Open Education Week 2020: Open Access

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We are midway through Open Education Week, and today’s post will examine Open Access broadly.

Open can be confusing. With terms like Open Access, Open Education, Open Educational Resources, Open Source, and Open Science among many others, it’s easy to get a bit confused. However, what underpin all ‘Open’ concepts are copyright and the sharing of information.

Perhaps you are wondering what copyright is exactly? Basically, copyright is a set exclusive rights for authors which grant them legal control over who can use their work and in what ways. Licenses are terms which allow authors to transfer or forgo all or some of these rights, like in traditional book deals or article publishing. Creative Commons licenses are perhaps the easiest and most transparent way to license content and ensure a wider audience for your works now and in the future.

Sometimes we forget that we live in a transitionary period between print and digital media technologies. Publishing models from the first scholarly journal onward were tied to print technology and the materials and labor costs involved with advertising, reviewing, typesetting, printing, and distributing scholarly works.

Open Access arose out of the revolutionary potential of networked digital computers. Instead of waiting for their works to appear in print journals, scholars began sharing their papers with each other via email. By the 1990’s, having websites that host these preprints allowed for greater and more organized sharing. Arxiv.org (pronounced ‘archive’) was one of the first of these repositories.

Open Access journals allow for rigorous peer review, sometimes replacing the infrastructure supplied by commercial publishers with their own internet platforms. While there are many economic models for Open Access journals (and repositories), their goal is to provide immediate and free online availability to readers.

Instead of being tied to a Closed Access system of the past, we can embrace ‘Open’ as a means to share high quality scholarship more widely, equitably, quickly, and collaboratively. Open Access is currently helping fight the Coronavirus, and Open Access articles are cited more than their traditional counterparts.

There is much more to the story, and perhaps this article raised more questions for you than it answered. The Touro College Libraries are here to help you navigate these issues. Checkout our guides on Copyright, Research and Scholarship, Creative Commons, and Open Educational Resources to get started, and contact us for any help you may need!

This post was contributed by Tim Valente, Scholarly Communications Librarian. 

 

 

Open Education Week 2020

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Image source: openeducationweek.org

Happy Open Education Week! At Touro College Libraries, we are celebrating all things open education this week (and the rest of the year too). Follow this blog, and our social media accounts (@tourolibraries), and check out our bulletin board outside of the Midtown Library.

What would you do if you had an extra $175 to spend?

One Touro student saved that much in one semester when her professors used OER, or open educational resources, instead of traditional textbooks. OER, as defined by the Hewlett Foundation, “are high-quality teaching, learning, and research materials that are free for people everywhere to use and repurpose.” These materials can include test banks, lesson plans, and assignment templates, but most commonly, the term OER is associated with textbooks.

In the definition of OER, free means both free of costs and free when it comes to the application of copyrights. OER are licensed under Creative Commons, or are simply in the public domain, which means they can be distributed, adapted, copied, edited —basically you name it — without legal repercussions.

And, as that student who saved $175 put it, “Open textbooks are helping me drastically cut costs associated with pursuing my undergraduate degree and I am now able to apply these funds towards other things including tuition payments. It makes my life easier since typically at the end of each semester I am left with these books that I will likely never use again that just take up space as they sometimes can’t be resold.”

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Image source: Manfred Steger from Pixabay

Despite such positive student experiences, myths about OER abound:

Myth #1: Open simply means free. Fact: Open means the permission to freely download, edit, and share materials to better serve all students.

Myth #2: All OER are digital. Fact: OER take many formats, including print, digital, audio, and more.

Myth #3: “You get what you pay for.” Fact: OER can be produced to the same quality standards as traditional textbooks.

Myth #4: Copyright for OER is complicated Fact: Open licensing makes OER easy to freely and legally use.

Myth #5: OER are not sustainable. Fact: Models are evolving to support the sustainability and continuous improvement of OER.

Myth #6: Open textbooks lack ancillaries. Fact: Open textbooks often come with ancillaries, and when they do not, existing OER can provide additional support.

Myth #7: My institution is not ready for OER. Fact: Any institution can start with small steps toward OER that make an impact for students.

(Source: “OER Mythbusting” from SPARC)

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Image source: Annett Zobel from Pixabay

Faculty across Touro are already adopting and adapting OER textbooks for their courses.

For example, the psychology department faculty at NYSCAS have adopted OER for their GPSN 110 course, and because of this, over 290 students across more than 12 sections have benefited from free, open textbooks.

Since the Open Touro initiative was established in Fall 2018, the use of OER has saved Touro students over $54,000 collegewide.

You can help increase that number by adopting, adapting, or even authoring your own OER — and librarians are here to help!

