scholarly communication

Open Access Week is 10 Years Old!

The theme of this year's International Open Access Week, "Open in order to...", highlights the multitude of reasons why Open Access is important to researchers, students, funders, patients, and everyone else who benefits from increased sharing of knowledge. This year marks the 10th celebration of International Open Access Week, held during the last full week of October to advocate for fewer barriers between people and the information they need. At Snell Library, we support Open Access in lots of ways. In 2016, our staff adopted an open access policy for our published research and presentations - you can find them in our Digital Repository Service. These materials have been viewed almost 2,000 times and have been downloaded by readers more than 1,000 times! If you're a researcher at Northeastern and would like to get started using the DRS to make your work more accessible to readers around the world, it's easy. Also of interest to researchers: we've recently updated the page on our website about Open Access, and it now includes a list of publishers that offer Northeastern-affiliated authors a discount on the article processing charges for publishing open-access with them. Snell Library also supports Open Access journal publishing on campus through Open Journal Systems (OJS). We currently work with four journals being published at Northeastern - including NU Writing, which recently moved over to our OJS system from the platform it was previously using. NU Writing just released their first issue using OJS! And, we support Open Access publishing and sharing through our memberships in initiatives such as the Digital Commonwealth, the Digital Public Library of AmericaHathiTrustKnowledge Unlatched, and SCOAP³. In October 2008, we celebrated the first international Open Access Day at Snell Library. Since then, as the Open Access movement has grown, we’ve expanded our programming as well – first, with Open Access Week, and then in the past two years with Open Access Month in October. This year, we’re expanding the concept even more – we want to highlight openness in research, teaching, scholarship, and creativity throughout the academic year. After all, at this point, open access is something that we should be acknowledging as an established facet of the scholarly ecosystem, rather than a special topic that only gets attention once a year. So, stay tuned for open access–related news and events to come. Banner image and poster openly licensed by SPARC, CC BY 4.0

Snell Library staff adopt Open Access Policy

On June 22, 2016, the staff of Snell Library adopted an Open Access Policy. By establishing this policy, Snell Library joins a growing group of academic libraries in the United States with similar policies, designed to ensure the greatest possible access to the research and scholarship produced by their staff members. It also joins a much larger community of research institutions and subunits of institutions (e.g. schools, colleges, departments) who have adopted Open Access policies—over 600 worldwide. Snell Library's policy is particularly timely, as the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) has just issued its own Policy Statement on Open Access to Scholarship by Academic Librarians. While ACRL's statement is limited specifically to librarians, the Snell Library policy applies to all full-time library staff. Snell's staff includes a number of academic professionals who are non-librarians, as well as its support staff, who are active in creating output that should be shared with a wide audience. The Open Access Policy requires library staff members to deposit into the Digital Repository Service (DRS) copies of their published articles as well as posters and presentation materials delivered at conferences, where they are not prohibited from doing so through prior agreements with publishers. Staff members may receive a waiver of the policy for any individual work; this ensures that staff retain the freedom to publish where they choose, regardless of publishers' willingness to accept the policy. (Given the huge increase in faculty-driven open access policies across the U.S. and worldwide, though, many publishers are already very familiar with the requirements of these policies and have built accommodations for them into their own practices.)

Q & A

What is open access?

Open access literature is freely available online for anyone to read. Open access is provided to scholarly articles in a variety of ways. The most common models are:
  • Open access journals: all articles published in these publications are openly accessible. May or may not involve a fee for authors
  • “Hybrid” journals: subscription-based (“closed”) journals in which at the author’s request, and usually for an additional fee, individual articles are made openly accessible.
  • Article archiving: authors deposit a copy of their article (manuscript or final formatted version) in a repository, typically an institutional or discipline-based repository.
This policy is primarily aimed at facilitating the “article archiving” form of open access.

Why an open access policy?

The goals of this policy are to expand access to Snell Library staff research and scholarship, and to lead by example both at Northeastern University and in the profession. Like many libraries, Snell Library actively supports open access to research output and advocates for Northeastern faculty to make their work available open-access where possible, in order to provide greater access to research for those who are not able to pay subscription costs or charges for article access.

What are the public benefits of open access?

