Open Access Week is October 20-26, 2014!



By Diane (Dede) Dawson, Science Liaison Librarian

This year marks the eighth annual Open Access Week – an international advocacy event that seeks to promote and raise awareness about open access (OA) and several closely related areas such as open education and open data.

So… what is open access?

“Open Access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. What makes it possible is the internet and the consent of the author or copyright-holder” (from Peter Suber’s A Very Brief Introduction to Open Access).

The OA movement developed as a response to the unsustainable, higher-than-inflation, journal subscription increases experienced by libraries over the last few decades (and continuing to this day). Library budgets have not kept pace, resulting in journal cancellations and less money for book purchases.

Increasingly, researchers cannot access the articles they need – and sometimes they cannot even access the articles they wrote themselves! Removing barriers on access to information will ultimately enhance the speed of scientific progress.

There are other, ethical, reasons for making research OA too. A large amount of research in Canada is funded by taxpayers through the three federal funding agencies: NSERC, SSHRC, & CIHR (“Tri-Agency”). Shouldn’t taxpayers be able to access the results of research they funded without having to pay again? Indeed, the Tri-Agency will soon require that the results of funded research be made openly available.

Researchers can make their articles OA by publishing in an open access journal (“gold” OA) or by self-archiving a copy of their manuscript in an open repository (“green” OA). There are many benefits to doing this (for more on types of OA journals see the blog post “Defining Open Access“). In particular, researchers will increase their visibility and readership… ultimately leading to more citations. This is known as the OA Citation Effect and has been demonstrated in many bibliometric studies now.

In this blog post I have focused on open access to research articles, but many researchers are now also making their data and teaching objects open too. Find out more about these quickly growing areas during Open Access Week this month!

OA Week 2014 Events at the University Library:

All events are free to attend and open to all! No registration required. More information can be found at http://words.usask.ca/oaweek/

Mon Oct 20 – Open Access Week 2014 Kick Off Event at the World Bank: Generation Open (Live-Streaming Webcast from Washington D.C.)
1-2pm, Collaborative Learning Lab (Rm 145), Murray Library

Tues Oct 21 – Open Data *for Scholars*
12-1pm, Collaborative Learning Lab (Rm 145), Murray Library

Thurs Oct 23 – Finding and Using Open Resources for Teaching and Research
12-1pm, Collaborative Learning Lab (Rm 145), Murray Library

For more information and resources related to open access topics see the Open Access Research Guide.

Open Textbooks Easily Available Through BC Project




There has been a growing amount of talk around the U of S, and higher education in general about open textbooks. These are digital textbooks that are freely available to learners and customizable for instructors.

Open Textbook ProjectTextbooks are expensive, something particularly clear to first year university students. This fact has had a shift toward open textbooks a priority of University of Saskatchewan Student Union President Max FineDay’s since his first term. The provincial government has also this issue on its radar as evidenced by the Saskatchewan government signing a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on the creation of open educational resources with Alberta and British Columbia.

There are several commons concerns expressed about the adoption of open textbooks. In terms of adoption there are concerns about quality and a loss to access of resources frequently provided by publishers when traditional textbooks are adopted.

BC has been leading, at least Western Canada in the area of open textbooks through the BCcampus Open Textbook Project. There are currently more than 60 open textbooks listed on the OpenEd Website from twenty-four disciplines including Accounting, Biology, Chemistry, English, Math, and Psychology. Textbooks listed there can be used by anyone free-of-charge (digital versions) and instructors are free to make any modifications they wish to the text, as long as they attribute the source and, in turn, make available the revised work with an open license. Students in BC do have an option to buy printed versions of the books at a fraction of the cost of traditional textbooks.

Texts available through the site go through a peer review process (the criteria can be found here) and, for several of the books you can read the reviews of instructors in those disciplines. The Website lists ten books that have received review scores of four or five out of five from these reviewers. Ancillary materials including instructor slides are available for some of the texts as well.

Some of the texts were created in BC, while many listed on the OpenEd site were chosen from other other open repositories including OpenStax

BCcampus is actively looking for authors, reviewers and open textbook adopters. If you are interested in adopting, creating, or contributing to an open textbook, or you simply want to know more about this option, please contact us at the GMCTE.

An Update on Open Courseware at the U of S




Last year we ran a blog post about the Open Courseware (OCW) initiative which is a joint venture of ICT, SESD and the ULC at the U of S. This portal offers a gateway to every course offered at the UofS and provides a space where instructors may choose to open up course information or learning resources to the world.

There has been a lot of talk around the university lately about syllabi being open through OCW, which is now in accordance with the Academic Courses Policy. I thought that these conversations make it an appropriate time to write another post on this initiative.

Instructors have the option to choose whether and how much material appears on ocw.  Adding open content is done within the BBLearn Blackboard system by simply turning on Public Access for any individual documents an instructor wishes to make available.  Course syllabi are set by default as Public Access documents (but with one click, instructors may restrict access to syllabi, if they so choose).

