Please enjoy this guest post from our Judy Rabinowitz, our Scholarly Communication Librarian
October 24th-30th, we celebrate Open Access Week, a time to focus on what we can do to improve how scholarly research is shared, utilized, and discovered. Open Access (OA), at its core, makes research literature freely available on the Internet with few copyright or license restriction. This year’s theme, “Open for Climate Justice,” highlights the power open access can have on boosting innovation, discovery, and improvements in our world.
As SPARC, a non-profit open access advocacy group, notes, “Openness can create pathways to more equitable knowledge sharing and serve as a means to address the inequities that shape the impacts of climate change and our response to them.” As a globally pervasive issue, the climate crisis demands the unbarred and swift exchange of information and data across geographic, economic, and disciplinary boundaries in order to tackle it comprehensively, which open access can facilitate.
And, we can choose to ensure open access is the norm in scholarly publishing. We can publish our research in open access journals, become peer reviewers in open access publications, and advocate and promote with our colleagues and networks effective and equitable OA business models, such as those that utilize low or no article processing charges and have no embargoes on contents.
I know. The term “equity” is trending. But there is something to the hype. The theme for this year’s Open Access (OA) Week, which we celebrate from October 21st-27th, is “Open for Whom? Equity in Open Knowledge”
We’ve made some real strides with OA over the years, that is, making research literature freely available on the Internet with few copyright or license restriction. The list of reputable OA publishers is growing, we’re developing more comprehensive appraisals of a journal’s quality, and we’re making impactful strides to rebalance the economics involved in communicating research. But when I say “we,” I unfortunately do not mean that all scholars, authors, researchers, and practitioners, geographically or economically speaking, are equally represented.
- Whose interests are being prioritized in the actions we take and in the platforms that we support?
- Whose voices are excluded? Are underrepresented groups included as full partners from the beginning?
- Are we supporting not only open access but also equitable participation in research communication?
The answers to these questions are not all obvious or easily acted upon. But these questions are our challenge. They provide focus and guidance for how to continue to grow, repair, and refine how we create and communicate research. Read more about OA at https://sites.tufts.edu/scholarlycommunication/open-access/
Post contributed by Judy Rabinowitz
You’ve probably heard the term open access – maybe it’s the reason you were able to get the full text of that article you needed? Maybe it’s the reason so many people read your latest article?
Open access (OA) is about making research literature freely available on the Internet with few copyright or license restrictions. In honor of Open Access Week (happening right now!), here are the top 10 reasons to publish OA…
10. Improve discoverability
Open articles commonly show up more places than just the publisher’s website, for example, in subject repositories or ResearchGate or the Tufts Digital Library, and therefore can more readily be found by search engines and through web surfing, not just through traditional articles databases, like PubMed or Web of Science. In addition, search engines can more readily crawl the entire full text of open articles, beyond just the citation information and abstract.
9. Enlarge readership
Since open access materials can be easier to find and the full text is available to all, more people are likely to read them. You didn’t spend all that time on research and writing to lock away your findings, did you?
8. Diversify readership
Those who have access to paid journal subscriptions represent a limited demographic that does not necessarily correlate to those who will most benefit from and contribute to the research. Removing paywalls removes these misguided filters on readership.
7. Increase citation numbers
Many times, open articles have the opportunity to be cited more by others due to their increased visibility. In addition, since they are often available ahead-of-print, citations can start accumulating earlier in the process.
6. Enhance collaboration
More readers and diversity of readers can lead to more and richer collaboration. Open access can help identify critical colleagues otherwise not reached through traditional publishing communication channels.
5. Drive innovation
What does Google Scholar always say? Stand on the shoulders of giants! Our greatest world achievements are rarely standalone accomplishments. Scholars feed off one another, learn from one another, and grow from one another through sharing and collaboration, which is enhanced by open access.
4. Increase usefulness
Broadening the reach and impact of research makes all those tireless hours of effort that went into creating it all the more worthwhile. I’ll reiterate my early question: You didn’t spend all that time on research and writing to lock away your findings, did you?