The most obvious public benefit of open access is that research results will be more accessible to more people in more locations. Currently, most individuals have very limited access to research publications—open access makes published results available to researchers and scholars affiliated with smaller institutions or non-profit organizations, and researchers and scholars in developing countries. This may spur additional scholarly progress or entrepreneurial innovation. Even individuals who do currently have access to publications via subscription services may find benefits from open access, such as easier collaboration with colleagues at other institutions, more accessible and affordable course readings for students, or by enabling new forms of scholarship such as computational analysis.

How does this policy benefit authors?

A number of studies have shown that articles that are freely available online often have increased citation rates and impact, though these benefits seem to vary across disciplines. Open access articles are also more easily discovered by researchers using online tools such as Google Scholar, and are more easily linked to and discussed in public forums. (Note: Q&A excerpted from an FAQ for library staff about the policy, which was adapted with permission from a similar document created at the University of Minnesota.)

October is Open Access Month!

200px-Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svgThis year, Snell Library is expanding the celebration of International Open Access Week to the whole month of October! We have a great schedule of programs lined up for the month that will highlight different resources and initiatives that promote open access to information, as well as open-source tools for research support. You can find the complete listing of events below. We'll also be in the Snell lobby on Monday, October 5, from 11:30-1:00, talking about why Open Access is so important for everyone -- whether you're a researcher in a developing country without access to expensive journal subscriptions, a patient trying to access information about a health issue, or a filmmaker hoping to change the world. Stop by to grab a schedule for the month...and one of our laser-cut Open Access bookmarks, made in-house!

Open Access Month: Schedule of Events

Tuesday, October 6 Storing and Sharing Files Using the DRS 12:00-1:00 p.m. | DSC Media Lounge, 211 SL Curious about Northeastern’s Digital Repository Service? This session will include a demonstration of uploading, searching, and browsing in the DRS, an overview of highlighted DRS content, and a forum to ask questions about the DRS and how it’s being used at Northeastern. Refreshments will be served. Tuesday, October 6 Zotero in 30 Minutes 2:00-2:30 p.m. | DSC Media Lounge, 211 SL Learn about using Zotero, one of the most well-known free, open source citation management tools, to organize your research. Track and gather all of your research in one place and automatically format citations and bibliographies—bring your laptop to get started right away. Refreshments will be served. Wednesday, October 7 Digital Humanities Open Office Hours 1:00-2:00 p.m. | DSC Media Lounge, 211 SL Understanding copyright and fair use in the Digital Humanities will be the focus of this week’s regularly scheduled DH Open Office Hours. Tuesday, October 13 Storing and Sharing Files Using the DRS 3:00-4:00 p.m. | DSC Media Lounge, 211 SL Curious about Northeastern’s Digital Repository Service? This session will include a demonstration of uploading, searching, and browsing in the DRS, an overview of highlighted DRS content, and a forum to ask questions about the DRS and how it’s being used at Northeastern. Refreshments will be served. Wednesday, October 14 DSG & NULab Fall Showcase 3:00-6:00 p.m. | 90 SL & Digital Scholarship Commons Angel Nieves, Associate Professor, Director of American Studies and Co-Director of the Digital Humanities Initiative at Hamilton College, will speak in room 90 from 3:00-4:00. Then join us in the DSC from 4:15-6:00 to meet others interested in digital scholarship and learn about recent developments in DSG and NULab projects. Refreshments will be served. Tuesday, October 20 All About Archives! Finding Primary Sources Housed at Northeastern and Beyond 12:00-1:00 p.m. | 421 SL Primary source material gives researchers a first-hand look at the past. Giordana Mecagni, University Archivist and Head of Special Collections, will showcase some of Northeastern’s unique collections, and Jamie Dendy, Head of Research and Instruction Services and History Librarian, will demonstrate some of his favorite open-access collections of primary sources. Refreshments will be served. Thursday, October 22 Data Management Plans and the DRS 12:30-1:30 p.m. | DSC Media Lounge, 211 SL How can you effectively share and preserve research data while fulfilling grant requirements? This session will describe the library’s support for research data management, including the DMPTool as an option to generate data management plans, and the Digital Repository Service as an option for preserving and sharing research data. Refreshments will be served. Tuesday, October 27 Open Tools for GIS: Google Maps 2:00-3:00 p.m. | 421 SL Bahare Sanaie-Movahed, the library’s new GIS Specialist, will demonstrate how Google Maps can be used for creating open-access GIS projects. Refreshments will be served. Wednesday, October 28 Wikipedia Edit-a-thon 4:00-8:00 p.m. | DSC Media Lounge, 211 SL 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. You do not need any prior experience with Wikipedia to participate, just bring a laptop and a power supply. Refreshments will be served. Thursday, October 29 Textbook Affordability and Open Educational Resources 12:00-1:00 p.m. | 421 SL Nancy Pawlyshyn, Assistant Teaching Professor in the Graduate Education program, will be joined by representatives from Academic Technology Services and Snell Library to discuss how Open Educational Resources can be implemented in the classroom as alternatives to high-cost traditional textbooks. A student will provide the undergraduate perspective on textbook affordability. Refreshments will be served. Friday, October 30 Sourcing Multimedia for Your Course 12:00-1:30 p.m. | 140 SL The Internet offers a variety of public domain and Creative Commons images, movies, and documents that may be used to support teaching and learning. Learn strategies for finding relevant media and crediting the media appropriately. Hosted by Academic Technology Services. Friday, October 30 Creating Interactive Open Educational Resources 2:00-4:00 p.m. | 140 SL This course will show you the basics of using Storyline to create interactive educational resources. You’ll learn how to incorporate multimedia, create your own text, audio, and image content, and create interactive features. Finally, we’ll discuss options for publishing on the web. Hosted by Academic Technology Services.

