Happy Open Access Week: Programs, Ideas, and Opportunities for Library Instruction

Posted by Raymond Pun on 10/25/18 11:02 AM

Affordable Learning Solutions, First Year Experience

OAweekMany libraries from around the world are celebrating Open Access (OA) Week by hosting events, activities, and workshops for their larger academic communities to discuss the issues, challenges and benefits of open access in scholarship and research. This is an opportunity to exchange new ideas and discoveries freely, share scholarship and data, form collaborations and partnerships, and dismantle barriers to education and research.

For example, in Michigan, Grand Valley State University organized a symposium to celebrate OA week. They will feature Librarian Regina Gong to speak about open educational resources in higher education today. We have featured Regina before in a past interview on Open Education Week, check it out here. In New York, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai will be hosting a mini-conference where experts will talk about the ”impact and future of open access publishing in the health sciences fields.” OA concerns all disciplines and encourages discussion on the process of academic publishing and the publishing industry at large. If you want to find out more activities and ideas coming from other libraries, check out the events page in OA Week for some inspiration.

What does OA mean for library instruction? For those who often teach information literacy, it’s an opportunity for us to collaborate with teaching faculty and campus partners to promote and cultivate open scholarship and dialogue for those who may not have access to such resources. Pay Wall: The Business of Scholarship is a new and free documentary that covers this very issue of access and cost in academic publishing. You can show clips to encourage discourse and reflection from your students in the classroom. The documentary can also be shared with distance-learning students to view and to participate in online discussions.

If you’re embedded in one of the upper-level classes, you may wish to collaborate with the faculty to design an open access journal to showcase students’ capstone projects or final papers. This can be organized and hosted in an institutional repository or through sites like WordPress, Weebly, or Wix. The purpose of such activity is to highlight students’ work openly and to talk about the impact of open access scholarship. As the instruction librarian, you can integrate OA research into your workshop by exploring the differences among OA, proprietary and predatory journals, and what are their key features and impacts in the disciplines they’re published in. You may also speak or collaborate with your institutional repository or scholarly communications librarian colleague to get more insight on policy and process for OA publishing.

Here are selected open access publications relating to library instruction that you may find helpful to expand your own instruction practices:

  • The CREDO FYE Guide: Practices for Enhancing Instruction This five-chapter guide is free to download (no sign up required) and open to anyone interested in designing library instruction, outreach, collaboration, assessment and engagement for their academic community.
  • The IL Strategy Handbook Want more support and guidance for information literacy practices? Check out the new handbook to get tips, ideas and strategies to build an IL assessment program to marketing your IL workshops. Each chapter will be released at the end of the month in this semester. 
  • Communications in Information Literacy – This open access peer-reviewed journal is “devoted to advancing research, theory and practice in the area of information literacy in higher education.” There are a lot of interesting articles that you can peruse including “Predictable Information Literacy Misconceptions of First-Year College Students” by Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, Allison Rand and Jillian Collier. 
  • Evidenced Based Library and Information Practice (EBLIP) is a peer reviewed, open access journal published by the University of Alberta Learning Services to “provide a forum for librarians and information professionals to discover research that may contribute to decision making in the professional practice.” Articles in this journal will cover topics from information literacy to scholarly communication librarianship, and may be helpful to understand how authors collect and analyze various data and evidence to support their findings 

If you aren’t able to organize an event to celebrate OA Week, you can consider these activities for next year and continue supporting OA publishing and research all year around in your library!

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