Library hosts open access contest

Photo by Vicky Smith
Open access contest: Contest winners Samikcchya Humagain, Dr. Sylvia Burgess, Laura Boles and Brian Frank (husband of contest winner, Joyel Frank) receive gift cards.

Vicky Smith
Managing Editor
@pinkwritinglady
To celebrate International Open Access Week, the Cameron University Library Director Sherry Young hosted an Open Access Contest.
Young said the purpose of the contest was to raise awareness of Open Access (OA) at Cameron.
“Libraries and universities are getting interested into what’s called OA to scholarly information,” Young said. “The idea behind this is that researchers make their research available through the Internet – free of charge to people.”
For the contest, Young said she developed a web-based activity. To complete it, students and faculty read the publication “Open Access to Scholarly and Scientific Research Articles.”
“Each participant described one aspect of open access that appealed to him or her after reading [it],” Young said. “Next, participants visited Cameron Library’s Affordable Learning Solutions web page to locate an open textbook.”
Young said she utilized a computer program to select six winners at random: one faculty member and five students. Retired Cameron Dean of Liberal Arts and Librarian Josephine Raburn provided some of the prizes.
Dr. Sylvia Burgess, Joyel Frank and Tiffany Beathe each received a $100 gift card to the Cameron Bookstore. Laura Boles and Samikcchya Humagain each received a $15 iTunes gift card, and Samuella Addo received a $10 gift card to Starbucks.
According to Young, Cameron librarians underwent specialized training in OA to ensure that students and faculty members would benefit from its use.
“The benefits are that the research is available more rapidly to people,” she said, “and there’s not a cost barrier.”
Young said OA to scholarly information is important for many reasons, such as for expanding the availability of the library’s subscription databases and print collections.
“Thanks to OA,” she said, “students and faculty have online access to medical scholarship produced as a result of National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. Research study results become available more rapidly than would be the case if they were published in print journals.”
Young said from a researcher’s perspective, OA provides student and faculty scholars with a mechanism to store their original work efficiently and effectively.
“Academic institutions are establishing OA repositories that help their students and faculty members make their work available,” she said. “Oklahoma librarians and information technology professionals are working to create ShareOK, a digital repository with potential for Oklahoma university students and faculty to store and make available their scholarship.”
According to Young, if any Cameron faculty members are interested in learning how to publish their work in OA journals, the librarians would be happy to help them.
“[The] librarians watched an American College and Research Libraries’ webinar,” Young said, “which highlighted the many considerations and options faculty members confront when considering where to publish their work. Cameron librarians can assist faculty members with that decision-making process.”
Young said although she does not believe any university is ready to require professors to use an OA textbook, OA will further develop over time.
“Cameron wants to encourage our faculty to use open textbooks because the students wouldn’t have to buy their textbooks,” she said. “We’re not really there yet because there are not enough choices. … There aren’t a lot of supplemental materials – for example, workbooks and test banks.”
Young said students can still read OA textbooks for extra help in their classes.
“If the student knows how to go online to find an online textbook,” she said, “then the student could use that in addition to the [purchased] text that they have.”
For more information about OA, talk to a Cameron librarian, or visit the following link: http://www.sparc.arl.org/sites/default/files/Open_Access.pdf.

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