Textbook Heroes: Olalekan Ogunsakin

Welcome to our series recognizing champions of free and affordable course materials at Touro! These “Textbook Heroes” have made a difference in the lives of our students by lowering the cost of their degrees. Do you know someone who fits the bill? Nominate them (or yourself) by contacting the Libraries. 

image: Dr. Olalekan Ogunsakin (provided)

Dr. Olalekan Ogunsakin is Assistant Professor in the Department of Basic Biomedical Sciences, and Course Director for General Pathology at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in Harlem, NYC. Dr. Ogunsakin is also a Fellow in our Health Sciences and Allied Health Open Educational Resources (OER) Faculty Fellowship 2020-2021. 

[Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that are free to all users. They reside in the public domain, or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others.] 

The Touro College OER Faculty Fellowship, sponsored by Touro College Libraries and funded by a grant from the Network of the National Library of Medicine Middle Atlantic Region, supports faculty in the health sciences and allied health fields in developing Open Educational Resources for their undergraduate and graduate students. The fellowship was awarded to five Touro Faculty members to support adopting, or creating OER for use in their courses. 


Hear more about Dr. Ogunsakin’s fellowship project in his own words: 

“The goals for this project were to evaluate and assess public health interventions to chronic diseases in East Harlem, a community where our campus is located. The project focuses on public health preparedness and intervention in conjunction with the activities of the student-run health clinic in the Harlem campus.  

“Open Educational Resources (OER) are a valuable tool that we believe will provide the requisite platform to share our project, thoughts, ideas, findings, and conclusions with the public, especially the target community of East Harlem. OER is expected to be our window-access to the outside world and the ideal platform to share our project findings with the public. 

“This project has greatly improved student participation in community outreach and intervention activities. It has also empowered the students to address health education and awareness among their potential patients and community residents. Through this project, my students and all the stakeholders have been able to assess and harness available resources for improving overall health outcomes in the community. Most importantly, every student, through this project, will come to understand the importance of health education and awareness to improving overall community health outcomes. 

“Our team has submitted three abstracts that have been accepted for presentation at different conferences, seminars, and academic meetings. We are currently working on two manuscript drafts from the analyzed data on the project. These drafts are being prepared for submission in reputable journals.  

“Participating in this fellowship has been one of the greatest highlights of my career in this institution, as my team have learned so much about different OER platforms out there that can be used and adapted to our project to help improve our project outcome. This was definitely a great opportunity.  

“We hope to continue to partner and work with the librarians towards presenting our findings from the project to the Touro community and the general public.”  

see our other Textbook Heroes posts  

-post contributed by Kirk Snyder, Open Educational Resources & Instruction Librarian 

New Resource Alert! ProQuest’s Free Collection of African American History Documents.

image: screenshot, Black Freedom Struggle in the United States, May 2021. http://blackfreedom.proquest.com

ProQuest is familiar to the Touro community as a provider of scholarly literature, with their popular database ProQuest One Academic. They have recently released a collection of primary source documents on the history of African Americans’ struggle for freedom, Black Freedom Struggle in the United States: Challenges and Triumphs in the Pursuit of Equality.

This collection was released as a free resource on the web, so you can access it any time, even when you’re not signed in to the TouroOne system. It is presented as an accessible, easy-to-navigate website, separate from ProQuest’s research databases.

image: screenshot, Featured Subjects, Black Freedom Struggle in the United States, May 2021. http://blackfreedom.proquest.com

Primary sources are first-hand accounts from people directly connected to a subject, event, time or place. They are invaluable to the study of history, especially when they center the voices and perspectives of those largely kept out of the historical narrative.

See also: Librarian Emily Johnson’s libguide on Primary Sources.

Black Freedom Struggle in the United States features speeches, interviews, letters, newspaper stories, government documents from the FBI and Congress, laws and court records from the era of slavery and abolitionism all the way to contemporary times, with Black Lives Matter, the high-profile killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and many others, and the racial unrest of 2020.

The website contains approximately 1,600 documents, organized into these six eras of history:

  1. Slavery and the Abolitionist Movement (1790-1860)
  2. The Civil War and the Reconstruction Era (1861-1877)
  3. Jim Crow Era from 1878 to the Great Depression (1878-1932)
  4. The New Deal and World War II (1933-1945)
  5. The Civil Rights and Black Power Movements (1946-1975)
  6. The Contemporary Era (1976-2000s)

-post contributed by Kirk Snyder, Open Educational Resources & Instruction Librarian, Touro College Libraries.

