors of the controversial Research Works Act (H.R. 3699) that would prohibit open access to articles resulting from government-funded research. [Update: On 2/27/2012, Elsevier announced it no longer backed the Research Works Act, and the sponsoring legislators subsequently announced they will not pursue the bill further.] Now, thousands of scholars are signing an agreement to boycott Elsevier in protest of its high subscription prices, its practice of bundling journals (so libraries are forced to subscribe to titles they don't want), and its support of restrictive legislation like SOPA, PIPA, and the Research Works Act. Although members of the library community have protested such practices by Elsevier and other large publishers for years, this marks the first occasion that members of the research community--the people who write the articles and serve as peer reviewers or editors--have taken a large-scale stand. Timothy Gowers, a prominent mathematician, wrote a blog post on January 21, 2012, in which he discussed the issues outlined above and asked, "Why can’t we just tell Elsevier that we no longer wish to publish with them?" A reader took up the challenge and created a website where scholars could register their dissatisfaction and refusal to provide free labor for Elsevier in the form of research, peer review, and editorial duties. Within its first ten days of existence, the website has collected the signatures of over 2,700 scholars worldwide. The boycott has received a lot of media attention, perhaps especially because it has grown so exponentially in such a short period of time. And many writers are asking: because scholars are both producers and consumers of research journals, do they have the ability to disrupt the scholarly publishing system and effect lasting change? Further reading:
- Elsevier’s Alicia Wise on the RWA, the West Wing, and Universal Access - Richard Poynder's "Open and Shut?" blog, 2/8/2012
- "Thousands of Scientists Vow to Boycott Elsevier to Protest Journal Prices" - Science, 2/1/2012
- "As Journal Boycott Grows, Elsevier Defends Its Practices" - Chronicle of Higher Education, 1/31/2012
- "Testify: The Open-Science Movement Catches Fire" - Wired.com, 1/30/2012
- "Elsevier's Publishing Model Might be About to Go Up in Smoke" - Forbes.com, 1/28/2012
Researchers at Northestern University published 29 articles in open-access scholarly journals in 2011. By choosing open access journals over those that are restricted to readers with subscriptions, our researchers are helping to increase knowledge on a global level. In fact, more Northeastern authors published in the open-access journal PLoS ONE than in any other journal, open or subscription-based, in 2011. Watch for my next post on open-access books produced by Northeastern authors in 2011! For more information about Open Access and why it's important, check out our research guide on the topic. Complete list of articles: (NU authors are listed in bold.) Altaboli, Ahamed, and Yingzi Lin. 2011. Investigating effects of screen layout elements on interface and screen design aesthetics. Advances in Human-Computer Interaction 2011, 659758. Published online: 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/659758 Bagrow, James P., Dashun Wang, and Albert-Laszlo Barabasi. 2011. Collective response of human populations to large-scale emergencies. PLoS ONE 6(3), e17680. Published online: March 30, 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0017680 Bellon, Marc, Enrique F. Moreno, and Fidel A. Schaposnik. 2011. A note on holography and phase transitions. Advances in High Energy Physics 2011, 917127. Published online: 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/917127 Benson, Ryan W., Matthew D. Norton, Ida Lin, William S. Du Comb, and Veronica G. Godoy. 2011. An active site aromatic triad in Escherichia coli DNA pol IV coordinates cell survival and mutagenesis in different DNA damaging agents. PLoS ONE 6(5), e19944. Published online: May 17, 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0019944 Carneiro, Katia, Claudia Donnet, Tomas Rejtar, Barry L. Karger, Gustavo A. Barisone, Elva Diaz, Sandhya Kortagere, Joan M. Lemire, and Michael Levin. 