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"What OA Means to Me" (OA Week 2013)

Faculty quotes: 

  • Ted Striphas: Open Access refers to the principle that knowledge is a public good and thus deserves to be, where appropriate, freely accessible to all.  This particularly applies where public monies have underwritten the research, although it makes good sense as a more general endeavor as well.  Open Access reduces barriers to entry and makes it easier for people from all walks of life to understand, extend, and possibly even challenge the bodies of knowledge that exist all around us—except of course when they're locked behind big corporate paywalls. [not here OA Week]

  • Jason Jackson: Open access means different things to different people and the points that I foreground are not necessarily central, or even relevant to, the motivations of others. With that caveat in mind, open access for me is about a battle against knowledge inequality and the social, cultural, political and economic interests with a vested interest in sustaining it.

  • David Polly: Open Access means more than being able to access information without a pay wall, it means facilitating the open exchange of information and ideas.  Open access is a product of the digital information revolution, which has paradoxically made open access possible and threatened its continued existence.  Before digital publishing became a possibility, scholarly work was published on paper, often by non-profit academic presses, and disseminated primarily through libraries.  The books and journals were not free, but library access usually was.  The cost of publication was usually born by the publisher, and the costs of the printed products were born by the collective resources of tax payers or centers of scholarship. The digital revolution is an opportunity to lower the costs of publishing, obviating the need for paper, ink, presses, and mailing costs.  There are costs, to be sure, at each step between author and reader:  costs for the time and expertise needed to conduct the scholarship, costs for the software and computers to translate scholarship into written and illustrated form, costs for the networks to disseminate it, and costs for the computers and software to read it.  Open Access does not mean that these costs do not exist.  The threat to open access comes from commercial control of the intermediate steps in this path.  The non-profit world of scholarly publication has become increasingly amalgamated into for-profit publishing, and charging for access to published work has become easier as more scholarly work is controlled by smaller networks of publishers.  Many electronic books and journals are now more expensive than their printed predecessors, justified by publishers based on a per-access rather than a per volume one.  The ability of libraries to open their shelves freely has been severely curtailed because the publishers now retain ownership of the product.  Some for-profit publishers create the appearance of "open access" by simply by shifting the costs from reader to author, a model that is even more insidious than price-gouging because the voices of scholars without access to monetary resources are silenced.  Open Access must be sustainable, it must be non-profit, and it must be based on the same collective principles that have long underpinned scholarly publishing:  monetary support for non-profit publishing by universities and professional societies, volunteer service from scholars for editorial work, and mission support from universities and governments for subsidizing the transfer of knowledge outside their own walls and borders.  

  • Deborah Deliyannis: Open Access means that TMR's book reviews are read not just by specialists, but by anyone in the world who chooses to read them.  We know that we have many subscribers to our listserv who are not at .edu addresses; we also know that we have readers from around the world, on all the inhabited continents, we don't know who they are, but they all get the same access.

  • Wayne Storey: greater access to and distribution of scholarship. I think especially of my Petrarch edition and how even just pieces of it are getting more readership because it's free on the internet. [not here OA Week]

  • Kharon Grimmet, PhD: As President of the Council for Exceptional Children’s (CEC) Division for Physical, Health, and Multiple Disabilities (DPHMD), Open Access means… EASY ACCESS for our authors to submit manuscripts electronically. A USER FRIENDLY electronic manuscript review system. EXPOSURE to a countless number of parents, teachers, individuals with disabilities, and potential members. IMMEDIATE release of limitless publications.  Open Access allows our division to break free from the financial barriers that have hindered us from reaching our true potential to meet the needs of our membership.  It allows us to expand and broaden our vision to SERVE families, teachers, and students with physical, health, or multiple disabilities internationally.

  • Karen Wohlwend: Open Access has been crucial in helping me disseminate my research publications widely, not only to reach other educational researchers but also to share findings with practitioners who may not subscribe to academic journals. The kind of one-click open access that IUScholarWorks provides has surely made my research more visible in Google searches and in Google Scholar results. As an early career scholar, I have greatly appreciated having my work organized and archived in a single online location that is monitored and maintained through IU Libraries so that I do not need to upload documents and manage links in multiple sites.

  • Wayne Storey: greater access to and distribution of scholarship. I think especially of my Petrarch edition and how even just pieces of it are getting more readership because it's free on the internet.

