Open Access Week 2016: A Recap

Virginia Tech’s fifth observance of Open Access Week took place October 24-28 with seven events, featuring a panel discussion and talks from two visiting speakers.

The first event of the week featured Brian Hole, who is CEO of Ubiquity Press. An archaeologist by training, he had experienced lack of journal access in places like India. Ubiquity Press was begun to provide a good quality, low cost open publishing platform that would be inclusive of the developing world. While the platform does operate using the sometimes controversial APC model, the costs are low ($400 standard, but can be lower depending on services provided) and are often covered by libraries so there is no cost to author or reader. Ubiquity is also involved in publishing books as well as journals for open research software, several for open data, citizen science, and an upcoming open hardware journal. The platform offers an open peer review option, which four journals have implemented. Currently publishing 42 journals, its platform will be open source, and is itself a fork of the Open Journal Systems open source code. It’s an impressive platform and openness is at its core.

On Monday evening, the forum “For the Public Good: Research Impact and the Promise of Open Access” was held, hosted by Peter Potter (Director of Publishing Strategy, University Libraries) and featuring panelists from a variety of perspectives: graduate students Siddhartha Roy (Civil and Environmental Engineering) and Mohammed Seyam (Computer Science) as well as Montasir Abbas (faculty, Civil and Environmental Engineering), Karen DePauw (Dean of the Graduate School), and Brian Hole (Ubiquity Press). The conversation was wide-ranging, covering pre-prints, publishing costs, metrics, and peer review. Other topics included the importance of open licensing for reuse of scholarly material and the role of openness for a public land-grant university. Faculty open access mandates were briefly addressed, with comments focusing on saving faculty time and showing benefits. Transparency of data and code were a theme, as well as the possibility of researching completely in the open. See the video below for the full forum (and here are Peter’s introductory slides).

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

In the session “Where Can I Post My Publications?Ginny Pannabecker and I covered the landscape for article archiving, including research networking sites, researcher profiles, disciplinary and institutional repositories, and personal and departmental websites. It’s important to know about journal permissions, which sites can host research as opposed to linking to it, and about limits to sharing and preservation on proprietary platforms. We got great feedback on this session, and one faculty member signed up for an ORCID identifier and used the new EFARS system to deposit scholarship to the VTechWorks faculty collection.

“Publishing Services at Virginia Tech,” hosted by Gail McMillan and Peter Potter covered the journal and conference hosting services provided by the Libraries. Attendees showed particular interest in the student journals hosted, such as Philologia and the Virginia Tech Undergraduate Historical Review (and more are on the way).

Veliswa Tshetsha
Veliswa Tshetsha
We were very pleased that our librarian exchange with the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town, South Africa coincided with Open Access Week, since Veliswa Tshetsha focuses on scholarly communication there. Her presentation Access to Research in South Africa gave an overview of open access initiatives in that country as well as on the continent. Recently CPUT signed the Berlin Declaration on Open Access, joining 45 other African universities. The main funding body, the National Research Foundation, like funding bodies in the U.S., is requiring article archiving, supporting article processing charges, and developing a policy on data archiving. Paywalls are only one of the problems contributing to what she referred to as an African “access drought.” Others include telecommunications access, high APC charges in some open access journals, embargoes, and researchers submitting to open access journals with little or no peer review.

The week ended with two sessions regularly offered by the Libraries. In “Scholarly Publishing Trends” I covered a lot of ground, from open science to peer review to ORCID, and Gail McMillan introduced attendees to our Open Access Subvention Fund and its guidelines.

Beyond our own events, there were other developments of note:

Thanks to all who attended an Open Access Week event, and thanks for reading!

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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.
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