3. Shift the economics
Publishers provide added value to a manuscript, through editing, formatting, promotion, and some discoverability services, which incur some cost. For many though, the business model has fallen out of balance. Much research is supported by taxpayers and authors and peer-reviewers are not paid for their publications. Open access realigns the business model so that the research conducted as a public good is available to the public.
2. Join the 21st century
We take advantage of several cutting-edge technologies just to tell our friends how good our lunch was, why would we rely on an antiquated print-based model for communicating important research findings? While many journals are available electronically today, the present system artificially treats them as if they were just as encumbered to obtain and create as their print counterparts when they are clearly not.
1. Save the world!
Yes, this is a bold statement to make, but who knows what accelerated and enhanced collaboration and innovation can lead to? Better addressing climate change? Ending world food insecurity? Curbing pandemic diseases? The only way to know is by opening the communication channels and sharing more.
Have questions? Want to learn more? Read up on Open Access on the Scholarly Communication at Tufts site.
Post contributed by Judy Rabinowitz
This year’s theme for Open Access Week, which we are celebrating from October 22nd – 28th, 2018, is “Designing Equitable Foundations for Open Knowledge.” It’s a mouthful, so let’s work through what this means and more importantly, what it means for us here in the Tufts community.
As Nick Shockey, founding Director of the Right to Research Coalition, among other things, noted in his blog post about it, “This year’s theme reflects a scholarly system in transition.” There is great opportunity and already great evidence of this transition incorporating open access as the default, not the outlier, in publishing. Nevertheless, we can further leverage the opportunities of transition to intentionally design new systems that are more equitable, more inclusive, and with less bias.
So perhaps you’re thinking that you are not in a position to be designing new scholarly systems. What’s your role? If you are someone who creates scholarly literature, be critical of where you publish your manuscripts. Consider whether you are supporting systems that promote access beyond just to the privileged, affiliated with well-endowed institutions, but also scholars and practitioners, many of whom live internationally, that could benefit from your work, provide diverse perspectives, and innovate in ways beyond your initial scope. You, as the creator of content, can take control of how well that content is disseminated and utilized, and ultimately how impactful it can be.
There are traditional measures that are often used to evaluate journals and guide someone in deciding where to publish. Some are quantitative like Journal Impact Factors, or other research impact metrics. Some are more qualitative, such as recommendations from peers or venerated colleagues. I challenge you to also assess a journal’s value, prestige, and appropriateness based on its equity as a system. Whose voices are prioritized? Who is excluded? How are some scholarship decisions the journal makes perpetuating bias?
Do these questions spark some questions for yourself? Ask Us! And, Happy Open Access Week!
Post contributed by Judy Rabinowitz
As we wrap up our celebration of Open Access Week, this is a great time to think about what Open Access can mean to researchers, to scholars, and to our local, national, and international communities. Librarians promote publication in Open Access journals to enable collaboration with like-minded researchers and to raise research visibility, but there are many reasons to wade into the Open Access waters. One of the most compelling is to increase knowledge of science, research, and medicine outside the Ivory Tower.
Think about how easy it is access the latest research in highly regarded journals from the comfort of the Library, or from home (if you go through the proxy server) as a student, faculty, or staff member of Tufts University. But how many times have you tried to access a scientific study from off-campus and run into a paywall? How many times has a newspaper or blog made a claim about a health benefit or some groundbreaking research, only to link out to a journal you can’t access? Think about everyone NOT studying at or employed by a college or university…where do they get their scientific information?
Turns out, the Pew Research Center recently published a study about how Americans consume science news, and they report that 66% of Americans “actively seek out and directly consume” news about science, and the overwhelmingly popular source of that information is outlets like newspapers and television news programming. However, many of these consumers feel that news media does a poor job covering scientific topics (41%) and that some of those reasons include: hasty reporting of findings that may not hold up, oversimplification, overreporting of conflicting viewpoints, and coverage of findings that are not important.