  • Eric Sandweiss: I hope that Open Access can help us to transform a 100-year-old scholarly journal into a 21st-century venue for research, ideas, and criticism.

  • Inna Kouper: Open Access is an opportunity to re-think our practices of scholarly production and communication and perhaps make them fairer and more democratic. As a broader cultural and intellectual movement, it goes beyond immediate goals of removing cost and permission barriers to academic literature. It calls for providing new and better answers to old questions, What are the purposes of conducting and sharing research? Who benefits from traditional versus new forms of dissemination? How will opening access to scholarly output help students, researchers, decision-makers and the public? These are important questions.

  • Craig Stewart: What Open Access means to me is that the data collected by IU researchers, and the scholarly and research output of the IU community is easily available to all of the the IU community; scientists and residents in the State of Indiana, the US;  and the global scholarly and lay community. Open access plus curation means that such data and writings will be available for decades to come, so that the taxpayers who support the collection of these data and the creation of these scholarly works -  and their grandchildren, and their grandchildren's grandchildren  - can all benefit from the investments made in IU scholarship - and from the creativity and insight of the members of the IU community who turn data into knowledge, insight, and wisdom.

  • Others contacted (declined):
    • Rebecca Spang: declined but would like to in the future. [not here OA Week]
    • Michelle Dalmau
    • Cassidy Sugimoto
    • Stacy Konkiel
    • Beth Plale
    • Marion Frank Wilson
    • Luis Gonzales
    • Eric Issacson
    • Roger Hangarter

    • Robert McDonald

    • David Wild
    • Olaf Sporns
    • Johan Bollen

Student quotes:

  • Scott Weingart, PhD; contacted 9/3/13; blurb sent: Open Access for research is about improving serendipity: increasing the risk of happy accidents that lead to insights and innovations. When you search on the web, you read what's most easily available. Sites or articles that require payment rarely get read, and with most scholarship behind paywalls, only a lucky few ever wind up reading the most cutting edge research. Granting the world open access to research means anyone can stumble upon, read, get inspired by, and build on recent scholarship; not just those of us lucky enough to be affiliated with big universities. And when billions of people have access to knowledge, the risk that just the right person will read just the right article to inspire them to cure cancer or colonize Mars increases dramatically. When scholars have access to knowledge, they improve scholarship; when everyone has access, they improve the world.

  • Nickoal Eichmann; contacted 9/3/13; blurb sent: OA breaks barriers. It's about sharing, collaboration, partnership, sustainability, empowerment, and agency. OA is also complex and a bit confusing: it's not a business or economic model, and it doesn't simply apply to academic publishing. Rather, OA is about universal, popular dissemination and consumption of all forms of media and information.

  • Cara Vukusich; contacted 9/3/13; blurb sent: It seems that in today’s world many view education as a privilege. But, I strongly believe that it is the foundation on which society is built, and is therefore a fundamental right of every human being. Education spawns creativity and innovation. It produces outstanding scholars. It brings people together, creating a sense of community in a world where we can feel so very alone. So what better way is there to empower people than Open Access? It is the key that unlocks a world of opportunity.

  • Kayt Ahnberg; contacted 9/3/13; blurb sent: OA means a lot of different things to me as a library student; -A better publishing model for a generation of instantaneous information users and sharers. -Increased opportunities for students outside the university sphere and in developing nations to benefit from, and contribute to, scholarly discourse and research. -A chance for libraries to commit to sustainable digital initiatives.

  • Clinton McKay: contacted 9/5/1; blurb sent: Open access is about putting everyone on the same team, inviting everyone to think about new ideas and encouraging them to work together to find solutions.

  • Brianna Marshall: contacted 9/5/13; blurb sent: Open access lets me release a freely available ebook to share with my peers.

  • Matthew Strandmark: contacted 9/5/13; blurb sent: Open access represents the best in scholarly collaboration and cooperation. For so long, advancements in research have been restricted by the antiquated traditions of scholarly publications and organizations.  Open access levels the playing field, making it easier and more effective for scholars and students alike to share influential ideas and to create collaborative and revolutionary projects.  Open access is also one of the fastest growing trends in the world of scholarly research and information technology.  The possibilities of open access platforms and their implications on the academic status quo are astounding and exciting.

  • Others contacted (declined):
    • Tiffany Saulter
    • Stephanie Poppe
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