It is important to know that copyright of course materials on the open courseware site remain with the instructor responsible for the course.  Unlike open courseware sites like the one at MIT, where every document has a standard Creative Commons license agreement, the UofS open courseware site has no such blanket policy.  Instructors remain the owners of their intellectual property.  Individual instructors may label their materials on ocw with a Creative Commons license if they wish, and are encouraged to do so.

A valuable resource that comes along with open courseware is the ability to search through the calendar descriptions of all UofS courseswith ease. A quick search for “sustainable” retrieves 21 courses from 8 different colleges and schools. A search for “experiential” retrieves options from 7 colleges.

This concept behind this easy to navigate site is gaining popularity in several other Canadian universities.  It’s good to see the UofS leading the country in this innovative approach to openness.

Fair Dealing, Contracts With Publishers and Linking to Journals




By Charlene Sorensen

The Copyright Act contains a clause that allows for “fair dealing” in formal educational settings. This means that a non-substantial portion of a published work can be re-distributed to students enrolled in a class provided that neither password protection nor digital locks are circumvented. Non-substantial roughly means an article from a journal volume, a chapter of a book, or short excerpt (less than 10% of the overall work). Similarly, “direct linking” or “deep linking” to a particular piece of content within a website (i.e. giving the exact URL of a PDF file containing a paper within a journal) is acceptable provided that neither password protection nor digital locks are circumvented.

Please note that some of the library online journal holdings have contracts with publishers that limit how the resource can be used. Some agreements with publishers prohibit the direct distribution of PDF files to students in a class. Some agreements limit library reserve holdings, and some agreements prohibit direct or deep links to articles within a journal. So you may be breaking an agreement/contract with a publisher (a civil offence and a violation of the digital locks Copyright Act) while thinking you are acting within the law.

Some examples of publishers that do not allow direct linking include American Institute of Physics, American Physical Society, ASME, CSIRO, Harvard Business Review, Hein Online, Optical Society of America.

It is therefore important that you check each journal title individually through the library website and familiarize yourself with any restrictions to usage before disseminating the information to your students. You may verify the usage rights in several ways:

To search for a journal title use the E-Journals tab on http://library.usask.ca.

E-Journals Tab

Entering the journal title in the search query box will connect you directly to the usage rights page. The information below the title will denote whether or not you can link to the resource based upon the license agreement.

Available Journal Options

If you use USearch to retrieve your articles, usage information will be presented to you once you click on the article title in your results list. If an article is available in more than one database, you may be able to choose the one that is more lenient with linking.

USearch Tab

If you are searching directly in a database (e.g. PubMed, MLA International Bibliography), click on the “Find it!” button and the next screen will display the usage rights information for that article.Below is an example of the e-journal Harvard Business Review, showing the usage rights information. Note that one source does not allow direct linking (red “x” to the right of the word “link”), but the other one does. More information about usage rights for an individual title through a particular source/publisher can be seen by clicking on the green highlighted link to “More info”.

More InfoFor information on direct/persistent linking, go to http://libguides.usask.ca/directlinking.

If you have any further questions, please contact your Liaison Librarian

Please remember that violations of our license terms by anyone can result in the loss of access to that resource for the entire university community.

Copyright – Easing the Pain?



Canada’s new copyright bill has passed Parliament and Senate and there are several things instructors on our campus need to know.

1. What copyrighted electronic materials can I share with my students?

Answer: share links, but if you are copying or uploading articles for students to access, make sure copyright is cleared (I.e. open access materials, material for which you have publisher permission to reproduce, or material for which a license to copy is in place).

2. May I post a PDF article on my class Blackboard or Paws site?

Answer: NO, unless you have copyright clearance do so, or it is open access, creative commons, or created by you.

3. May I hand out printed copies of a copyrighted work in my class?

Answer: NO, unless you have copyright clearance do so, or it is open access, creative commons, or created by you.

4. Am I allowed to display copyrighted materials in class?

Answer: YES you can enable your students to view images or several other copyrighted works in your classroom by displaying them on a data projector.  The sources should be cited.  Video presentations from the open Web that you can access without a login or password (eg. YouTube, movie trailers or tv show clips) are ok to be shown.  Movies, sporting events, or TV shows that you record with your PVR or rent on a DVD cannot be re-transmitted in class without a performance licenses.

5. Does this mean I can include copyrighted material (images, tables, figures, etc.) in my PowerPoint slides?

Answer: Yes if it is for display purposes in your classroom and for subsequent posting of displayed materials on Paws or Blackboard.  Students need to be told not to re-distribute or reproduce the powerpoint slides other than for personal use in the class.  Such materials need to be taken down from Paws or Blackboard within 30 days after the class ends and students should be instructed to destroy any copies after that time as well.

6. What if I need to video-record or lecture-capture my classrooms presentations – do I need to to limit what is shown in my slides?

Answer: whatever you can show in class, you can also record in a UofS lecture-capture system for your students.  We view lecture capture as time-shifting the presentation of streamed classroom presentation for later viewing by registered students only.  It is not a copy that students or others can reproduce.

7. May I email a PDF file or other attachment containing a copyrighted document to my students, or my colleagues, or my research group?

Answer: NO, unless you have copyright clearance.

For more information about copyright at the U of S, please see the Copyright Management Website.