Open Education Week 2021 Roundup

The first week of March saw the global open education community commence its annual awareness campaign, Open Education Week. The event drew institutions and organizations from around the world to share Open Educational Resources (OER) on their own websites, on social media [see #OEweek], and via the Open Education Week organizers, Open Education Consortium.

[Refresher: Open educational resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. –OERCommons.]

The Open Education Consortium made many of these open resources, shared by the community, available in one centralized location, their repository, the OE Week Library. This is a great place to browse all manner of open resources for learning and teaching, from course modules to textbooks and everything in between. And, of course, it is all openly licensed, and therefore freely available to be used, shared and reused!

Here are just a few of the OER shared with the community during this year’s Open Education Week:

  • Creative Commons has a very interesting history. If you’re looking to learn more about Creative Commons (CC) and the open licensing movement that makes open education possible, this CC Certificate Course content is a great place to start. Read the textbook offered here for all the background and history that made open education possible. https://certificates.creativecommons.org/cccertedu/




For more discussion of equity and Open Educational Resources see our previous blog post here.

And for an introduction to OER including a plethora of definitions, tips and resources, see our Open Touro OER Initiative libguide.

contributed by Kirk Snyder, Open Educational Resources & Instruction Librarian, Touro College Libraries, Midtown.

Open Education Week 2021

This post was originally published on March 2, 2020 and has been updated.

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) for more.

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.”

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)

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 $100,000 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 Sara Tabaei (sara.tabaei@touro.edu).

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

PlumX: Who is talking about my research?

Plum Analytics, or  PlumX, belongs to the small but increasingly influential community of  altmetrics  data providers (one provider is confusingly named Altmetric). The term altmetrics (alternative metrics) was first introduced in 2010 by Jason Priem. Simply put, they are alternative research metrics because they supplement traditional bibliometrics. Traditional metrics include citation counts, journal impact factor, and an author’s H-index. These are often compiled months to years after research is published. PlumX metrics provide us with immediate details on the ways people interact with individual pieces of research in the online environment, whether that research output is a scholarly article or a podcast, a policy document, dataset, video, or one of more than 60 other formats. PlumX generates metrics via access to data providers like YouTube, Twitter, SSRN, Crossref and many others. These metrics are divided into five categories: usage, captures, mentions, citations, and social media

Usage

Usage helps us understand if users are downloading or reading the work. Touro Scholar reports download counts, or how many times people click download, for instance. When users land on a page or click a link to a page from a variety of sources, these also get counted as it’s likely the user is reading the abstract or at least is interested in the work itself.   

Captures 

Captures can be  leading indicators of citations, because if someone is saving the work via a citation manager or bookmark manager, they probably are going to use that work as a reference later on in their own work. 

Citations 

This is one of the most traditional bibliometrics, how many times a work is cited by another work. PlumX  gathers this metric from at least 15 citation metrics sources, including Dynamed Plus Topics, Scopus, Crossref, and PubMed. It’s important to remember that this metric says little about how the work is cited by another work (take a look at scite.ai to see an emerging example of citation analysis with machine learning). Still citation counts are fundamental to bibliometrics, and indexes of citations in law, medicine, and other fields are centuries old.  

Mentions

Mentions are meant to measure conversation around works, via blogs, comments, video streaming sites, and references in Wikipedia.   

Social Media

Social media includes sharing on Twitter and Facebook. It also includes Reddit upvotes, ratings on Amazon and likes on YouTube. For academic journal articles, Twitter is a popular platform to share new research. Share with a link to the research (DOI or publisher’s page URL) so that the post is picked up in metrics counts.  

Why is this important? 

Have you ever wondered how others are accessing or reading any of your academic artifacts? With these altmetrics you will be able to more immediately measure awareness and interest towards your academic work.  In a competitive research landscape, PlumX  offers metrics to support your research impact footprint, to give you new ways to uncover and tell the stories of your research.  

Increasingly, researchers, funders, and universities are using these data to understand and tell fuller stories about their scientific impact and investments.    

