The Wise Library on the downtown Morgantown campus.

Open Access Week promotes benefits of free distribution of research

As part of International Open Access Week, Oct. 22-28, West Virginia University Libraries is promoting the benefits of Open Access publishing to researchers, academic communities, health care providers and citizens.

Open Access refers to free online access to digital full-text scientific and scholarly material, primarily research articles published in peer-reviewed journals.

“The current scholarly publishing system is economically unsustainable for libraries, and this makes it very difficult for us to provide our patrons with access to the materials they need,” said Ian Harmon, scholarly communications librarian. “Open Access publishing is an alternative to this system, one that can remove barriers to research, such as paywalls, and increase the rate of scientific progress.”

Making work available in open access journals, or through the Libraries’ Research Repository, increases citations of your work, promotes public access to federally funded research, and shares your work with scholars within West Virginia and around the world who may not be able to afford high journal subscription fees.

Open Access Week activities begin on Oct. 17 from 5-7 p.m. with a screening of the movie “Paywall: The Business of Scholarship” in the Mountainlair’s Gluck Theater.

Producers say the film “dives into the need for open access to research and science, questions the rationale behind the $25.2 billion a year that flows into for-profit academic publishers, examines the 35-40 percent profit margin associated with the top academic publisher Elsevier and looks at how that profit margin is often greater than some of the most profitable tech companies like Apple, Facebook and Google.”

Afterwards, Harmon will talk about the Libraries’ efforts to address the issues raised in the film, including the OA Author’s Fund and the newly established Research Repository.

The Research Repository @ WVU, a service of the WVU Libraries and the WVU Office of Research, provides an online, openly available, home for the scholarship, creative work and research of West Virginia University faculty, students and researchers. Visit the repository.

During Open Access Week, the Libraries will host an Open Access Publishing Panel Oct. 22, from 4-5:30 p.m. in the Milano Reading Room. Panelists will first focus on the current state of scholarly publishing and the ways in which the Open Access movement affects how researchers disseminate their work. They will also address how publishing Open Access can affect tenure and promotion decisions.

Panelists will include Steven Kinsey, associate professor and coordinator, Behavioral Neuroscience Doctoral Program, Department of Psychology; Elizabeth Engler-Chiurazzi, research assistant professor, Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute, Department of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience; Christopher Plein, Eberly Family Professor for Outstanding Public Service, Department of Public Administration, John D. Rockefeller IV School of Policy and Politics; Nick Bowman, associate professor, research associate, Interaction Lab, Department of Communication Studies; and Angie Maranville, director, Knowledge Access and Resource Management, WVU Libraries

Harmon is eager to learn WVU researchers’ perspectives on scholarly publishing.

“While it’s not a secret that we at the Libraries are champions of Open Access, it’s crucial for us to understand the concerns that researchers face when deciding where to publish their work,” Harmon said. “By starting a campus-wide conversation about these issues, we will be able to develop and offer services that support our patrons most pressing needs. This panel is a great opportunity for researchers on campus to let us know how we can help them out.”

More information about Open Access is available on the Libraries website and from the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, or contact Harmon at ian.harmon@mail.wvu.edu.

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