OpenCon 2014 – Student Report

The following post was written by Janine Hardy who received the University Library sponsored scholarship to attend OpenCon 2014 in Washington DC. 

OpenCon was an amazing experience.  The discussions focused around Open Education, Open Source material, and Open Access for everyone.  There were participants from so many different countries that were extremely passionate about these topics.  Presenters were so passionate that they even paid for their own accommodations and flights.  Topics revolved around open journals and being able to access information and use it to advance studies.  The highlight for me was listening to Jack Andraka who discovered a tool for detecting pancreatic cancer.  He was frustrated by not having access to journal articles and the expense of those articles.  This was an “I get it” moment for me.  As a university student we have access to so many journal articles that are subscribed to by the university and I took this for granted.  Open Access provides everyone with the information needed to advance education, science, etc.

Slides from our “Open Data *for Scholars*” session

Ever wondered about open data? This session is an ‘Open Data 101’ for scholars interested in using and/or publishing open data in their research projects. Learn about the merits of open publishing; the wheres and hows of repositories; and the vibrant open data community. Of particular interest to graduate students and faculty, this session will enlighten your research practices! All disciplines welcome.

Open Data for Scholars – slides

Next steps

How can you integrate open data into your existing research projects? If you’re thinking about using/publishing research data and would like more information about your options, please contact the UofS data librarian. The ICPSR offers good resources for research data management and may be an asset in your planning.

Open data is rapidly growing in academia and you have an opportunity to step ahead of the curve – to your advantage!

Jessica Gallinger
Social Sciences Librarian (Economics, Data, GIS)
(306) 966 – 7265

What is Open Access Week?

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. 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!

OA Week 2014 Events at the University Library:

All events are free to attend and open to all! No registration required. More details on the Events tab of this website.

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.

This was originally posted in the Educatus blog of the GMCTE. I have made minor edits to this version.