Boston Library Consortium signs letter to President Obama about Open Educational Resources

In June, the White House called for suggestions from the public for its third Open Government National Action Plan, to be released later this year. The purpose of this plan is to increase transparency in government as well as support open research and learning tools, which were identified as areas for development in the first two National Action Plans. The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), an international group of academic research libraries, has responded to this call with a letter advocating for increased support for the development of open educational resources. The Boston Library Consortium, of which Northeastern University is a member, has added its name as a signatory of this letter. We are proud to voice our support for open educational resources! Open educational resources (OERs) are freely accessible learning objects that support teaching and learning at all levels - from kindergarten through higher education. Because they are openly licensed, educators can customize OERs or create mashups of different resources to provide their students with the material that best meets their teaching objectives. OERs include textbooks, audio and video materials, tests, software, interactive modules, and much more. Many are peer-reviewed either before or after being publicly released, so teachers can be assured of their quality. OERs benefit students as well as educators—they serve as free alternatives to costly traditional textbooks. A recent NBC News story about the astronomical increase in textbook prices (more than triple the cost of inflation since 1977) quotes an incoming Northeastern first-year student on the struggle to afford college textbooks. OERs would help him and thousands of others get a high-quality education at a more affordable price. The Open Education Group, which conducts an ongoing review of empirical research on the use of OERs, reports that studies show students and educators using OERs are satisfied with the quality of these resources and that learning outcomes are equivalent to or better than those in classrooms using traditional resources. Instructors and students, are you interested in learning more about open educational resources? Check out my guide to OERs and textbook alternatives, and please feel free to contact me if you have further questions.

Lawsuit Against the MBTA for Unlawful Censorship of Condom Campaign Ads

Did you know that in 1994, the AIDS Action Committee sued the MBTA for unlawful censorship of a subway campaign featuring the use of condoms?  Seems hard to believe, but you can read all about it in our Archives and Special Collections, which has received a donation of new material from former AIDS Action Committee Director Thomas McNaught (1991-1996).

This donation adds to the existing AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts Records in the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections.

While processing the new materials I noticed the photo of Captain B. Careful on the Boston Common. It stood out  for a few reasons. His sheer ingenuity for costume design. The huge smile on his face even though it was noticeably cold outside.

[caption id="attachment_8106" align="aligncenter" width="279" caption="Captain B. Careful, Condom Campaign. AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, Inc. (M61, Box 42, Folder 14.)"][/caption]

Less tangibly his image stood out to me because he symbolizes a continuity in Boston's legacy of advocating for the power of knowledge and striving toward equal rights and opportunity for all. 

In 1992,  AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts (AAC)  introduced New England's first public service television AIDS prevention campaign directed at gay men.

They also launched the United States' first statewide transit campaign for AIDS awareness by placing condom posters on 437 buses throughout Massachusetts ultimately leading to a legal battle with the MBTA.

Highlights of the collection include:

  • photographs and press
  • outreach material regarding the condom campaign
  • materials on the AAC's education and prevention campaigns
  • documentation regarding the AAC’s lawsuit against the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) for unlawful censorship of a subway campaign featuring the use of condoms in 1994