Open Access at USFSP

The aim of the USFSP Open Access blog is to be a forum for discussion of open access (OA) and related issues, such as publishing, copyright, digital archives, and management of research data. This space is for members of our academic community to share their experiences, ask questions, and offer insights on these topics. I started this blog last month, as we observed International Open Access Week. I plan to post monthly, perhaps more often, as well as encourage meaningful dialogue and invite guest bloggers.

As a librarian, I often find myself in conversations about OA—explaining, advocating, and defending it. Most academic librarians I know are staunch supporters and active promoters of OA for research and research data. The ideal of OA is a natural fit with the core values and goals of our profession. But broad appeals for OA, based on our own values or what we perceive as potential benefits, aren’t always persuasive to scholars in other disciplines. And we understand that opportunities for OA are not equal for all fields.

Open access publishing has changed considerably over the last several years. The number and quality of OA journals have increased, as has their acceptance among scholars. Still, there is reluctance among many faculty researchers to publish in OA journals. Some express negative attitudes about OA journals or general skepticism of what they see as non-traditional publishing models. But the questions researchers ask me most often concerning OA publishing are about peer review, visibility, citation and metrics, and perceived quality of the journals. These are valid and practical concerns.

Many faculty colleagues have told me they support open access “in theory,” but are unwilling to submit to OA journals because they need assurance that their publications will be read widely and cited. They also worry that people who evaluate their work might see OA publications as second-rate (or worse). They question, for example, whether an OA publication will carry as much weight as “traditional” publications with tenure and promotion committees.

In the next post, I plan to discuss some of these practical issues, using an example of a successful model of OA publishing, the Public Library of Science (PLoS). If you have published in a PLoS journal or have experience with other OA publishers and journals, please share your experience. Also, please let me know of other issues of concern that we might discuss here.  Thank you.

Tony S. 11/30/2016



October 24-30 is International Open Access Week. This annual event focuses on openness in research and scholarship. It is an opportunity for scholars and open access supporters around the world to share their commitment, advocate for action, and participate locally.

The Nelson Poynter Memorial Library has been a strong advocate of open access for several years; the most visible example of this is the USFSP Digital Archive, which provides access to scholarly works of our faculty, staff, and students. Library faculty also plays an important role in educating and advising the academic community on open access and related issues, including publishing and copyright.

This year’s Open Access Week theme is Open in Action. We encourage scholars here at USFSP to participate by engaging in the conversation and helping showcase actions you’ve taken and plan to take, to make you research and scholarship more open. To see past faculty testimonials, go to our About The Archive page and click on READ FACULTY TESTIMONIALS ABOUT THE ARCHIVE.

How can you participate? Here are some ways (library staff and faculty will assist you):

·      Share your scholarly works by submitting them to the USFSP Digital Archive.

·      Publish in open access journals.

·      Serve on editorial boards of open access journals.

·      Learn about copyright and exercise your rights.

To begin this conversation, here is a testimonial from USFSP librarian, scholar, and archivist, Jim Schnur:

“As an educator since 1986 and a librarian for the past two decades, I have sought to connect students and researchers to information. Access to information empowers; open, unfettered access to trusted sources and quality scholarship enlightens. I served as part of the team that brought the USFSP Digital Archive to campus five years ago. I have also created a presence in our digital repository that allows me to share more than 250 presentations, research, publications, and professional activities with learners throughout the world. As we move to the new and expanded Digital USFSP portal, I know we will expand our commitment to open access so today’s students are better prepared to be tomorrow’s leaders.”

Share your thoughts with us now about what you have done and actions you will take to support open access. You can start by submitting a comment or question here, under “Leave a Reply.”

Coming soon: For more than five years, the Library has hosted the USFSP Digital Archive to support faculty and student scholarship, university archives, and community outreach documents. In the coming months, we will transition to a new platform—Digital Commons by bepress—and change the name of the archive to Digital USFSP. Faculty will also have access to SelectedWorks, a tool that will allow them to showcase their scholarship and creative works, maximize readership, and track impact.