If you are interested in reviewing open textbooks available in your field, contact Georgia Westbrook (georgia.westbrook@touro.edu) or Sara Tabaei (sara.tabaei@touro.edu).

Learn more about the Open Touro OER Initiative here: http://libguides.tourolib.org/OER

This post was contributed by Georgia Westbrook, Open Educational Resources & Instruction Librarian.

Touro Faculty Poet Series–Part II

Our second poet faculty for National Poetry Month is Professor Helen Mitsios. She holds an MA in English and American Literature from Arizona State University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University. Professor Mitsios is an award-winning poet and author of the collection If Black Had A Shadow. Click here to see a list of her poems on Touro Scholar, our institutional repository. She teaches literature at NYSCAS, a division of Touro College. Keep reading to learn what has inspired her to write poetry and how she connects poetry to teaching and learning.
What prompted you to write poetry?

I wrote poetry even in grade school. But it wasn’t until I read Letters to a Stranger by Thomas James that I wanted to become a “real” poet and learn the poetic art of moving the emotions in my writing–the emotions being, after all,  the basis of everything. I thank my professor, the celebrated poet Norman Dubie, for introducing me to James in an undergrad poetry class I took at Arizona State University.

In what form/style do you compose your poems?  Lyric poetry

What is the role of poetry in your teaching? Or how do you think poetry has an impact on students and their learning?

In teaching, I stress quality over quantity. Of course, both are necessary. 

Well, I’m biased of course, but I think studies that promote creativity also lead to innovation in fields like business, science, and medicine. For example, it’s why Harvard University admits artists and poets to their MBA program.

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Portrait of Professor Helen Mitsios by Tony Winters

Contributed by Professor Helen Mitsios, Language and Literature, NYSCAS, Touro College.

 

 

Learn how to legally re-use your own figures

Do you create figures for your papers? And then publish your papers in closed-access journals?

Copyright agreements will vary from publisher to publisher, but if you have created your own figures and illustrations for your publication, nobody else will be able to reuse them, unless they are granted permission by the publisher. In some cases, not even you, as the author, would have permission to reuse those figures.

Sara Hänzi explains how to legally re-use your own figures and, in turn, create more visibility to your work.

Continue reading

Introducing Open Textbooks this fall at Touro: students save almost $15,000.00

Is this textbook required? Can I use an older edition? Does the library have this book? These are common questions raised by students at the beginning of every semester. The reason why they are so common is very simple: textbooks are expensive. In the last 20 years, their price increased over 200%, while college tuition increased 191%, both way above the overall inflation (+57.4%, Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Bashe Simon, director of Touro Libraries, initiated a project to raise awareness of open textbooks. Open textbooks are resources that are available at no cost under aCreative Commons license. This allows them to be downloaded, stored, distributed, revised, and remixed to suit the instructor’s need. They are free and have been used in numerous higher education institutions with great success (see, for example, this project by Tidewater Community College). Continue reading

Welcome Back to Bay Shore!

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Hello from your friendly librarians at Bay Shore:  from left to right, Heather, Annette, and Joan.

This fall will be a fresh start for many of our students at the Touro School of Health Sciences in Bay Shore. But whether you are a returning student or just starting out, please keep in mind that the library has many resources for you. We can assist you in learning how to locate books, find full-text articles, and conduct research. While on campus, you may benefit from our quiet study spaces, research computer center, and of course, your friendly librarians. Continue reading

Introducing Cabells Scholarly Analytics

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Navigate through the waves of predatory publishers with Cabells Scholarly Analytics!

We recently subscribed to a database called Cabells Scholarly Analytics. The library acquired it because there is a need for a resource that provides listings of legitimate academic journals and fraudulent journals all in one place. Now, let’s take a closer look at this database.  Continue reading

1st Touro Learning Strategies Exchange

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(CC0 image)

Despite the terrible weather, I headed to Manhattan on Sunday February 12th to attend the First Annual Touro College Faculty Learning Strategies Exchange Conference.  Although geared toward Professors, I figured there would be content that librarians could benefit from since we teach information literacy, and I was right. I learned a lot that I can apply to make my classes more effective. Continue reading

Lessons from Evidence-Based Healthcare: Improving Library Services for Faculty Research

writing-828911_960_720Touro librarians are committed to continuously upgrading our knowledge and skills so we can best help our students and faculty.  This year it seems that a main theme of our professional development activities at the Bay Shore campus has been “Research.”  Our health science students are learning to practice Evidence-Based Healthcare, which involves incorporating the best research evidence available into clinical decision-making.  Finding the best research evidence available is one of the subjects that librarians are being asked to teach our students.  Looking back on the past year, we have attended an array of interesting and useful trainings on the topic of research so that we will be up to the task.  In the process, we have also learned skills that we feel can help our faculty with their research. Continue reading