If you work in or study health sciences, you watch this play out on the evening news every day, usually regarding whether or not red wine will make you live forever, if chocolate replaces working out, if coffee will kill you, or if you actually need to floss your teeth (Note: please keep flossing). But who do Americans blame for this? Most participants in the Pew Study blamed the news media, but nearly a quarter (24%) blamed poor scientific reporting on the “way science researchers publish.”
Well well well. We might not be able to change every newscast and every newspaper, but a major way to improve scientific communication is to publish research that EVERYONE can read. For free. Open Access! Think of all the questions that can be answered when patients and health care providers outside of colleges and universities can access quality research free of charge. Think of the advances when researchers can find, use, and reinterpret data without copyright restrictions or paywalls.
Check out the Scholarly Publishing and Access Resources Coalition’s reasons to support open access to aid scientific communication here: https://sparcopen.org/open-access/.
Open Access publications have been around for decades yet there are still many misconceptions and doubts about their reliability, quality and value. One of the top misconceptions is that Open Access journals are of lower quality, not peer-reviewed, and the equivalent of self-publication.
The Journal of Clinical Investigation, a highly respected publication founded in 1924 and published by the American Society for Clinical Investigation, is a peer-reviewed biomedical research journal covering a range of medical disciplines incuding Immunology, Neuroscience, Oncology, and Gastroenterology. In 1996 it was one of the first to make its research articles freely available. Why would they do such a thing? According to the editor at the time, the non-profit nature of their work informed their decision. Today, according to SCOPUS, the journal has a CiteScore* of 10.98, a SCImago Journal Rank (SJR)** of 8.074, and a Source Normalized Impact Per Paper (SNIP)Ɨ of 2.787.
The National Academy of Medicine, established in 1970 and now part of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is another example of a well-respected research institution that along with its partners provides thousands of open access publications for the benefit of people around the world.
The PLoS journals offer other examples of high-quality, non-profit, open access publishing. On their website PLoS, which was founded in 2001, states their belief that “open is no longer just about free and unrestricted access to research, it’s also about open data, transparency in peer review and an open approach to science assessment.” Of the PLoS journals, PLoS Medicine has the highest CiteScore (8.73), SJR (5.951), and SNIP (3.612).
Here are some other Open Access misconceptions. Can you tell fact from fiction? To find the answers check out Busting OA Myths.
Fact or Fiction?
- Faculty can freely use their own published content in courses they teach.
- Open Access is a cost shifting device.
- Public Access and Open Access accomplish the same thing.
Post contributed by Jane Natches
*CiteScore measures average citations received per document published in the serial.
**SJR measures weighted citations received by the serial. Citation weighting depends on subject field and prestige of the citing serial.
ƗSNIP measures actual citations received relative to citations expected for the serial’s subject field.
What is open data?
Open access is not just for publications. Indeed, access to the data that supports an article may be as important as access to the article itself. Open data is research data that is freely available online for anyone to download, copy, and reuse, with no financial, legal or technical barriers.
Open data enhances the reproducibility and transparency of research by allowing other investigators to verify authors’ findings. Freely available data also enhances the rate of scientific discovery by allowing anyone to analyze data in ways that its creators did not anticipate.
Adapted from the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC).
Where can I find open data?
You may be familiar with freely available data from state and national government organizations and surveys, such as the National Cancer Institute Genomic Data Commons, a data sharing and analysis platform that provides genomic datasets and the tools to analyze them, or the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a series of studies that assess health and nutritional status of Americans.
Increasingly, research institutes, projects, labs and individuals are making their data freely available, either because a journal or funder requires them to do so, or simply because they want others to reuse their work (and get credit when they do!). Freely available data can be found in many data repositories, which provide long-term access to, and preservation and storage of, data.
For a local twist on open data, check out Analyze Boston, where you can find freely available datasets from the city of Boston, or Personal Genome Project, a project started at the Harvard Medical School that invites participants to publicly share their personal genetic, health and trait data.
If you need help finding open data, or want to learn more about making your data freely available, then please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Post contributed by Laura Pavlech
Next week is Open Access Week, when we take a moment to celebrate the free, immediate, online availability of research articles that open access publishing enables. We recognize the direct benefits open access provides us, namely, an expanded ability to find new collaborators, increased visibility of our research, increased access to global research participation, improved public health…and the list goes on.
