Back in December 2019, the open access team here at the library received a very special request from Jeremy Durward, a Psychology student from Deakin University in Australia. He was researching his great great aunt, (Clara) Enid Robertson, as he had discovered they had a shared interest in Psychology. We helped Jeremy locate Dr Robertson’s thesis, “The psychology of musical appreciation: an analysis of the bases and nature of the experience of listening to music” – which you can also read in our etheses repository.
Inviting academics to speak about their research at the library
Working in an academic library is a great privilege; a big part of any library role is providing a service which ensures students and academics have access to the resources they need to study and produce their research. The open access team at Durham get to see the final product of our researchers’ hard work when they send manuscripts that have been accepted to journals to be deposited into our repository. Open Access Week 2019 – ‘Open for Whom?’ was the perfect opportunity to share the incredible research that we help to support in the library with our colleagues.
During open access week, we have had discussions with academic and professional support colleagues at the department’s we have visited, through events organised for academic colleagues to talk about their research, and through our posts on this blog and via Twitter. We have tried to discuss open access in a wider context, focusing less on the “policy stick” (what authors have to do because their funder, publisher or university requires them to do so), and more on the actual research being made available, how that is then shared and used, and how you (staff, students and everyone else) can search for and access it outside of your usual approaches.
We’d like to close our series of posts this week by briefly highlighting that “open access” can mean different things, and carry different expectations for different content creators and content users. Essentially, when we say something is open access, how open is open?
Publishing research open access offers numerous potential benefits for researchers, for the University, and also for wider society. It opens up research outputs and makes them accessible to anyone anywhere with an internet connection. By opening up research in this way it could be argued that it is more important than ever that we try to understand the impact and reach of papers beyond citation counts limited to just academic and other research-specific publications.
Working in the Open Access Team it is clear to us that opinions on publishing open access can vary quite considerably from department to department and from researcher to researcher. As part of the work of the Open Access Team we strive to develop our understanding of these opinions by speaking directly with our researchers.
We interviewed Kislon Voitchovsky and asked him to share his own thoughts and experiences on publishing generally and more specifically on publishing open access. The aim was to provide information and guidance for early career researchers and doctoral students but it should be interesting reading for all.
It may make it clear to you just how different the publishing environment is for researchers in a field other than your own or it may convince you of the potential benefits of publishing your research open access.
If you would like to share your opinions on and experiences with open access we would love to hear from you – firstname.lastname@example.org
Open Access is about ensuring that anyone anywhere (with a connection to the internet) has free, unimpeded access to the published outputs of publicly funded research. At Durham University, we pay around £3 million each year to provide access to our staff and students to journals and databases. Much of this content is not available to those not at a University – whether that is health workers, teachers, commercial companies or charities working in areas of social welfare.
Even at Durham, staff and students can not access everything they want to. In 2018/19, just under 5,000 requests were made through our Document Delivery Service for items not covered by our current subscriptions. Students and staff at other universities, without the same level resources than Durham has, will face difficulties accessing all of the published research which is out there – they may be faced with paywalls which regularly require the payment of a fee.
“Every year, JSTOR said, it turns away almost 150 million individual attempts to gain access to articles.”
‘JSTOR Tests Free, Read-Only Access to Some Articles’, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 13 2012
Rising to this challenge, policies from research funders, national governments and universities, coupled with support and action from academics across all disciplines, is making more and more research available for free. It still can be tricky however, when hitting that dreaded paywall, to see if there is an open access version of the research available to you.. so lets look at some of the options available to you, whoever you might be.
The theme of Open Access Week 2019 is: ‘Open for Whom? Equity in Open Knowledge’. So, this seemed like a good opportunity to speak to Professor Chris Stokes, a glaciologist from Durham’s Geography department about research and the benefits of open access. Chris was the lead author on the 2019 open access paper:
Widespread distribution of supraglacial lakes around the margin of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet Scientific Reports 9 (13823) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-50343-5
Celebrating, discussing, and promoting open access publishing needs to be done throughout the year but it is helpful to have a designated “Open Access Week” and use this as an opportunity to channel our thoughts and to put an extra spring in our steps.
As the blurb on the official website states:
“Open Access Week, a global event now entering its tenth year, is an opportunity for the academic and research community to continue to learn about the potential benefits of Open Access, to share what they’ve learned with colleagues, and to help inspire wider participation in helping to make Open Access a new norm in scholarship and research.”
Earlier this summer, two of our colleagues attended this year’s CILIP conference in Manchester, and we asked them if they would be willing to share their experiences and thoughts. If you’d like to know some of the hot-topics in librarianship, get a feel for the personal and professional approaches of our colleagues behind the desk, or just want that reassurance that you’re not alone in experiencing first (or 101st) conference nerves, read on…
*CILIP: Chartered Institute for Information and Library Professionals (https://www.cilip.org.uk/)
Here at Durham University Library we’re always interested to see what research our academic colleagues are publishing and making available to all via our open access repository, Durham Research Online.
Kelly H: “Growing up in a North-East town in the 1990s, conveniently located between Newcastle and Sunderland, football was a prominent part of my childhood. There were many arguments about which team was better – Newcastle or Sunderland (Newcastle, obviously!) But one thing was for certain – football was for the lads. This view was perpetuated by the teachers, our parents and of course, the media. There was one girl in my class who was an amazing footballer and the boys accepted her as an equal – until secondary school when she was no longer allowed to play with them due to health and safety.