Over the past couple of years, we have been working to create a suite of tutorials to help our users search for good quality academic resources and literature effectively. Our latest two tutorials have recently gone live.Continue reading “New tutorials – Open Research and Google Scholar”
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.
* (Please note – this title is a quote from the 1967 British TV Series, The Prisoner. There are recognised issues of gender bias in citation and authorship across academia – this title was not intended to reflect that (and yes, the author was male). Please consider yourself equally free to be treated as a number rather than a person – whatever your gender identity – but recognise that those numbers may reflect bias in the practice of authors and reviewers) [ed: 17th July 2019]
Who is citing who?
We often (well, sometimes) get asked by students:-
– How do I know who has cited this work? (How do I do this?)
We more frequently get asked a similar question by our academic colleagues:-
– How do I know who has cited MY work? (How do I do this?)
Is BIGGER always BETTER?
Why would you not want to know who has been citing your research? It may just be to massage your ego, or it might offer an opportunity to re-evaluate your own work in the new light shed by others. It could offer an opportunity for a future collaboration, or a conversation starter with a citing author at an upcoming conference. Sometimes it is just nice to have that (often fleeting) sensation of finally having your value recognised by someone. Or often, sadly, being able to show how often you have been cited is the game you are forced to play for that next academic job application or promotion review.
When it comes to that last reason, the assumption is often that “bigger is better”. Whilst this may often be true, there is a lot of nuance to that question.. not least what might be understood to be “big” from one discipline to another. But, casting your eyes back to the title of this post, do you want ‘quality’ to be measured by a number? The answer to that question might be influenced by whether you’re a STEM or humanities scholar… or just whether you’re the person sitting on an interview panel with a long-list of over 500 applications to get through in far too little time. Continue reading ““I am not a number. I am a Free Man*!””