October 21, 2011

Morris Library to host Open Access events

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- In recognition of the international Open Access Week, Morris Library at Southern Illinois University Carbondale is hosting two Open Access Open House events this month.

Sessions are set for 3 to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 25, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 27, at Morris Library, Room 261.  University faculty, staff and students are welcome to attend at no cost.  Librarians from the OpenSIUC management team will be on hand to answer questions and help the SIU Carbondale community understand, explore and implement Open Access solutions to their needs.

Essentially, open access is the sharing of information and dissemination of research without financial cost to the end user or consumer, according to Jonathan Nabe, associate professor of library affairs and coordinator for OpenSIUC, the University’s institutional repository. 

“Instead of locking the results of scholarly efforts behind a door that can only be opened by a paying customer, open access provides immediate, free access to anyone with an Internet connection.  As a result, the potential audience for the research is vastly increased, in essence encompassing the entire world,” Nabe said.

Morris Library has a strong commitment to supporting faculty, students and staff at the University and incorporating open access to share creative work with other scholars and the general public, Nabe notes.  The library launched OpenSIUC in 2008 and the repository’s growing collection (online at http://opesiuc.lib.siu.edu/) now includes more than 6,200 documents already downloaded in excess of 434,000 times.  Included are published articles, conference presentations and proceedings, technical reports, newsletters and books as well as graduate student theses and dissertations, senior honors theses and other student works.

Nabe said that national, international and local research attests to the power Open Access has in increasing the use of scholarly work and Morris Library numbers back that up.  For instance, among dissertation authors who elect open access, the average number of downloads is 174 while those who restrict access to their dissertations to campus users have an average download of less than one.

“Simply stated, those who elect open access are being read; those who do not, aren’t,” he said. 

In addition, OpenSIUC includes a complete open access journal-publication system offering a full set of tools, including user-friendly procedures to facilitate submission of articles, peer-reviews and processing of articles.  OpenSIUC currently publishes a number of journals, both current and back issues, including “The Psychological Record,” the “Online Journal for Workforce Education and Development,” and even student work including the speech communication department’s “Kaleidoscope.”

This fall, the library added another service in support of open access on campus, the SIU Carbondale Open-Access Publishing Equity (COPE) Fund.  The fund allows faculty and graduate students to apply for financial support to cover publication fees that open access journals charge or even those assessed by traditional subscription journals that offer an open access publication office.  Find details online at http://www.lib.siu.edu/footer-portlets/services/siu-cope-fund.

Morris Library’s Open Access Open Houses are in conjunction with the international Open Access Week, an event designed to inform academic community researchers and scholars about the benefits of open access and a chance to network and share experiences with one another.

For more information, contact Nabe at jnabe@lib.siu.edu or visit the Morris Library website at www.lib.siu.edu.