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Panelists Help Drexel Faculty and Students Understand Open Access Publishing

December 7, 2018

The Drexel Libraries’ wrapped up its fall 2018 ScholarSnack series on November 29, 2018, with a panel discussion on navigating the Open Access (OA) landscape. The session was co-sponsored by the Drexel Graduate College. Targeted for students and early-career faculty, this ScholarSnack session attracted eight faculty and staff and four students.

The panel featured Drexel’s own Alison Kenner, PhD, Assistant Professor of Politics at the Center for Science, Technology and Society; Gail Rosen, PhD, Associate Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering; and Larry Milliken, Manager for Learning Partnerships at the Libraries. Stacy Stanislaw, Communications Manager for the Libraries, served as moderator.

Panelists responded to questions like, “What exactly is Open Access publishing?” and “How do you find funding to cover OA fees?”

According to 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.” There are several Open Access publishing models that offer authors varying reuse rights and opportunities, but all models promote the same goal: increased access to information.

“Open Access is about making sure our research is accessible to the public and to the communities that we are conducting the research with and on,” explained Dr. Kenner during the discussion. “For me, as an anthropologist and a Science and Technology Studies (STS) researcher, these communities include patients suffering from asthma or their doctors, as well as researchers and scientists. Open Access is also about the broader, ethical issue of who has access to knowledge production and creating more ethical environments that ensure access to information for all. “

Panelists explained that the OA landscape can be intimidating to young authors, much like the traditional publishing landscape. They shared tips for finding and evaluating OA journals, as well as stories about predatory OA journals and how to spot fake journals and editors.

Throughout the session, Larry Milliken noted the different resources the Libraries offers to help faculty, staff and students find OA journals, understand copyright and more. Those resources are available through the Libraries’ OA research guide.

Although panelists discussed some key aspects of Open Access, there is plenty more to add to the conversation. The Libraries is already looking for new ways to continue the conversation around Open Access issues, from depositing research outputs in repositories to utilizing Open Access publications in courses to reduce costs for students to access textbooks. Stay tuned for more information about the Libraries’ OA initiatives and upcoming ScholarSnack events!

Didn’t make it to the discussion? Watch the session recording on YouTube.