A Recap of Open Access Week 2015 at Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech’s fourth Open Access Week took place October 19-23 with five events, featuring the annual faculty/graduate student panel discussion and a keynote address by Victoria Stodden.

As always, the panel discussion was one of the most interesting events of the week. Sascha Engel, PhD candidate in ASPECT and editor of the graduate journal SPECTRA, spoke about the benefits of moving to library hosting for the journal. Use of the open source OJS software helped automate communication with authors, and the journal was able to retain its domain name. The PDF is still important in the humanities where page numbers are needed for citing. As a graduate journal, SPECTRA allows authors to retain copyright so that articles can be further developed and published elsewhere. Alison Burke, a PhD candidate in Biomedical Sciences, spoke about the difficulty of publishing in fee-based open access journals while in a funding gap between grants. The library’s open access fund bridged that gap and helped her publish in PLOS ONE. She noted that open access articles result in more views and are easier to find. Scott King, Professor in the Department of Geosciences, is an executive editor at the open access journal GeoResJ, a broad, multidisciplinary journal, but notes that in his specialty, deep earth research, open access is not very influential because most researchers are at institutions with subscriptions. In contrast, publishing open access is crucial to Jeremy Ernst, associate professor of Integrative STEM Education, because a large part of his audience is public educators who would not otherwise have access to his research. He noted much higher citation counts in open access journals. Ernst was the first to take advantage of the open access fund when it began. Carola Haas, Professor in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, has used the open access fund for publication of a hybrid open access article, and said that open access is important for her audience, which includes land managers, independent contractors, and conservationists in developing countries, many of whom lack access to expensive journals. Titilola Obilade, former adjunct faculty in the School of Education, has used the open access fund multiple times to ensure that all have access to her research.

Thanks to the University Libraries’ Event Capture Service for the video below.

A new event to Open Access Week, “Data and Digitization in the Liberal Arts and Human Sciences” was organized by Tom Ewing, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, Research, and Diversity in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and a professor in the Department of History. The session featured panelists from Advanced Research Computing (ARC) and the University Libraries. Terry Herdman, Nicholas Polys, and Vijay Agarwala spoke about ARC’s services for researchers, such as consulting, training, support, and collaboration, and highlighted the visualization lab in Torgersen Hall, the Visionarium. From the Libraries, Nathan Hall introduced the digitization services available, and Amanda French spoke about the library’s interest in facilitating interdisciplinary research, and perhaps providing tools for learning text and data mining (TDM).

Mid-week, NLI sessions were offered on our open access fund (apply here) by Gail McMillan and trends in scholarly publishing, a discussion I led. Both are offered regularly, so check the NLI schedule.

Dr. Victoria Stodden
Dr. Victoria Stodden

The highlight of the week was the keynote address by Dr. Victoria Stodden, an associate professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “Scholarly Communication in the Era of Big Data and Big Computation” (slides) focused on what reproducibility means for computation, and also addressed scientific norms and access. She proposed that reproducibility has three facets: empirical, computational, and statistical. While we know that error is ubiquitous in science, computation is new enough that standards are not well established. Computation itself is a research object; an accompanying journal article is simply advertising for it. Interestingly, Stodden highlighted the Mertonian norms of science, just as Brian Nosek did in last year’s keynote address. But while Nosek contrasted Mertonian norms with academic incentives, Stodden put them in an intellectual property framework. In this context, open licenses are aligned with scientific norms, whereas intellectual property protections (e.g., copyright) are not. While a number of platforms have been developed for dissemination and reproducibility of computation, these have been independent efforts, and would achieve greater impact with a coordinated response. Ultimately, it is access that is needed most:

Conclusion: the primary unifying concept in formulating an appropriate norm-based response to changes in technology is access. At present, access to “items” underlying computational results is limited.

Many thanks to Dr. Stodden and all those who came to the keynote. Thanks also to the keynote sponsors, which in addition to the University Libraries include Computational Modeling and Data Analytics, the Department of Computer Science, the Department of Statistics, LISA, and the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute.

Thanks to the University Libraries’ Event Capture Service for the video below.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About Philip Young

Philip Young is Scholarly Communication Librarian at Virginia Tech where he supports outreach about open access, copyright/open licensing, open data, ORCID, and metrics/altmetrics.
This entry was posted in Open Access Week, University Libraries at Virginia Tech and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.