Image from Wikimedia Commons
Open Access at McGill does not just happen during Open Access Week. It is alive and well the whole year round, and takes many different forms. In the past year, McGill librarians endorsed an Open Access Statement for McGill University Library, committing ourselves to open access scholarship. With the new statement, members of the McGill Library Council strive to make their publications freely available in various ways such as depositing a version of their publications in eScholarship, publishing in open access journals, advocating for open scholarship and encouraging other McGill researchers to make their research openly available. You can read more about the statement here and view McGill librarians’ publications in eScholarship here.
One way Open Access is manifesting itself in the departments I serve as liaison librarian is through the development of overlay journals in Mechanical Engineering. Overlay journals are a type of open access publication whereby experts in certain disciplines curate articles to present to their readers from open access repositories such as ArXiv, engrXiv, HAL, eScholarship and other sources, with the aim of promoting new models in scholarly publishing. Overlay journals provide the “best of” from among the many open access articles available today. Two McGill professors have been actively involved in starting up the “Journal of Theoretical, Computational and Applied Mechanics”, a new overlay journal in Mechanical Engineering. Professor Mathias Legrand serves on its Technical Board and Professor Jorge Angeles serves on its Scientific Advisory Board. The journal aims to “select publications of the highest scientific caliber in the form of either original papers or reviews” in the fields of mechanical engineering, applied mathematics, materials science, geophysics and more (https://jtcam.episciences.org/). Stay tuned for the first issue!
For more information about Open Access and what it means for your research, contact your liaison librarian!
In the face of COVID-19, many publishers are opening up access to some of their content. However, studies show that this still only represents a small percentage of the world’s research.
Making your work open can have a number of advantages:
1) Anyone can access your research, anywhere in the world
2) Open access papers are cited more*
3) You will fulfill funding-agency open access requirements
How do I make my work open?
Email email@example.com with your list of publications/CV. We will check which of your publications can be made open and how (yes, this includes articles that have already been published!). Read about one McGill researcher’s experience with making their work openvia eScholarship, McGill’s open access repository.
Have more questions about open access?
Email your liaison librarian or firstname.lastname@example.org
*See a list of studies up to 2015 about the open access citation advantage. See also this 2019 article.
I am pleased to announce that McGill Library recently became a member of engrXiv, an open access e-print repository in engineering where faculty can submit their publications. This repository is not-for-profit and relies on university libraries and other organizations to cover their expenses. Please click here for a list of other institutions supporting this important work. You can search engrXiv for freely accessible research in many fields of engineering. Wondering how to pronounce the name? Me too! Founders say to call it “engineering archive”. You’ll find out more details about its name here.
Like McGill’s own institutional repository, eScholarship, engrXiv is a recognized repository that provides faculty with a venue for publishing their author-accepted manuscripts so that they can comply with the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications requiring all grant-funded journal articles be made open access within 12 months of publication. If you are a faculty member or other researcher wishing to deposit to engrXiv, please go to: https://engrxiv.org/submit and follow the instructions. For more information about how engrXiv works, please click here.
engrXiv isn’t the only open access initiative that McGill Library supports. To learn about the others, please click here. Want to learn more about open access in general? Read all about it on the library’s pages or ask your librarian!
The U.S National Institutes of Health has launched a 3D print exchange website that allows users to download, edit and share models of anatomy, bacteria and lab equipment. Among the current available selections: a frog dissection kit, the base of a cervical spine, a bust of a Macaque, the influenza virus, a microscope, a DNA playset and a “three-dimensional structure of the toxin-delivery particle antifeeding prophage of Serratia entomophila.”
There is a lot to keep in mind when deciding where to publish and it takes time to investigate individual journals and explore their websites. Not everyone considers the same things as important to them. For some it is about a journal’s prestige while for others it is about the audience that they can reach or about ensuring that their work is open access and available freely to all.
Unfortunately, there are publishers out there that are less than honest and provide false or misleading information about who they are and the impact that they have on a field. There are also publishers with hidden fees that send out invoices to authors after publishing their papers. These are commonly referred to as predatory publishers and they have fooled many a researcher.
One site that can help is Beall’s List of potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open access publishers. Jeffrey Beall uses a set of criteria to create this list that makes a lot of sense. I urge you to take a close look at these publishers before deciding to send them your work.
You probably have heard of the open access movement or open access journals. Do you know of a source that exclusively lists open access scholarly journals? The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is such a list, where you could search for peer-reviewed journal articles and browse them by subject. For example, Geography has 123 journal titles right now. Since this source is freely available, it may become one of your essential sources for academic content once you graduate.
It’s not always easy to scratch together the money to buy an expensive textbook, and the Library does a lot to help ease the burden of those costs by buying and placing many textbooks on reserve and buying the electronic version when available. That said, it can be tough to get that reserve copy and sharing textbook costs with classmates is effective but not an all-out solution.
Autar Kaw, a mechanical engineering professor at the University of South Florida, is sensitive to the realities of how much learning materials cost. With grant money from the National Science Foundation (NSF), he has been able to turn his vision of equitable access for all into a reality. Kaw created a free, open courseware resource called Holistic Numerical Methods, promoting free access to math instruction. “Available to students across the globe, the jam-packed site offers video lectures, simulations, textbook chapters, PowerPoint presentations, multiple choice tests and worksheets to learn concepts in numerical methods (an approach that allows scientists and engineers to arrive at approximate solutions for mathematical models of problems they can’t solve exactly or that would take too long to solve).” Click here to read more about Autar Kaw, his open courseware initiatives, and his philosophies surrounding the integration of online resources with in-class instruction, along with some of the pitfalls of the ever popular Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).
Photo Courtesy of Aimee Blodgett/USF
This is Open Access Week. Watch this video to gain insight about why people in different fields love Open Access.
McGill Library is offering two fantastic workshops this month, in celebration of Open Access Week. Sure, the workshops are next week, but we’re flexible like that. Mark your calendars and join us for one or both of these informative sessions:
1. Open Access Sources: your key to accessing free and reliable research beyond the university gates
Workshop ● Monday, October 29th ● 12:00 -13:30 ● Redpath eClassroom
Are you wondering what will happen after you graduate and you no longer have access to your McGill subscriptions to online research materials? Come to this hands-on workshop and learn how to:
- Access reliable research once you’ve graduated from McGill
- Find and use a variety of Open Access resources that are available for free online
2. Connecting with reliable, open access health information on the Web
Workshop ● Tuesday, October 30th ● 15:00 – 16:30 ● Redpath eClassroom
Do you and your family members have questions about health and wellness? Come to this workshop and learn how to:
- Find reliable and free online consumer health information to answer your health and wellness questions
- Assess the information and determine if it will be useful to you, your friends and your family
- Access a collection of books, available at McGill, written specifically for consumers on health and wellness topics
To learn more about workshops offered by McGill Library, click here.
To be sure that your research gets the widest distribution possible, showcase your work in McGill’s institutional repository, eScholarship@McGill. It includes articles, conference papers, books, research reports, and theses.
This is Open Access (OA) Week and it couldn’t be easier to make your research output available to everyone freely online in eScholarship with the Library’s CV Drive. Drop by and drop off your CV and the Library will do the rest.
There are still 2 dates left for the CV Drive: Wednesday, Oct 24th, 12:30 – 14:30, FDA lobby (at the entrance to the Schulich Library), and Thursday, Oct 25th, 14:00 – 16:00, Leacock lobby.
Whether or not you have a CV in hand, librarians will be there to answer all of your questions about OA.
Happy OA Week!