Prompted by a memo from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, this much needed reboot to how scholarship and research is communicated has become a priority of several research funding agencies. Here on the Boston Health Sciences campus, many receive funding for their research through National Institutes of Health (NIH) awards, which has long established a mandate requiring the public access of research products supported by these funds. Public access is similar to open access, but does not dictate if and how the work can be reused.
Some researchers on the Boston campus are funded by a variety of other sources as well, such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Defense (DoD), the Agency for International Development (USAID), the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and the Department of Agriculture (USDA). PubMed Central, the home for NIH-funded research manuscripts, has expanded its reach and is now also the repository for several other entities, including AHRQ and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Other repositories exist. Check out the SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) Research Sharing Tracker to find information about U.S. federal funder requirements for sharing both articles and data.
Have questions about open access publishing or public access funder mandates? Email us at email@example.com.
Post contributed by Judy Rabinowitz
This month’s Open Workshops are sure to provide you with trove of tips and treats! The theme of October’s Open Workshops is “Scholarship Month” and workshops will focus on the skills you need to accelerate your research and share your scholarship.
See our Open Workshops page for more information, including complete workshop descriptions and schedules.
Workshops will be held in Sackler 510 on Tuesdays from 9-10am and repeated on Wednesdays from 3-4pm, unless otherwise noted. schedule:
Show the Impact of Your Research
Register: October 3 & October 4
Want to know how to get credit for and demonstrate the impact of your research? This workshop is for you! We will discuss how author identifiers, such as ORCID iDs, can connect you to your publications, other research products, and grants. We will show you how to find the number of times an article has been cited, create a citation report for a set of articles or an author, and compare citation statistics for authors, journals or articles in a particular field. We will also discuss emerging metrics (‘altmetrics’), such as the number of times an article has been viewed or downloaded.
Introduction to the Writing Process
October 4 @ 12noon Sackler 812 (light refreshments will be offered!)
Presented by Christine Smith, MS
Health Sciences Writing Consultant and Instructor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy
Changing Health Behaviors: Communicating Health Information to the Public
October 10 @ 12noon Sackler 507 (light refreshments will be offered!)
Presented by Margie Skeer, ScD, MPH, MSW
Associate Professor of Public Health and Community Medicine
Celebrating Open Access: Busting Myths about Publishing Your Work
Register: October 17 & October 18
Like bigfoot and unicorns, some truths of publishing your work can seem a real mystery. We’ll separate fact from fiction and get to the heart of some widely-shared rumors related to your rights as an author and open access publishing.
Register: October 24 & October 25
In this 1 hour workshop, we’ll be using InDesign to create a poster, while providing an overview of other print design software. We’ll also share the importance of visual story telling, using design elements to tell your story, and provide the tips on print settings and resources on campus to get your poster printed. No prior experience with InDesign is needed!
And don’t forget about our Workshops on Demand. If you and your colleagues are interested in a workshop, but cannot attend due to a conflicting schedule, you can now request a Workshop on Demand: just let us know what your group is interested in, and we’ll create a workshop that works for you!
If you have any questions about Open Workshops, or Workshops on Demand, please call the library service desk at 617-636-6705, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Unpaywall is a free web browser extension, presently available for Chrome and Firefox, which quickly finds free and legal versions of paywalled research papers. As you search for articles online, an “open lock” tab will instantly appear on the right side of your browser for articles where an open access version is available. Click the tab to reach the full text. More information? Check out UnPaywall’s FAQ.
Post contributed by Judy Rabinowitz
Tags4th floor affiliation books Boston circulation crafts electronic resource electronic resources events exams extended hours food fun fun lab funlab graduation HHSL Hirsh Health Sciences Library holiday holiday hours holidays hours leisure reading library fun lab library service desk library staff new books open access open access week open workshop Open Workshops reserves resources staff statistics summer survey tea Thanksgiving therapy dogs Tufts Hirsh Health Sciences Library website welcome! writing consultants writing help
Follow us @TuftsHHSL!