POST: Is Open Access Enough? Strategies for Healthier OA

In a post, for the ACRLog blog entitled “Is Open Access Enough? Strategies for Healthier OA,” Dylan Burns (Utah State University) analyzes difficulties in getting buy-in for submission to institutional repositories and using Open Access resources in his role as a digital scholarship librarian.

Low faculty involvement in the Institutional Repository and suspicion of OA are symptoms of growing concerns surrounding the intellectual weight of OA resources. There are some in our universities who will see Char Booth’s assertion that OA is good pedagogically for students, as evidence to this point that OA journals and publishers do not have the weight that traditional “brick and mortar” journals have (ie it is good enough for students but not good enough for faculty.)

He goes on to ponder whether the “glut of false information on the internet” increases suspicion of OA, as well as how the profession can combat low-quality open sources and predatory publishers.

Burns closes with a call to librarians to better integrate OA into instruction, and to problematize the “self-fulfilling prophecy” of treating OA resources as lesser:

Alas, all of this open information is useless if no one is reading it. We should make it a point to include OA resources into our database instruction. Why isn’t the Institutional Repository taught in our class sessions as a resource for students to use? Why do we always point to our paid databases rather than OA ones? There are two common sense reasons for this, one being that we pay for these resources, and two that these resources are “legitimate,” as in they are peer-reviewed and, often, backed by universities or organizations. Open Access in some ways counteracts the elitist undertones of this kind of thought. But this is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Open resources are not seen as legitimate because we do not treat them as such, and legitimate resources do not use them because we do not believe them worthy.

dh+lib Review

This post was produced through a cooperation between Elizabeth Gibes, Arianne Hartsell-Gundy, Jason T. Mickel, Anna Newman, Kelley Rowan, (Editors-at-large for the week), Caitlin Christian-Lamb (Editor for the week), Sarah Potvin (Site Editor), and Caro Pinto, Roxanne Shirazi, and Patrick Williams (dh+lib Review Editors).