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Drexel Libraries Promotes Open Access on Campus

October 30, 2017

Last week, Drexel Libraries joined members of the scholarly publishing community – from publishers and vendors to researchers, students and librarians – to celebrate the 10th annual Open Access Week, a global event for the academic and research community to share information, experiences and ideas about open access (OA) publishing.

This year, the Libraries focused its efforts on raising awareness of open access publishing at Drexel. Staff posted general tips and information about open access on the Libraries’ Twitter and Facebook pages throughout the week. They also used the Libraries’ social media channels to showcase a few of the highly-cited OA articles published by Drexel researchers. (Check out our Storify for a look at the Libraries’ OA Week social media posts.)

But the Libraries’ efforts around OA education don’t start or stop with open access Week. Academic libraries have long promoted Open Access publishing, and the Libraries staff at Drexel are regularly exploring new ways to support open access on campus.

What is Open Access?

As defined by SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), “Open access is the free, immediate, online availability of research articles coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment.”

With open access, the cost of producing and distributing research articles is shifted from the reader (or in many cases, the library), who normally pays a subscription fee, to those who produce the material (the authors or funding organizations). In lieu of a subscription fee, the authors or their funding organization will pay an Article Publishing Charge (APC) to make an article openly available for anyone to read.

Open Access at Drexel

OA publishing among Drexel researchers is steadily increasing, and the Libraries is well-positioned to facilitate even wider adoption of OA at Drexel.

“In 2016, Drexel authors published 2,095 research items that are indexed and tracked in the Web of Science,” explained Beth Ten Have, Director for Library Academic Partnerships, who helps monitor publishing efforts at Drexel. “Just under 11% of these items are open access, which represents a big jump in OA publishing activity by Drexel’s scholars, up from 4.5% in 2011, as measured by Drexel authored items indexed in Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science.

Open Access has become central to the Libraries’ mission and initiatives to facilitate the collaborative introduction of open access resources at Drexel is among the Libraries’ newly defined strategic activities in coming years.

Libraries staff have extensive knowledge of open access and publishing in general, which they share through campus-wide workshops and information sessions and in an
open access library guide. The Libraries also manages Drexel’s existing OA memberships and explores new ones that might benefit faculty, staff and students. Currently, the Libraries maintains a membership with Biomed Central, a leading open access publisher. As a benefit of membership, all Drexel researchers get a 15% discount on APCs for all research articles accepted for publication in any Biomed Central journal

Beyond general awareness and education efforts, the Libraries is also exploring ways to increase use of OA materials in curricula to reduce textbook costs for students. For one, the Libraries plans to work with members of PALCI to introduce Open-source textbooks to Drexel faculty and staff, encouraging them to replace traditional textbooks with these free or low-cost options when possible. (Open-source textbooks – like open access journals – are freely available online for use by students, teachers and members of the public.)

Through its open access efforts, the Libraries aims to encourage the sharing of scholarly research in the belief that when scholars share their work with each other, the entire academic community benefits.

For more information about open access, visit the open access library guide or contact us at