As a researcher and author, PlumX metrics can help you showcase the impact of your work to others both inside your institution (colleagues, deans, etc.) and outside (grant funders). Altmetrics can help in assessing an academic unit’s research impact and increase its visibility. As a program director, dean of a school, or research support staff member you can track research and demonstrate:  

  1. ROI of research money 
  2. rising stars among early career researchers 
  3. a more compelling narrative about research  
  4. where research is a good potential investment 
  5. the strengths of research at the institution 

Instead of a static list of publications, the PlumX metrics provide a live update of interaction with publications. Researchers are already using altmetrics to bolster their funding proposals in tools like the National Institutes for Health’s Biosketch.

How can I access altmetrics  about my research?  

Touro College & University System Libraries has recently integrated PlumX altmetrics into Touro Scholar, our institutional repository. After you have created an account, click on “Author’s Dashboard” and then on the sidebar, click on the PlumX  logo. That’s where you can find PlumX metrics aggregated for all items in the repository authored by you. For your research articles on publisher’s webpages, you can often find altmetrics on sidebars, whether from PlumX, Altmetric, or the publisher’s own data.

If you have a new publication, share the DOI or URL of the article via social media or blog post, and consider depositing your article in Touro Scholar so more readers worldwide can access it.

Please contact us if you need any help with PlumX, altmetrics, bibliometrics or Touro Scholar:

Sara Tabaei: sara.tabaei@touro.edu
Tim Valente: timothy.valente@touro.edu

Caution  

We just want to remind you that  altmetrics  do not replace traditional bibliometrics. Instead, they complement them and show some insights that were previously unmeasured. Like most metrics, there are both legitimate and unscrupulous methods of “boosting” numbers. Researchers should be aware of the ethics surrounding research and authorship by consulting the TCUS academic integrity policy, the norms of their relevant field, and the recommendations of publishers and working groups like the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors and others.   

This post was contributed by Tim Valente, Scholarly Communications Librarian, and Sara Tabaei, Library Information Literacy Director

An Exciting Opportunity to Publish Your Research!

It’s Monday morning, and, as you check your email over a cup of coffee, you notice a new message:

From: mdawson@gmail.com
Subject: An Exciting Opportunity to Publish your Research! 

Dear Dr. Smith,

I want to congratulate you on all your many accomplishments in your field of research and expertise. I am writing this e-mail with reference to your article published in the field of medicine. Specifically, I have had an opportunity to read your paper: Diabetes and Renal Malignancy in Adults, which was published in The Annals of Medical Case Reports, Volume 10 Issue 3. 

I know you are an expert in this field, so it is my honor and privilege to invite you to submit a manuscript to our new journal, The Open Annals of Medical Case Reports. This Open Access journal has a distinguished editorial board with extensive academic qualifications, is double blinded peer-reviewed, and is indexed in EBSCOhost, Ulrich, Informed Librarian Online, DOAJ, ISI, Google Scholar, CrossRef, OAK, and similar indexes. Volume 1, Issue 1 needs only two more articles to publish, so I am pleased to offer you a 30% discount on our APC! If perhaps you do not have a manuscript at this time, we request you to suggest your colleagues to submit.

Please let me know about this exciting opportunity as soon as you can!

Thank you!

Mike Dawson
Editorial Coordinator
The Annals of Medical Case Reports

Have you received an email like this in the past? Perhaps your first thought was, ‘Finally a good place to get my work published!’ Or, maybe you saw a 30% discount and the bargain shopper in you got excited. Maybe, instead you were suspicious: you’ve never heard of this person or this journal. But it’s new, so that explains it. Wait, is it really their “honor and privilege” and why are they congratulating me? Something is off. 

The email above is, in fact, fake. We made it up based on samples of messages sent from predatory publishers. The term “predatory publisher” was coined in 2010 by librarian Jeffrey Beall and continues to be used to describe amateurish or fraudulent organizations that intentionally deceive scholars into paying for their works to be published without the value-added services and support that reputable organizations offer, like peer-review, copy-editing, and indexing. Like most social engineering schemes, these predatory publishers use flattery and deceptive tactics to get your money, your research — or both! Similar schemes include invitations to become an editor or attend a conference, where your name and reputation might be used to lure other authors.

Don’t fall into the trap!