2011. Histone deacetylase activity is necessary for left-right patterning during vertebrate development. BMC Developmental Biology 11, 29. Published online: May 20, 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-213x-11-29 Combosch, David J., and Steven V. Vollmer. 2011. Population genetics of an ecosystem-defining reef coral Pocillopora damicornis in the Tropical Eastern Pacific. PLoS ONE 6(8), e21200. Published online: August 9, 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0021200 Dauth, Stephanie, Ruxandra F. Sirbulescu, Silvia Jordans, Maren Rehders, Linda Avena, Julia Oswald, Alexander Lerchl, Paul Saftig, and Klaudia Brix. 2011. Cathepsin K deficiency in mice induces structural and metabolic changes in the central nervous system that are associated with learning and memory deficits. BMC Neuroscience 12, 74. Published online: July 27, 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2202-12-74 DeMaso, Christina R., Ismar Kovacevic, Alper Uzun, and Erin J. Cram. 2011. Structural and functional evaluation of C. elegans filamins FLN-1 and FLN-2. PLoS ONE 6(7), e22428. Published online: July 25, 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0022428 Diaz-Gonzalez, Rosario, F. Matthew Kuhlmann, Cristina Galan-Rodriguez, Luciana da Silva, Manuel Madeira Saldivia, Caitlin E. Karver, Ana Rodriguez, Stephen M. Beverley, Miguel Navarro, and Michael P. Pollastri. 2011. The susceptibility of trypanosomatid pathogens to PI3/mTOR kinase inhibitors affords a new opportunity for drug repurposing. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 5(8), e1297. Published online: August 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0001297 Evans, James D., Suresh Peddigari, Kathy R. Chaurasiya, Mark C. Williams, and Sandra L. Martin. 2011. Paired mutations abolish and restore the balanced annealing and melting activities of ORF1p that are required for LINE-1 retrotransposition. Nucleic Acids Research 39(13), 5611-5621. Published online: March 26, 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkr171 Fiamegos, Yiannis C., Panagiotis L. Kastritis, Vassiliki Exarchou, Haley Han, Alexandre M. J. J. Bonvin, Jacques Vervoort, Kim Lewis, Michael R. Hamblin, and George P. Tegos. 2011. Antimicrobial and efflux pump inhibitory activity of caffeoylquinic acids from Artemisia absinthium against gram-positive pathogenic bacteria. PLoS ONE 6(4), e18127. Published online: April 4, 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0018127 Hasson, Christopher J., Ross H. Miller, and Graham E. Caldwell. 2011. Contractile and elastic ankle joint muscular properties in young and older adults. PLoS ONE 6(1), e15953. Published online: January 11, 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0015953 Hryshko, Dmytro, María José Luengo-Prado, Bent E. Sørensen. 2011. Childhood determinants of risk aversion: The long shadow of compulsory education. Quantitative Economics 2(1), 37-72. Published online: March 8, 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.3982/QE2 Iacob, Roxana E., Jianming Zhang, Nathanael S. Gray, and John R. Engen. 2011. Allosteric interactions between the myristate- and ATP-site of the Abl kinase. PLoS ONE 6(1), e15929. Published online: January 10, 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0015929 Kemper, Kathi, Sally Bulla, Deborah Krueger, Mary Jane Ott, Jane A. McCool, and Paula Gardiner. 2011. Nurses' experiences, expectations, and preferences for mind-body practices to reduce stress. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 11, 26. Published online: April 11, 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1472-6882-11-26 Kranzer, Katharina, Nienke van Schaik, Unice Karmue, Keren Middelkoop, Elaine Sebastian, Stephen D. Lawn, Robin Wood, and Linda-Gail Bekker. 2011. High prevalence of self-reported undiagnosed HIV despite high coverage of HIV testing: a cross-sectional population based sero-survey in South Africa. PLoS ONE 6(9), e25244. Published online: September 28, 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0025244 Krieger, Nancy, Pamela D. Waterman, Anna Kosheleva, Jarvis T. Chen, Dana R. Carney, Kevin W. Smith, Gary G. Bennett, David R. Williams, Elmer Freeman, Beverley Russell, Gisele Thornhill, Kristin Mikolowsky, Rachel Rifkin, and Latrice Samuel. 