Week 8: Final Project

Open access is a concept that I had not really thought about until becoming a graduate student. I remember struggling to find articles that I had access to as an undergraduate student and just assuming that pay walls were part of the system and that there wasn’t much that I could do to change the way that scholarly articles were published. As a graduate student, however, I have learned that the researcher actually has some control over where they publish and also how they choose to share the data used in their research. I believe that this topic is important in an ethical sense because of the duty that researchers have in getting their work distributed to the public and in allowing other researchers to verify their results.

My final project will be an exploration into how much different members of the Mechanical Engineering Department know about open access issues. I will interview undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty in the hopes of gaining an understanding of how much each group knows about open access. I am also interested in the perception of responsibility to disseminate knowledge. I would like to understand how each group feels about how research gets distributed and who they feel is responsible for the process. Finally I would like to get a sense of how many people plan to, or have published their work in open access journals and what that experience was like.

I personally feel that open access publishing is a very important step in the evolution of academia. Universities have a responsibility to share the knowledge that they create. The current trend towards a few publishing companies controlling the majority of academic journals threatens the ability of everyone to have access to the available research. This is especially true for schools that do not have the financial stability of the larger, well-known universities. My long-term goal with this project is to gain an understanding of how to better educate and promote open access in the next generation of academics.

One thought on “Week 8: Final Project”

  1. That sounds great. Open access is important. Researchers having the ability to publish is really important, also. I often hear that accounting researchers have a hard time publishing. I find it baffling when people who do research struggle to get it published as so many individuals depend on new concepts generated from the research. Why keep the faucet cranked down so tightly on how much gets published? University professors desperately need to publish to develop their careers within their universities. Why not allow more articles, in general, to be published in the journals? It is confusing. Is it just old school thought that it has always been hard to get published in accounting journals, so it must continue to be very difficult?
    The open access idea is food for thought. As consumers of articles, we might not get to use the type of material we need in our research of published papers. However, money to operate the journals needs to be raised, so everything cannot be free.
    I hope your project goes well!

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