Motivating Open Practices Through Faculty Review and Promotion

Despite countless policies and mandates promoting open access, as well as the development of tools and resources that facilitate it, and despite years of advocacy work, the majority of researchers are still not compelled to make their research outputs freely and publicly available.

But why not? Why is it that despite the citation advantage, ethical imperative, economic necessity, taxpayer responsibility, contribution to national development, educational benefit and, perhaps most importantly, the public's right to access to knowledge, are researchers not compelled to make their works publicly available?

After almost 10 years of going to countless of meetings, workshops, and conferences, there is one reason that comes up again and again for explaining many researchers’ hesitation towards adopting open practices: ‘being open’ is not explicitly rewarded in career progression.

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International Open Access Week in Canada

The theme of Open Access Week this year is "Open in Action": focusing on concrete steps that researchers, students, faculty, librarians, and other stakeholders can take to make information openly available. Over the next couple of weeks, we'll be updating this page for information about the various OA week events that are happening across Canada. Is your institution holding an event that you don't see on the page? Send lorrainechuen(at)gmail.com an e-mail and we'll put it on our site!

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Applications for OpenCon 2016 are open!

The application period for OpenCon 2016 on November 12-14 in Washington, DC is now open! The application is available at http://www.opencon2016.org/apply and includes the opportunity to apply for a travel scholarship. Applications will close on July 11th at 11:59pm U.S. Pacific Time.

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How a conference changed the way I thought about science (and why you should attend, too!)

To say that I was a ‘Negative Nancy’ when it came to academic conferences during grad school might be an understatement. I hated small talk and was horrible at networking. I was tired of getting mansplained to at poster sessions.  Sitting through talk after talk made my short-attention-span brain very sleepy.  And while conferences may have been satisfying on an intellectual level, sometimes I would step back to take a bird’s eye view and marvel at the ivory-tower-ness of it all.  It didn’t change much depending on the conference: I’d either be an acoustics researcher in a room full of acoustics researchers, a music researcher in a room full of music researchers, or a psychologist in a room full of psychologists.  Science, which had been at one point glamorous and romantic, had turned into something frustratingly insular, elitist, and inaccessible to the general public; and my average conference experience merely encapsulated this sentiment.

 

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SPARC and the Right to Research Coalition announce OpenCon 2016!

Earlier today, SPARC and the Right to Research Coalition announced OpenCon 2016 - which will occur on November 12-14, 2016, at the American University Washington College of Law in Washington, DC. 

 

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Rock | Libraries | Hard Place

The High Cost of Journals and The Real Reason Access Is At Risk

By Jane Schmidt.

A falling Canadian dollar combined with increasing subscription prices set by publishers have created a perfect storm for library acquisition budgets. In order to cope with this storm, libraries will inevitably have to consider cancellations given the finite amount of funding available to them. The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) recently issued a news release imploring publishers to consider “that there are limits on the public funds that research libraries—the main market for such journals—are willing and able to spend" and explained that alternative models for research dissemination and scholarly communication must be explored in order to address a “subscription-based publishing system [that] is simply unsustainable.”

Much ink has been spilled in bemoaning the scholarly publishing status quo - a world where the top five publishers reap profit margins upward of almost 40% - but yet very little progress has been made in the widespread adoption of Open Access (OA) publishing, nor in reining in profit driven publishers. Let’s explore why that may be the case.

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Introducing the Guerilla Open Access League: a new group supporting open education at McMaster University

by Wes Kerfoot

The Guerilla Open Access League (GOAL) is a new student group at McMaster University dedicated to promoting the use of Open Educational Resources (OER). Our primary task is to help fight for more use of OER at McMaster and to educate faculty and students about why there is a need to fix the current system. We're working on this by trying to educate students and instructors about OER, as well as by taking direct action to convince instructors to use open resources, and by finding cheaper or public domain versions of existing resources. OER benefits students by lowering the cost of materials, and it allows instructors more flexibility because they can make modifications. Importantly though, it also makes it possible for those who cannot attend university to get a high quality education. Pioneering institutions like MIT, who created http://ocw.mit.edu have seen amazing success with a broad range of users. Even high school students use it to learn about advanced topics or as a supplement to their education.

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OpenCon Toronto 2015

By Haley Kragness (Photos by Lorraine Chuen and Jan Wildenhain)

What is the Canadian government’s stance towards open principles? What resources do Canadian institutions offer for researchers who want to be open? How is open data changing the landscape in Toronto and beyond?

These were just a few of the questions that arose and were discussed a few weekends ago at OpenCon Toronto 2015. Held at the Mozilla Science Lab coworking space in downtown Toronto, the event drew more than 50 students, entrepreneurs, academics, and professionals from the Greater Toronto & Hamilton Area. We brought in experts from both academia and industry to lead discussions about open projects and principles relevant to the open landscape in Canada.

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#textbookbrokeBC: SFU students show how much they spend on textbooks.

By Brady Yano

The Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) has been working on promoting greater usage of Open Educational Resources (OERs) through the form of open textbooks for the past year in undergraduate courses offered at Simon Fraser University. 

Back in 2012, the BC Provincial Government approved $2 million in funding for the creation of open textbooks to address the 40 most popular first and second year courses taken at post-secondary institutions across the province. While these materials (now totalling 117) were adopted at many teaching intensive institutions across the province, no research intensive institution at the time had adopted a book. As such the SFSS in August 2014 began an initiative called the BC Open Textbook campaign which aimed at educating the SFU community of the available resources and encouraging SFU faculty members to help SFU become the first research intensive institution in BC to adopt an open textbook.

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How OOO Canada came to be

The OOO Canada Research Network formed when a few Canadian undergraduate students, graduate students, and early career researchers decided that there was a need for a Canadian branch for open scholarship advocacy.  

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