Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Open Education Initiative Mini-grants Will Be Available in the Spring

Are you interested in bringing down the cost of textbooks for your students?  A new program at UNCG encourages you to do so.

At the Faculty Senate Scholarly Communications Forum recently the Office of the Provost and the University Libraries announced that they are joining together to support faculty interested in providing their students with a less expensive yet educationally rewarding alternative to expensive commercial textbooks.

The high cost of commercial textbooks (print and electronic) is a major concern for both students and their parents.  UNCG’s Open Education Initiative stipend program encourages instructors to use low-cost or free alternatives to expensive course materials; these can include open-access scholarly resources, Library-licensed and owned resources, and learning objects and texts that faculty create themselves.

Ten $1000 mini-grants will be available in the spring of 2015. These modest yet significant mini-grants are meant to offer an incentive for the time it will take faculty to identify new resources, adjust syllabi, and modify assignments and can also be used to cover any actual expenses you incur.

Application announcements will be forthcoming in the spring of 2015.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Open Library of the Humanities

Here’s some exciting news for readers interested in experiments in academic publishing: the Open Library of the Humanities has just received a substantial Mellon Foundation grant to build its technological platform, business model, journal and monograph pilot scheme.
The Open Library of the Humanities (OLH) — run by the enterprisingMartin Paul Eve (@martin_eve) and Caroline Edwards (@the_blochian) — is an ambitious project to replicate the Public Library of Science (PLoS)project for the humanities.  PLoS is a non-profit organization of scientists dedicated to making the world’s scientific and medical literature freely accessible to scientists and to the public.
OLH is most well known for its effort to experiment with a sustainable large-scale model for academic publishing. This is urgently needed. Critics argue that the existing model for research is broken, with academic publishers like Elsevier criticized for taking research that has been produced by academics for free and then selling it back to university libraries at inflated cost.  Yet, “open access” research is often unsustainable as the publishing process still generates substantial costs, which cannot be recouped if people believe that open access equates to free. OLH is a major experiment to find new solutions to this conundrum, such as through their Library Publishing Subsidy system—which asks libraries to support an infrastructure rather than purchasing journals—and an interesting new mechanism termed “curation journals,” or co-branded journals that run on top of the OLH platform.
Stay tuned for a ProfHacker interview of OLH director Martin Paul Eve soon to find out more about what the Mellon funding will mean for OLH and the plans the organization has in store for the future.

Friday, November 15, 2013

SPARC Applauds Senators Durbin and Franken for Bill to Make College Textbooks More Affordable

SPARC Applauds Senators Durbin and Franken for Bill to Make College Textbooks More Affordable

Washington, D.C. – The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) today applauded Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Al Franken (D-MN) for introducing the Affordable College Textbook Act of 2013, which would reduce the cost of college textbooks by expanding the use of open educational resources - academic materials that everyone can use freely.

"Higher education is calling for solutions to the textbook costs crisis, and this bill provides an answer," said Nicole Allen, Open Educational Resources Program Director for SPARC, which works to broaden access to academic knowledge. "For too many students, the cost of textbooks has become simply unaffordable, even with cost saving measures like renting and used books. It is time to focus on solutions that deliver meaningful, long-term savings for students, and open educational resources are the most effective path forward."

The cost of textbooks has emerged as a significant piece of the college affordability and access debate. Textbook prices increased 82% between 2002 and 2012, and the average student budget for books and supplies has grown to $1,207 per year. Despite the vast potential for technology and the internet to solve this problem, many digital materials – especially e-textbooks – actively restrict much of this potential and perpetuate high costs.

Open educational resources (OER) provide a new model for publishing academic content that is designed to take full advantage of the digital environment. OER are textbooks, videos, articles, and other materials that are distributed online under a license granting advance permission for everyone to freely use, adapt and share them. Using open textbooks in place of traditional textbooks reduces the cost to students by 80-100%.

Details About the Bill

The Affordable College and Textbook Act directs the Department of Education to create a competitive grant program for higher education institutions (or groups of higher education institutions) to establish pilot programs that use OER to reduce textbook costs. Pilot programs may focus on using existing OER, creating or improving new OER, or conducting efficacy research – or any combination of these, so long as the end result is student savings.

Any educational materials developed or improved through the program will be posted online and licensed as OER so that everyone – including other colleges, students and faculty – can feely use the materials. The bill contains a strong definition of an open license with equivalent to the terms to the Creative Commons Attribution License, which grants full reuse rights on the condition of author attribution. This license would ensure the public gains the maximum benefit of the materials created through the grant program.

"While the potential benefits of this bill to students and professors alike are tremendous, it is important to note that states, institutions and faculty members can start leveraging the power of open educational resources today," said Allen. "From Tidewater Community College's zero textbook cost degree to Washington State's Open Course Library, dozens of initiatives are already leading the way. As we advocate for the bill, we should also advocate for the ideas behind it right away."

To follow the conversation on this issue on Twitter use the hashtags #oer and #oerusa.  

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Representative Yoder (R-KS) made the following statement in support of Open Access

Representative Yoder (R-KS) made the following statement in support of Open Access and FASTR on
the floor of the House of Representatives for us earlier today - bless his heart!

Here's the YouTube video of the statement:


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Is Your Research Reaching Its Audience? - Faculty Senate Scholarly Communications Forum

Faculty Senate Scholarly Communications Forum to Explore Article-Level Metrics for Evaluating the Impact of Research
October 22
School of Education Room 120 
3-5 pm
You’ve published your research. How can you find out how and where it’s being cited, referenced, discussed, downloaded, and shared? Try using Article-Level Metrics (ALM), a comprehensive set of easy-to-understand indicators that track how an article is being read, discussed, and cited. This collection of real-time impact indicators let you see the article’s influence and reach. Now you can stay up-to-date with the reach and influence of your research, and then share this information with your collaborators, your academic department, and your funders. Use this data to build your CV, your network, and your career.  In other words: maximize the impact of your research. Come and find out more at the Forum talk.

Our Guest Speaker, Jennifer Lin, Senior Product Manager PLOS (Public Library of Science) will speak followed by reaction from a faculty panel.  The panel includes Stan Faeth, Head and Professor of Biology; Nicholas Oberlies, Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry,  and Robin Remsburg, Dean, School of Nursing.

Resources to Assist Researchers and Librarians

Here is a short article from Diane Dawson on "Making your Publications Open Access"  It is an excellent quick guide to resources that can assist researchers and librarians.  Article