Happy Open Access Week! In celebration of OA Week 2022, as well as the upcoming spooky holiday, we’re excited to share a post from Jill Cirasella, Associate Librarian for Scholarly Communication at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. Jill is one of the Curators for materials in the Scholarly Communication Notebook. For the past year Jill has been gathering open resources related to open access. Read on to learn more about the Curators’ work, the landscape of OA-focused OER, and to see some highlights from her collection. Here’s Jill:
Next week, on Halloween, you might have cause to ask, “Which witch is which?” In fact, there are numerous books with that title, so you might even find yourself wondering, “Which Which Witch Is Which is which?” But this week it’s Open Access Week, so this week let’s consider, “Which open is which?”
In my work as a scholarly communication librarian at the CUNY Graduate Center, I am immersed in both open access (OA) and open educational resources (OER). I regularly rattle off their definitions and discuss their commonalities and differences with our students, who are both graduate students and instructors of undergraduates. Nevertheless, while curating OERs for the Open Access collection of the Scholarly Communication Notebook (SCN) hub on OER Commons, I often had to step back, pause, and ponder, “Which open is which? Which open is this?”
It wasn’t hard to recall my favorite open resources about OA, and it also wasn’t hard to find additional ones that were new to me. But which of those open resources are open educational resources? Thinking through that question was surprisingly hard! And it reminded me that those definitions I so readily recite are deceptively simple distillations of complex realms.
How complex does it get? Consider these concentric circles of openness:
- There are many works on the topic of OA. (Of course, there’s plenty of debate about what “open access” does and does not denote, but that’s a different issue.)
- Some (but alas not all) of the works about OA are themselves OA.
- Some of the OA works about OA are explicitly educational in nature, or could conceivably be used in an educational setting or for independent learning about OA.
- And then some of the educational OA works about OA are licensed with an OER-compatible Creative Commons license (i.e., a Creative Commons license that does not include the NoDerivatives (ND) clause).
- And, finally, some of those works have that extra dollop of OER-ness: some kind of “pedagogical apparatus” (exercise, assignment, quiz, discussion questions, etc.) that makes the resource ready for other instructors to deploy in, or adapt for, their classrooms.
I was unfamiliar with the term “pedagogical apparatus” (it’s a mouthful, but a meaningful one!) until undertaking this project—hat tip to SCN co-PIs Josh, Maria, and Will for introducing me to it and for urging the SCN curators to seek resources with that additional component. I did identify and include some such resources (e.g., materials for the workshop Open Access: Strategies and Tools for Life after College and for the full course Open Science: Sharing Your Research with the World). I also included some resources where the pedagogical opportunities are implied rather than explicit (e.g., search the Directory of Open Access Journals, edit the Open Access Directory, or apply Think. Check. Submit.). But I also included some resources with OER-compatible licenses that are “merely” educational OA works about OA (i.e., resources that fall under the second-to-last bullet above). Though lacking any pedagogical apparatus, they are so informative and clear that they would make excellent additions to course syllabi or self-study lists (e.g., the book Open Access and the video Open Access Explained!).
However, I can’t claim credit for adding all of the works that appear in the Open Access collection. In order for a resource to appear in the collection, a few different things must happen. In some cases, I identified a resource that wasn’t in the collection and deliberately performed the necessary step(s) to add it. In other cases, different people interacted with a resource in different ways, and—voilà!—the resource appeared in the collection. It’s not quantum entanglement, but there’s still a hint of “spooky action at a distance.”
So, while I add to the collection, I also learn from it. In particular, I learn each time a new SCN-funded OER pertaining to OA appears in the collection as a result of the wisdom, work, and curatorial clicks of others. For example, I have been delighted to discover these SCN-funded projects in the collection: Open Access Publishing Biases by Chelsee Dickson and Christina Holm; Labor Equity in Open Science by CJ Garcia and Anali Maughan Perry; and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Scholarly Communications Outreach by Camille Thomas.
Needless to say, then, the collection is not yet finished. It will continue to grow through both my curation and the actions of others. Or, bringing us back to Halloween, “It’s alive!!!”
Want to suggest an OER about OA for inclusion? Let me know at email@example.com!