Photo by Skitterphoto

We recently received several inquiries from faculty regarding a few questionable publishers’ solicitations. We did some detective work to help make sure that our researchers publish with trusted and credible organizations. Here are some of the ‘red flags’ we check for each time we receive a request from your colleagues to evaluate a journal or publisher:

  • Publisher’s direct marketing, or spamming your email, asking you to share 
  • APC fee is not mentioned anywhere 
  • The promise of unusually and virtually impossible short submission-to-publication times (2 or 3 days!)
  • No clear guideline for author’s submission
  • Information on copyright and Creative Commons licenses is absent or unclear
  • Non-functional contact information, such as email and social media platforms
  • The contact address is residential or represents another business; try a search on Google to check for this
  • The names of lead authors or editors are repeated in other journals from the same publisher 
  • Editors are not known as experts in the field
  • The scope of journal is vague or too vast
  • Indexing claims use incorrect jargon

This is not a comprehensive list, so remember: when in doubt, contact your librarian! Suspicious emails should also be reported to Touro IT, especially ones with links and requests for personal information.

Additional library resources

  • Think, Check, Submit! Choose a trustworthy journal for your research. 
  • Rubric for Journal Evaluation
  • Research & Scholarship Library Guide 
  • Ulrichsweb: A global serials directory useful for researching if a journal is refereed/peer-reviewed

This post was contributed by Sara Tabaei and Timothy Valente, Midtown Library

Introducing UlrichsWeb: A Periodicals Directory

An authoritative source with over 300,000 periodicals, including scholarly, peer-reviewed, open access, popular magazines, and newspapers in over 900 subject areas, UlrichsWeb has numerous features to guide faculty and graduate students as they decide where to publish, judge the quality and legitimacy of publications, and assess how widely an article might be disseminated in any particular publication.

Ulrich’s platform is searchable and browsable by title, subject, keywords, and more. If you are exploring potential journal titles in which to publish your work, you can jump-start your query with its simple search box, or, if you want to search like a pro, try out the Advanced Search options, where you can limit your search by type of publication, subject area, and key features, such as whether it is peer-reviewed, open access, abstracted, or indexed, or has one of many other attributes.

Since this directory is integrated into the Touro Libraries databases, you can easily discover what journals are available via the Libraries by clicking on the green logo for the 360 e-Journal Portal on the right side of the page. If the journal is available in full-text, you can browse through previously published articles to get a better sense of what kind of publications the journal is looking for.

Ulrich’s provides indexing and abstracting information (you can select this limiter in the advanced search) for a publication with several benefits:

  1. If you want your published work to be visible and retrievable, it is important to know if the journal of your choice is indexed in databases or resources where it can be retrieved by other researchers, practitioners, and scholars. In other words, the indexing information for a journal can be a measurement of your article’s future exposure.
  2. The more databases in which the article appears, the more potential impact any given article may have.
  3. The indexing and abstracting information can also help in identifying journals that are more established and recognized in your field. Predatory journals will automatically be forced out of the game, since they are mostly not indexed in prestigious databases — though some have sneaked their way in, so we have to be always on the alert. See more information on how to avoid predatory publishers in our Research and Scholarship LibGuide.

In addition to the advanced search, you can also narrow your search by checking the options in the left pane. On the results page, you can view the details of a journal title, save or download your list of searches or email them to yourself (note: you need to open an individual account to save your lists for a later date).

If you click on “Change Columns,” you can customize some of the information depending on what you are looking for. Personally, I would add “Frequency” to my search column, since it gives me an idea about how long it might take to get published.

Finally, a small but important space is dedicated to a review or description of a journal’s purpose and its intended audience. This summary helps to quickly determine if your research topic aligns with the scope and content of the journal. On the results page, you can also directly access the publisher’s website with more detailed information on the journal, its submission guidelines, and more.

UlrichsWeb is accessible via the Touro Libraries Databases after you log in with your TouroOne credentials. Please email Sara Tabaei with any questions about UlrichsWeb or to schedule a walk-through of the database over Zoom.

Fun fact: Ulrich’s was originally published as a book in 1932 by Carolyn Farquhar Ulrich, the Head of Periodicals at the New York Public Library. Librarians rock!

This post was contributed by Sara Tabaei, Library Information Literacy Director

Open Education Week 2020: Open Access

256px-Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg

 

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. 

 

 

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