2011. Exposing racial discrimination: implicit & explicit measures - the My Body, My Story study of 1005 US-born black & white community health center members. PLoS ONE 6(11), e27636. Published online: November 18, 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0027636 Lin, H., Tanmoy Das, L. A. Wray, S.-Y. Xu, M. Z. Hasan, and A. Bansil. 2011. An isolated Dirac cone on the surface of ternary tetradymite-like topological insulators. New Journal of Physics 13, 095005. Published online: September 9, 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1367-2630/13/9/095005 Milane, Lara , Zhenfeng Duan, and Mansoor Amiji. 2011. Therapeutic efficacy and safety of paclitaxel/lonidamine loaded EGFR-targeted nanoparticles for the treatment of multi-drug resistant cancer. PLoS ONE 6(9), e24075. Published online: September 8, 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0024075 Onnela, Jukka-Pekka, Samuel Arbesman, Marta C. Gonzalez, Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, and Nicholas A. Christakis. 2011. Geographic constraints on social network groups. PLoS ONE 6(4), e16939. Published online: April 5, 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0016939 Pantazopoulos, Harry , Hamid Dolatshad, and Fred C. Davis. 2011. A fear-inducing odor alters PER2 and c-Fos expression in brain regions involved in fear memory. PLoS ONE 6(5), e20658. Published online: May 31, 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0020658 Pei, De-Sheng, Xiao-Jie Yang, Wei Liu, Jeroen E. J. Guikema, Carol E. Schrader, and Phyllis R. Strauss. 2011. A novel regulatory circuit in base excision repair involving AP endonuclease 1, Creb1 and DNA polymerase Î². Nucleic Acids Research 39(8), 3156-3165. Published online: December 20, 2010. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkq1142 Robinson, Elizabeth M. , Delbert L. Smee, and Geoffrey C. Trussell. 2011. Green crab (Carcinus maenas) foraging efficiency reduced by fast flows. PLoS ONE 6(6), e21025. Published online: June 7, 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0021025 Shulman, Maria , Merav Cohen, Alejandro Soto-Gutierrez, Hiroshi Yagi, Hongyun Wang, Jonathan Goldwasser, Carolyn W. Lee-Parsons, Ofra Benny-Ratsaby, Martin L. Yarmush, and Yaakov Nahmias. 2011. Enhancement of naringenin bioavailability by complexation with hydroxypropoyl-beta-cyclodextrin. PLoS ONE 6(4), e18033. Published online: April 6, 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0018033 Sohn, Yunkyu, Myung-Kyu Choi, Yong-Yeol Ahn, Junho Lee, and Jaeseung Jeong. 2011. Topological cluster analysis reveals the systemic organization of the Caenorhabditis elegans connectome. PLoS Computational Biology 7(5), e1001139. Published online: May 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1001139 Sternad, Dagmar, Masaki O. Abe, Xiaogang Hu, and Hermann Mueller. 2011. Neuromotor noise, error tolerance and velocity-dependent costs in skilled performance. PLoS Computational Biology 7(9), e1002159. Published online: September 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002159 Wang, Y. J., H. Lin, Tanmoy Das, M. Z. Hasan, and A. Bansil. 2011. Topological insulators in the quaternary chalcogenide compounds and ternary famatinite compounds. New Journal of Physics 13, 085017. Published online: August 31, 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1367-2630/13/8/085017 Whelan, Donna R., Keith R. Bambery, Philip Heraud, Mark J. Tobin, Max Diem, Don McNaughton, and Bayden R. Wood. 2011. Monitoring the reversible B to A-like transition of DNA in eukaryotic cells using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. Nucleic Acids Research 39(13), 5439-5448. Published online: March 29, 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkr175 Zerebecki, Robyn A. , and Cascade J. B. Sorte. 2011. Temperature tolerance and stress proteins as mechanisms of invasive species success. PLoS ONE 6(4), e14806. Published online: April 26, 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0014806