Open Access Week 2010

OA Models & Activism

I. Open Access: How it Works / Will it Work for You?

Join a discussion of the viable models of open access publishing, learn where open access journals are indexed and come to understand the impact of open access publishing.

Open Access Publishing – Stephanie Walker

Stephanie Walker is the Chief Librarian & Executive Director of Academic Information Technology at Brooklyn College. She has long been interested in open access, supporting and promoting it, publishing articles about it, and trying to interest faculty in publishing in OA journals.

Session Notes:

Stephanie noted in her talk that six publishers own the content for nearly all scholarly information commercially published.  Open access publishing accounts for about 20% of journal content available. Different pricing models to recover costs in commercial publishing and through open access have emerged including:

  • Consortial/differential licensing
  • Author-pay (e.g., BioMed Central)*
  • Free to User,  supported by grants, foundations or the government (e.g., Bioline)
  • Free to User, supported by library subscriptions (e.g., Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
  • Supported by professional associations
  • Available through Institutional Repositories (e.g., arXiv)

*Stephanie noted that at Brooklyn College the Provost has said that any faculty faced with author fees should speak to him about coverage.

Stephanie pointed authors considering archiving copies of their own publications in an open access format to Sherpa Romeo to learn publisher’s copyright & archiving policies.   She noted the distinction between self-archiving and using an institutional repository (often built on D-Space) to archive one’s work.  Theses Canada is a good example of a major institutional repository.  The Harvard mandate for open access was also discussed.

More for You and More for Me: How Open Access Publishing Benefits Everyone – Jill Cirasella
Jill Cirasella is an assistant professor in the Brooklyn College Library Department. For years, she has benefited from publications that others have made open access. More recently, she has benefited from making her own publications open access. Come hear her talk about both the selfless and the selfish reasons for embracing open access.  The slides from her talk are available at

Session Notes:

Jill spoke about how all parties involved benefit from open access publication.  Readers find more of what they need more easily, authors have more readers for their content, institutions do not get caught paying researcher salaries and then paying again for the results of research purchased as journal subscriptions, and fields of study benefit from information getting out to more people more quickly.

Jill described open access publications as benefiting from an open access bump, similar to the Colbert bump.  Articles become easier to access, are more likely to be read, and therefore are more likely to be cited.   She also pointed out that their is no extra work needed to find open access journals, but cautioned that not all open access journals are equal.    She then went on to describe her own successful experiences that came with publishing in open access journals.  One article,
“You and Me and Google Makes Three: Welcoming Google into the Reference Interview,” published in Library Philosophy and Practice, has been included in library school syllabi and led to invitations to present at conferences.

Jill is a member of the CUNY University Senate and believes that the University may not yet be ready for an open access mandate, but that a resolution regarding open access could be issued through its Library and Information Technologies Committee.

Open Access: Activism around the Emerging Issue in Scholarship

Learn about the government position on open access publishing, lobbying efforts to make information more accessible, student activism around the issue and the new, emerging Reader’s Bill of Rights for Digital Books.

The Rights of Readers and the Threat of the Kindle – Alycia Sellie & Matthew Goins
Matthew Goins is a software developer and systems administrator for Openflows, Inc. His work is focused on software and systems that preserve user’s rights. Matt is a contributor to the Monkeysphere project, which aims to build a decentralized public key cryptographic infrastructure.

Alycia Sellie is an instructor in the Brooklyn College Library Department. She is also a student of American Studies and print culture at the CUNY Graduate Center. In her free time she is a member of the NYC Radical Reference Collective, and she publishes The Borough is my Library: A Greater Metropolitan Library Workers Zine, which is set to be released this year at the annual Desk Set Biblioball.

Session Notes:

Alycia and Matt made it clear that they are not against e-books, but rather concerned about Digital Rights Management (or Digital Restrictions Management, as they like to call it).   A major problem of current e-book models is that books a user believes he has purchased come with a licensing agreement which prohibits the right of first sale as described by U.S. copyright law Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 109 a .   Moreover, readers can quickly lose access to content they have purchased if their device stops working.  Additionally, the electronic readers are invasive and their vendors are able to track in great detail what a person has read and when.  This invasion of privacy goes well beyond what is evident in library circulation records, for example.

Alycia looks to her heroes in the library profession, such as S. R. Ranganathan, author of the Five Laws of Library Science. and the American Library Association with its Library Bill of Rights to enable her partner and her to fashion their own Readers Bill of Rights for Digital Books.

E-government – Jane Cramer

Jane Cramer is the government information librarian at Brooklyn College.

Session Notes:

Jane reminded us all that government information is supported by the tax-payer and should be made widely available to the public.  The government depository program, of which Brooklyn College is a part, has made this possible in the past, but the online delivery of information has increased this possibility.

Jane reported that a recent Pew Internet Research Center study showed that fully 82% of internet users (representing 61% of all American adults) looked for information or completed a transaction on a government website in 2009.

Of particular note is the increased ease of access to New York City government information.   NYC government information has not been a part of the depository library system.  Jane described times past when one would scour the halls of NYC administrative buildings looking for spare copies of their publications or be required to purchase them in the municipal book store.

The concerns of government documents librarians are versioning (in which newer editions replace older editions and no archive is maintained), permanence, funding and issues surrounding retrospective collections.

Student activism – Aditi Rajaram

Aditi Rajaram is a senior at NYU, double majoring in Journalism (New Media, ish) and Political Science. She is a member of the national Students for Free Culture (SFC) board, as well as President of NYU’s chapter.

Session Notes:

Aditi noted that the group SFC was inspired by Lawrence Lessing’s book Free Culture and founded by two Swarthmore students after they sued voting-machine manufacturer Diebold for abusing copyright law in 2003.  The group has national and international chapter as far away as Sierra Leone.  Aditi herself became interested when reading the 2007 article in the New York Times File Sharing Students Fight Copyright Constraints and saw the New York University Chapter of SFC mentioned.

SFC has also worked with the Right to Research Coalition, an advocacy organization open to student organizations.  Student interest in open access from students knowing that research information they have access to as students will disappear after they graduate from college.   Students are conscious that URLs they find in restricted access sites such as those maintained by their universities and also found in  freely accessible web sites such as Wikipedia and Google Scholar may link to journals that are not freely accessible.  The thwarted leads become a frustrating road-block to post-graduation research.   Aditi remarked that “research should be bounded by what’s out there and not by what you can find and are allowed to use.”  She recommends that students participate in open access publishing by writing an article for Wikipedia and use open access materials when they can.  Examples of open access projects worth checking out include the Encyclopedia of Life and Time Tree.

Another way students have gotten involved in the open access movement has been through their work with the overprice tags project.  The project draws attention to the high price of individual journals available in research libraries.

Thanks to Aditi’s activism with SFC, New York University has held its own Open Access Week event this year.

New York State Higher Education Initiative (NYSHEI) & Access – Jason Kramer

Session Notes:

Jason spoke about his work lobbying to get New York State policy makers to understand that supporting libraries is in their own interest.  Legislators will easily express a fondness for libraries but it is important for them to see that libraries are a wonderful means to an end.  He hopes to make use of the fact that despite New York State’s having the worst economic outlook of any state in the nation, it ranks the highest for its higher education sector.

Jason discussed the ARIA (Academic Research Information Access) project and a new project to increase access to clinical information.

The work done in 2006 by the New Jersey Association for State Colleges and Universities Promise Action Network has served as a model for NYSHEI.

When & Where
Monday, October 18, 2-4pm @ the Brooklyn College Library, Woody Tanger Auditorium (Directions)


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