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Open Access: Why and How in 1800 Seconds or Less (with script)

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Robert Sippel

on 13 March 2014

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Transcript of Open Access: Why and How in 1800 Seconds or Less (with script)

Open Access: Why and How in 1800 Seconds or Less
What are Peer-Reviewed Journals and why are they Important?
Articles are Peer-Reviewed, i.e. reviewed by experts to ensure:
use of sound scientific and research practices
significance in adding to the body of knowledge
Peer-reviewed research forms the backbone, or starting point, of new research.
Peer-reviewed periodical literature is:
Keys to Academic Success
Access to Quality Information
Access to Data
Access to Software Applications
I am a librarian and, like all of the librarians, my basic job is to try to help you be successful during your time here at FIT.

There are various factors that go into being academically successful. Some examples are:
• Access to quality information
• Access to data
• Access to software

As librarians, we tend to be especially concerned about the first of these, access to quality information. And, for university librarians, the gold standard of quality information is peer-reviewed articles.
In recent history, there’s been mounting concern about ensuring the availability of quality information.

To put this in context, I’m going to give you a broad overview of the history of publishing (loosely defining publishing as the recording of information for the purposes of public dissemination).

Now, people have been publishing information, in some shape or form, for a very long time.

• Carving into stone
 Result lasts through the ages, but lots of work and not very portable.
 If you, as an ancient Egyptian, wanted to read this, you had to catch the nearest bus or train to the temple.

• Clay tablets
 Easier than carving stone, but tablets can break.
 Also not particularly portable
• Papyrus
 Easier than writing in clay or stone and much more portable, but can also be fragile and disintegrate over time.
• Medieval monks making illuminated documents on vellum. (pictured monk is St. Jerome)
 By this time, using vellum made of animal hides, which are both fairly durable and portable. However, both the preparation of the hides and the transcription of the information are labor-intensive.

• Gutenberg press
 This is what would now be known as a disruptive technology, a game changer. The setting up of the press was still time consuming but, once done, would allow multiple printings to be done in a relatively short period of time.
• Modern printing press
 Can print many thousands of copies per day. However, very considerable capital investment.
• Computer
 Doesn’t even require “printing” in a traditional sense. Portable, increasingly affordable, and the digital product can be easily disseminated.
Obviously, publishing technologies have evolved tremendously, especially in the last couple of decades.

Normally, as shown in the next graph, improving technology increases the supplies of products while decreasing the cost of those same products. That is illustrated in the following graph.
However, the cost of peer-reviewed content has skyrocketed in recent decades.

This is shown by the top line in the following graph.
The preceding graph raises questions, such as:
Why has this happened?
Various reasons are given. This is actually quite a contentious subject.
Who is responsible?
Many people say "the publishers". However, publishers of peer-reviewed content vary and include both strictly commercial enterprises (like Elsevier) that are "in it for the money", and also scholarly societies (e.g. the American Chemical Society) that use revenue from their publications to support their scholarly activities.

Our current situation is somewhat like this hourglass.

The world's supply of quality information is at the top. The potential users of that information are at the bottom.

The costs associated with the information limit how easily it can get from one end of the hourglass to the other.

How can we make the information flow more freely?
The rapidly escalating cost of academic journals has led to increasing resistance to the traditional model of academic publishing and manifested itself in the form of the Open Access Movement. Proponents have included:
Members of the Academic Community.
Libraries (there are certain subjects that librarians tend to get kind of fired up about)
U.S. Government (requirements for government-funded research to be open access)

We encourage you to learn more about Open Access by going to the Evans Library home page and looking for our Research Guide on "Open Access to Scholarship"
Click on the "Open Access to Scholarship" link and explore!!!
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