I happened to hear an episode of the TED Radio Hour yesterday called “Citizen Science.” As I listened to the segment with Sharon Terry who, with her husband, tackled the rare genetic disease with which both their children had been diagnosed, it struck me how incredibly lucky they were to have been in the Boston area with easy access to incredible research Library collections and top-notch academic bookstores. Without this access, it would have been extremely difficult for them to access, read, and interpret the hundreds of articles they located on the rare disease PXE. With this access, they were able to learn, research, and force promotion and tenure-seeking scientists to collaborate.
This story represents why open access is so important. How many more citizen science advances could affect real lives if more “average people” had access to scientific and medical research? How much research and how many cures could be found if academic institutions reimagined the promotion and tenure system to embrace openness and collaboration above grant dollars and patents? I can only imagine.
Research should be open in order to support citizen scientists.
I recently returned from the 2017 Interlending & Document Supply Conference (ILDS). I always enjoy ILDS because it is the only time I get to see some of my non-US friends and get out of my American bubble. This year’s conference was no exception. I reconnected with my Italian friends, made new “in real life” friends from around the world, and saw more of my American friends than expected too.
In addition to wonderful people, there were interesting and informative programs. Here are just a few of the highlights.
Stephen Wyber filled us in on IFLA‘s activities and the important role of resource sharing in their efforts. We are the ones that can provide them with the front line stories of how copyright inhibits information sharing.
I learned more about Open Access Button development efforts from Joseph McArthur. This work has the potential to greatly enhance library services around discovery and delivery. I’m really excited about the possibilities!
There were several presentations around collection strategies, particularly regarding faculty involvement, that were really helpful to work currently happening at my library. I hope to adapt a lot of what Micquel Little and David McCaslin shared for my own environment. You can find David’s paper here.
I also enjoyed hearing Giovanna Colombo talk about NILDE‘s international ILL survey, which was similar to surveys conducted by the ALA RUSA STARS International ILL Committee. (I was involved with the Committee’s first two surveys.) There were many similarities in the issues identified. Some problems are universal! You can find the slides from Giovanna’s presentation on the NILDE blog.
Overall, a very successful conference in one of my favorite cities.
If you’re interested in what I talked about, you can find my paper and presentation in IUPUI ScholarWorks.
Open access benefits scholars everywhere by connecting them to research they may not otherwise be able to access, but I’d like to take a moment to look at open access in reverse. By making my research open access, I benefit myself as well as the community at large. My work gets much wider exposure through my deposits in IUPUI ScholarWorks than it would ever receive confined to a single journal or conference. My 2012 article, “Opening Interlibrary Loan to Open Access,” has 415 file views from countries as diverse as the US, China, Italy, Ukraine, and Australia. The 2011 conference presentation on which it was based has 177 file views from an equally diverse set of countries. Another 2012 article, “Going Global: An International Survey of Lending and Borrowing across Borders,” has 156 file views.
The impact is even more apparent when you look at conference presentations.
My most recent conference presentation,* which only had 18 attendees, already has 12 file views after only 10 days in ScholarWorks!
These altmetrics demonstrate the increased impact of my work outside of the original presentation vehicle whether it be a conference or journal. By participating in the IUPUI Open Access Policy, I enjoy the benefits of broader readership and community impact while promoting knowledge sharing and information equity. For me, depositing in IUPUI ScholarWorks is a win-win proposition.
* at time of original publication