Open Access Day at Concordia Library

Yesterday was Open Access Day. I found out about this today, but I was still able to pickup an information handout advocating open access journals, and an open access pin!

I was actually going to pickup a copy of a thesis a prior anthropology graduate had written about online communities, to get an idea what a thesis even looked like (funny to be writing something without ever having read one).

I asked about finding the thesis, and in doing so bumped into a very helpful Concordia librarian, OA advocate, and blogger, Olivier Charbonneau. I discussed my research project with him, and he shared a slew of information that gave me an idea just how much I was missing and how impossible it will be to digest it all. At least I won’t be “stalling” out with all the readings he recommended.

We also spoke about self archiving repositories, as a number of teachers I’ve interviewed have expressed a desire to make their work available outside of journals, but they did not know how to go about doing so. As part of my attempts to collaborate and make my research beneficial I’ve offered to help them do this. Charbonneau offered some suggestions as to how to go about making sure one has permission.

Yes, it can be as easy as dropping it into a repository, but my teachers love to stress and they want to make sure they have permission first. This seems to be the stumbling block, along with time, that has prevented the people I’ve interviewed from self-archiving.

I also learned that Concordia Library will soon have its own online repository. I’m sure researchers will make more use of an academy-branded repository. Maybe having the prestige of the institution at stake will start a competition of sorts for making work available. In the meantime I’ll be investigating the various self-archiving repositories and probably use them all. Why limit your article to one?


2 responses to this post.

  1. Glad that day was so productive for you. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do much in terms of OA, Tuesday. As you know, it’s an important issue for me. I keep being puzzled by the number of scholars who either don’t care about it or even fight it (using arguments which have to do with keeping publishers happy, as if publishers were on the side of broad scholarship).

    According to Stevan Harnad, self-archiving repositories can have tremendous effects in terms of research and citation impact. A Concordia repository could do a lot to help the university as a whole as well as individual scholars. As you say, repositories need not be the only place articles are found. In fact, one of the most important insights we get from Internet use is how efficient repurposing, distributed processing, and peer-to-peer networking can be. At one point, one might imagine that academic articles would be available not only as printable PDFs but also in document formats which are easy to display on a number of devices (let’s say, on an iPhone or iPod touch) or which could be annotated as easily as paper versions, with some annotations being displayed publically (I’m thinking about required readings for courses). A format which could make it easy to quote and cite specific passages. One which would provide a lot of metadata in the file itself to make not only citation databases easier to use but to enable the kind of knowledge mining where we see patterns in the literature (I’m thinking RefViz but it could go further).

    Ok, so I’m already dreaming (and rambling). The main point is, in your case, you’re engaging in the appropriate activities at the appropriate time. Good job!


  2. I wonder if Amazon’s Kindle book reader will contribute to a mobile doc format. If so it would be pretty easy to simply convert documents from any other existing format to display… ie docx or whatnot.

    I’m not getting the response I’d hoped for as far as getting teachers to self-archive. So far I have one interested party, and a number of unanswered emails. The unanswered emails are some sort of resistance that I need to explore further, because since I’ve offered to do all the work of verifying permission to publish etc, theres really no excuse not to go for it! Can you think of any other reasons you wouldn’t want to self-archive your work?

    How could it be a negative? I’ll pursue this line of questioning should the emails remain unanswered another week!


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