Tag Archives: scholarly publishing

FutureEd Needs Open Access Publishing

Open access publishing is crucial for higher education to reach larger publics. MOOCs without strong content can’t draw decent audiences. And as much as we can love a charismatic sage-on-the-stage, decent higher education requires, well, doing the homework.



(Image source)

Our #FutureEd lunchtime discussion last Friday focused for a while on MOOC politics. Cathy Davidson’s Coursera experiment allows registered students access to the texts supporting the course, but students can’t link to them from elsewhere else (say, from a blog), and there’s no access to the readings after the MOOC is over. MOOCS vary in their degree of openness.

Coursera is a licensed xMOOC platform designed to extend higher ed by lowering costs of delivery and eventually developing a profitable business model. xMOOCs, mostly funded through venture captial now, anticipate income from student consumers, someday, somehow. xMOOCs license text books and library databases to registered Coursera students. Registered students provide a limited audience of readers with limited access to course readings – the articles, books, book chapters, film, and videos assigned. How far can higher ed extend if essential reading continues to be tightly regulated, locked behind paywalls? Not far.

cMOOCs (the 1st “c” is for “connectivist”) , on the other hand, involve open source, home-designed platforms that require no course registration. cMOOCs intend to extend peer-to-peer contact and learning without barriers. They are usually wholly accessible in every way without tiers or time-limits to content. cMOOCs have the greatest potential to extend higher education to new audiences. Open access scholarship is at the heart of this effort.

Last spring’s JustPublics@365 Participatory Open Online Course was an academic project close in shape and spirit to a cMOOC. Organizers wanted everybody engaged with the course Reassessing Inequality and Reimagining the 21st Century: East Harlem Focus  — those with a CUNY affiliation or not, those who registered for course credit or not — to have free, complete access to the entire body of presentations, discussions, articles, books, and film. We also wanted the readings and videos to stay available for those coming along after the course finished, here. GC librarian colleague Shawn(ta) Smith performed the journal literature review; I covered the books and book chapters. Out of 117 assigned readings (film, articles, book chapters, books), 65% were either found or forged open online, at least for the duration of the course. 48% of those 117 are now in permanent, permissible open access contexts —  in open access journals, posted on author websites, self-archived in institutional or subject repositories. Another small percentage of the 117 are posted on the open web in violation of publisher’s licensing agreements. These “rogue postings” are freely discoverable until a publisher decides to issue a take-down notice, as Elsevier did recently in response to articles authors self-archive on Academia.edu. 65% is pretty good, I guess, but open access work has got to become the norm, not the exception, for higher ed to reach new citizen audiences. For MOOCs to work, open access scholarship must work.

(Open Scholarship for Open Education: Building the JustPublics@365 POOC
a presentation by Shawn(ta) Smith, Polly Thistlethwaite, and Jessie Daniels)

Authors and librarians can work together to make scholarly work free and available to larger publics, without violating publishers’ contracts. Help yourself to our presentation on the topic, and watch this space for more.


Invitation: Open Access to Scholarly Literature Discussion

The goal of JustPublics@365 is to connect the work done in the academy to publics beyond the walls of the ivory tower.   Sharing scholarly communication with a broad audience relies on models of publishing that are “open,” that is, that make scholarly literature available to anyone, not just those with an institutional affiliation and access to a research library.  Discussions about issues related to how widely available scholarly literature should be are often referred to under the umbrella term “open access,” or (OA).

As it happens, today marks the beginning of International Open Access Week.  In conjunction with this,  C120x240UNY librarians are launching an Information Interventions @ CUNY series and you’re invited to attend the first event in the series.

Open Access to Scholarly Literature: Which Side Are You On?
Friday, October 25, 2013
10am – noon
The Graduate Center
Rooms C201/C202 (Concourse Level)
Refreshments will be served


Open access (OA) to scholarly literature recently hit a major milestone: Half of all research articles published become open access, either immediately or after an embargo period. Are the articles you read among them? What about the articles you write? Are the journals to which you submit open-access friendly? What about the journals for which you peer review? Are there any reasons why the public should not have access to the results of taxpayer-funded research?

Jill Cirasella (Associate Librarian for Public Services and Scholarly Communication, Graduate Center) will explain the motivation for OA, describe the details of OA, and differentiate between publishing in open access journals (“gold” OA) and self-archiving works in OA repositories (“green” OA). She will also dispel persistent myths about OA and examine some of the challenges to OA.

Please RSVP to Jill Cirasella or Maura Smale.

This event is sponsored by the LACUNY Scholarly Communications Roundtable and JustPublics@365.

There are more Information Interventions @ CUNY coming up! Save the Date for our upcoming event on predatory journals and conferences:

Friday, November 15, 2013
The Graduate Center
C203/C204 (Concourse Level)


In Spring 2014, there are other events about open educational resources and the controversy surrounding dissertations and open access.  Hope to see you there!