Open Access Week 2019: How Can Fairfield U Faculty Promote Open Access?

Monday, October 21st marked the beginning of International Open Access Week, an initiative organized by SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) to increase the awareness of the benefits that open access materials and resources offer the academic and research community. As directed, we're spending this week reflecting on our practices here as part of this community, both at on and off campus. Longtime fans of the Library will remember our Open Educational Resources (OER) workshop back in October 2015 when we welcomed SPARC's Director of Open Education, Nicole Allen and several of our colleagues from across Connecticut to present and lead discussions on OER topics like the rising cost of textbooks, research paywalls, and publishing restrictions, among others.

Let's rekindle the passion we felt after hearing those testimonies to the benefits of OER and explore a few ways that we can support open access.

Submit your research articles to Open Access journals

It shouldn't be a surprise that articles in OA journals are seen by a broader audience since they are not blocked by a paywall. This leads to increased citation and usage as well as an overall greater engagement between your work and both the public and academic communities. Moreover, OA journals are proven to have a faster impact on the research community.

Use the Directory of Open Access Journals to find those available in your field.

Deposit your research in our Digital Commons

DigitalCommons@Fairfield makes the scholarship of Fairfield University easily available in one location online, enabling increased access to colleagues (both at Fairfield and beyond), students, and the greater internet community.  Works placed in the repository are more easily discovered in common internet search engines as well as other academic search portals.  This greater access makes it easier for researchers around the world to discover your work.

In addition, because a permanent URL is established, researchers can cite these works without the normal concerns regarding content online disappearing or moving.  DigitalCommons@Fairfield is a valuable way to extend the scholarly output of Fairfield University to include greater reach and increased circulation not only in Connecticut, but throughout the country and beyond.

Consider using Open Textbooks in your classes

One of the most publicly discussed issues relevant to OA/OER is the affordability, or lack thereof, of textbooks. Perhaps you have even noticed manifestations of this issue in your own classes- like students buying older editions or even worse, not buying one at all and depending on the kindness of their classmates to lend them their copy. So, while there might be no way around the necessity of a certain textbook, it is worth considering using one of the many Open Textbooks, compliant with OA/OER, as an alternative.

Visit the Open Textbook Hub to see if there are any options to use in your classes.

Take advantage of the Library's resources & services

Another way to ease the economic strain on your students is to utilize the collections, resources, and services that we have in the Library. As you're designing your syllabi, consider looking through our catalog to see if any of the materials you plan on using are available here. You can easily embed permalinks to e-books and articles in Blackboard and put physical items on Reserve for your students to access in the Library. Speaking of Course Reserves, we welcome personal copies of textbooks, books, articles, & media being placed on reserve- a gesture that significantly helps encourage your students' success and limits their financial stress.

Discover more ways that you can help promote OA

SPARC's Director of OER, Nicole Allen's presentation on the textbook crisis