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

You’re invited…to our spring webinars!

The Touro College Libraries are excited to share the schedule of webinars our staff are offering this spring. From Pubmed to peer review, these sessions will offer Touro faculty and graduate students the opportunity to learn new tools and expand their skills. We hope you can join us!

Please click on the title of a webinar for more information and to register via Zoom. Note: times listed are in EST.

Advanced Pubmed: Taking Your Search to the Next Level (NYMC)
Friday, January 29, 2021 – 1:00pm – 2:00pm

Accessing & Navigating Library Resources Remotely (TC)
Thursday, February 18, 2021 – 1:00pm – 2:00pm

Depositing Your Work in Touro Scholar (TC)
Thursday, March 4, 2021 – 1:00pm – 2:00pm

Conducting a Systematic Review (NYMC)
Tuesday, March 9, 2021 – 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Creating a Research Web Presence: Tools for Research Profiles and Websites (TC)
Thursday, April 22, 2021 – 1:00pm – 2:00pm

Peer Review and Open Peer Review (TC)
Thursday, May 13, 2021 – 1:00pm – 2:00pm

Unpaywall your published article via Touro Scholar (TC)
Thursday, May 27, 2021 – 1:00pm – 2:00pm

Introduction to Grant Searching for Biomedical, Life Sciences and Public Health Research (NYMC)
Thursday, June 3, 2021 – 4:00pm – 5:00pm

These webinars will be recorded and shared on our Recorded Webinars LibGuide, where you can also find past webinars. If you have any questions about these webinars or topics to recommend, please email sara.tabaei@touro.edu.

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

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

Find Free Scholarly Research with Open Access Repositories

Since this week is the official Open Access Week, (October 22-28), we like to draw your attention to the plethora of Open Access (OA) scholarly material that is available online via different repositories, some of which we have mentioned in this article and you can find through Touro Libraries.

OA refers to material that is published online, for free, without most copyright and licensing restrictions. Much of it is published under a Creative Commons license. It is important to note that OA material is published with the full consent of the copyright holder, not pirated in any way. Scholarly journal publishing has never been a money-making endeavor for the writers so they are not giving up any kind of financial benefits by publishing OA.     Continue reading

Learning From One Another: 2017 Staff Meeting

Librarian Kirk Snyder demonstrates the new library app via iPad with the help of an Apple TV.
Librarian Kirk Snyder demonstrates the new library app via iPad with the help of an Apple TV.

The library staff meeting took place on January 24th, a rainy, windy, and cold day outside, however, inside the comradery of the staff warmed us up. In addition to staff from our NYC locations, the meeting included library staff from as far away as California and Nevada, and closer to home from NYMC and Middletown. Continue reading

Touro Scholar: A New Way to Preserve and Disseminate Your Research Worldwide

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View real-time information on which articles are being downloaded where

We’d like to take this opportunity, after mentioning it in several blog posts, to formally introduce you to one of our most exciting new services, Touro Scholar! Launched in April of this past year, Touro Scholar is the institutional repository of the Touro College & University System, including New York Medical College. This means it’s the online archive of all the scholarship our campuses are producing, and a new place to see lots of digitized materials from the Touro Institutional Archives. We’re pretty thrilled about it, and hope you will be too! Continue reading

Project Gutenberg: Read the Classics (and more) for Free

projectgutenburg
visit www.gutenberg.org for copyright-free reads

Project Gutenberg is a volunteer organized digital library of literature and other cultural works. According to their mission statement “The mission of Project Gutenberg is simple: To encourage the creation and distribution of eBooks. This mission is, as much as possible, to encourage all those who are interested in making eBooks and helping to give them away. In fact, Project Gutenberg approves about 99% of all requests from those who would like to make our eBooks and give them away, within their various local copyright limitations. Project Gutenberg is powered by ideas, ideals, and by idealism. Project Gutenberg is not powered by financial or political power. Therefore Project Gutenberg is powered totally by volunteers” (Project Gutenberg Mission Statement). Continue reading

Open Access Week

oaTraditionally, faculty and researchers publish their findings in academic journals without expecting any financial reward. They share their work hoping to advance humankind’s knowledge. Before their work gets published, however, authors are also asked to sign a copyright agreement with the publisher. By signing the agreement, the researcher is giving away most of his or her rights to use or disseminate their work. If the author wants to share the article with others in class, on social media or on digital repositories, he needs to get permission from the same publisher who originally published his article. Permission is sometimes granted and sometimes denied depending on the publisher’s policy.

Scratching your head? Think this doesn’t make sense. Wait! There is more. Continue reading

Don’t Give Away Your Rights! Copyright For Authors

Keyboard_Pic1
So, you’ve written an article for a journal. Congratulations! Next, you send it in and wait eagerly for the editor to contact you. Success! Your article has been accepted for publication. But wait! They want you to sign an agreement first, filled with (what looks to you) lots of legal mumbo-jumbo, and there’s something about assigning your copyright to the publisher. But if you sign it, you get to be a published author, so who cares what it says, right?

Not so fast! Continue reading