Open Access and Publicly Engaged Scholarship
In recognition of Open Access Week (October 23-27, 2017), I would also like to take stock of UW Tacoma Digital Commons and the Library’s efforts to provide faculty a platform to showcase scholarly and creative work through author profiles. UW Tacoma has identified publicly-engaged scholarship as it’s second impact goal in the recently completed strategic plan. As a librarian and advocate for Open Access, I believe that one clear, achievable way that the campus can champion publicly engaged scholarship is to promote and support Open Access to the published research of its faculty. By doing so, the public would be able to read and engage with the campus’s scholarly activities without encountering the paywalls that usually come up for subscription-based journals.
Faculty and Departmental Participation in SelectedWorks
I use the word “estimate” because we have quite a few profiles that are in-process and have not yet been made live one our site.
Here are the total number of profiles by department:
|Institute of Technology||6 Profiles|
|Milgard School of Business||5 Profiles|
|Nursing and Healthcare Leadership||17 Profiles|
|School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences||84 Profiles|
|Social Work and Criminal Justice||16 Profiles|
Again, this list doesn’t include about a half dozen faculty members who have profiles that are still in the process of being built.
All of the profiles draw from departmental collections in UW Tacoma Digital Commons for books and publications. Here is a breakdown of the total number of works shared across these collections:
|Institute of Technology||#||182|
|Milgard School of Business||3||103|
|Nursing and Healthcare Leadership||7||135|
|School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences||96||798|
|Social Work and Criminal Justice||28||464|
*Publications here refers to peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, book reviews, op-eds, and any number of non-monograph publications.
Adding up all these works bring us to this graph, which shows the total number number of works shared and which percentage is openly available:
The Open Access works identified here are usually the post-print prints (or final manuscript drafts) of peer-reviewed journal articles. Usually, authors may deposit and share their work based upon the journal polices. When an article cannot be deposited, we provide a link to the electronic version, whenever available.
Besides allowing the general public to read their publications, the faculty members who openly share their scholarly work through UW Tacoma Digital Commons are able to get analytics on how often a work has been downloaded and where the readers are located throughout the world, among other data points.
Different Strategies for Creating Profiles
To understand why these numbers look the way they do, I would like to provide some context:
The Library began offering UW Tacoma Digital Commons as a pilot project in 2012, and in that time we have experimented with several approaches to create faculty profiles. We have ultimately evolved into a service model where a small number of library staff do most of the technical work for faculty, including:
- Creating and updating author profiles;
- Checking the rights agreements for published articles;
- Uploading full-text of appropriate versions of the article in UW Tacoma Digital Commons;
- Purchasing books and linking to electronic versions of materials whenever available.
In providing this service, we have found two primary strategies to be successful for creating profiles:
Partnership with departments, units, or faculty groups: Library staff have partnered with specific groups at UW Tacoma to systematically create profiles for small groups of faculty. This has proven to be an effective way for faculty to understand Open Access and the role of profiles in sharing their work. To do this, I first meet with a faculty leader and broadly discuss the process, then I attend a faculty meeting to present the process and answer questions, and then Library staff work closely with faculty to create profiles.
General calls for profiles and publications: In order to keep up with faculty publications and provide other opportunities for individuals on campus to have profiles created, the Library is now also sending out quarterly calls for new publications. I have made calls like this twice, and we typically receive about a dozen requests to update or create profiles. A variation on this approach has also been to create profiles individually for faculty when when an interview with them is featured on this blog.
Questions for the Coming Year
As I share data about the adoption of author profiles, I would like to emphasize that the Library has undertaken this project on its own initiative in response to faculty members’ expressed needs to:
- Share the unique scholarly and creative work produce on campus.
- Connect with other researchers on campus around common interests.
As the Library’s lead for this effort, I have focused my efforts on demonstrating how a platform like UW Tacoma Digital Commons and the SelectedWorks author profiles can be used to achieve these aims. For this project to be successful — and for it to fully align with the campus’s strategic goal of publicly engaged scholarship — I recognize that campus leadership and the wider academic community must have wider conversations about the role of Open Access and the supporting technologies available to share faculty and student work.
There are two significant developments that will raise questions and perhaps encourage the wider conversations in the future:
Elsevier acquisition of bepress: During the summer, the scholarly communications corporation Elsevier announced that it has acquired bepress, the company behind the Digital Commons platform. I am exploring the implications of the acquisition on our own repository and considering its long-term effects, and I intend to share the Library’s position during Winter Quarter. For anyone interested in learning more about this, I would encourage you to read these pieces by Roger Schonfeld: “Elsevier acquires bepress” and follow-up reflections.
UW Open Access Policy: The UW Faculty Senate is expected to vote, possibly in November, on a Class C Resolution that would establish an Open Access Policy that would apply to all scholarly articles authored by UW faculty members. Gordon Aamot, the UW Library Scholarly Communications Librarian, will presenting to the UW Tacoma Faculty Assembly Executive Committee in December, and I hope that there might be additional opportunities for UW Tacoma faculty to learn about it. If this resolution is passed, it will likely lead to significant changes in the system the UW Libraries uses to share faculty research, which in turn could influence our approach to sharing faculty work. Please see the UW Libraries Scholarly Publishing & Open Access pages for more information.
Both of these developments bring into relief larger questions that have lingered in the background of the UW Tacoma Digital Commons project. The digital landscape will continue to change and evolve, but the Library remains committed to gathering, sharing, and preserving the unique intellectual and creative work that is happening on campus. It is one of the ways the Library will continue to fulfill its mission to ” our students, faculty and staff achieve their goals.”