Open Access Week at the University of Illinois Library

It’s that time of year again! Open Access Week is October 23-27, and the University of Illinois Library is excited to participate. Open Access Week is an international event where the academic and research community come together to learn about Open Access and to share that knowledge with others. In its eighth year, the U of I Library has a great week of events planned!

  • Monday: Workshop: “A Crash Course in Open Access”, 12-1 PM, 314 Main Library
  • Tuesday: Workshop: Open Access Publishing and You, 12-1 PM, 314 Main Library
  • Wednesday: Workshop: Managing Your Copyright and Author’s Rights, 12-1 PM, 314 Main Library
  • Thursday: Scholarly Communication Interest Group Kickoff meeting, 12-1 PM, 106 Main Library
  • Friday: Workshop: Sharing Your Research with ORCiDs, DOIs, and open data repositories, 12-1 PM, 314 Main Library

Fore more information on open access, visit the Scholarly Communication and Publishing website.

Unpaywall Supports Discovery of Open Access Articles

Open access (OA) works are, by definition, freely available on the internet. But in order for these works to be useful, we need an effective way to discover them. Library-based discovery systems generally gather information about a work’s “version of record,” that is, the article as published in a scholarly journal. And as most researchers know, most journals are subscription-based, which can serve as a barrier to access.

The University of Illinois Libraries’ house one of the largest library collections in the United States, but from time to time scholars may still come across electronic resources to which the Library does not have direct access. Colloquially, this is sometimes referred to as “hitting a paywall.” While the Library’s Interlibrary Loan service provides an excellent resource for obtaining access to materials outside of the Library’s collection, many “paywalled” articles are also available in OA versions.The problem is that discovery systems typically aren’t designed to get a user from a paywalled version of an article to an OA version.

A new browser plug-in from Impactstory called Unpaywall aims to address this issue by pointing users to OA versions of paywalled articles, when available. When a user arrives at a webpage for an article, Unpaywall attempts to find an OA version of the article by searching through open repositories. If the plug-in succeeds in finding an open version, this is indicated with an opened lock icon on the side of the screen. Clicking on this icon takes you to a copy of the article.

The circled green icon indicates that an open access version of the paper is available. In this case clicking the icon takes the user to a pre-print version of the paper that was deposited in arXiv.

Unpaywall can also distinguish between articles that are Gold OA (articles available from the publisher under an OA license) and Green OA (articles on a preprint server or an institutional repository, like IDEALS). This information is indicated by the color of the opened lock icon (Note that this is an option that is not turned on by default).

Unpaywall indicates that this article is Gold OA with a gold opened lock icon.

Unpaywall claims that they succeed in locating open access versions of 65-85% of articles (When an open version is not found, this is indicated with a grey closed lock icon), though librarian blogger liddylib reports a 53% success rate when trying it out on Almetric’s Top 100 Articles of 2016. Nevertheless, Unpaywall seems dedicated to improving their software, as Jason Priem, one of the program’s developers, responded to liddylib’s blog post, reporting that they had improved the product to locate some Gold OA articles that had originally been missed. Unpaywall also encourages users to report bugs.

As mentioned above, Unpaywall locates full text OA articles by using data from oaDOI, another ImpactStory project. oaDOI indexes upwards of 90 million articles. relying on data sources like the Directory of Open Access Journals, CrossRef, DataCite, and BASE. It is important to note that the OA articles to which Unpaywall directs users have all been legally made available. This distinguishes Unpaywall from projects like Sci-Hub, which provide PDFs that are often made available through less credible means.

Unpaywall is a brand new product, and so it is to be expected that some hiccups will occur. Nevertheless, it seems like a promising tool for helping more people get access to research by making open access resources more discoverable.

Meet Eleanor Dickson, the Visiting HathiTrust Digital Humanities Specialist

Photo of Eleanor Dickson

This latest installment in our series of interviews with Scholarly Commons experts and affiliates features Eleanor Dickson, the Visiting HathiTrust Research Center Digital Humanities Specialist.


What is your background education and work experience? What led you to this field?

I have a B.A. in English and History with a minor in Italian studies. As an undergraduate I worked at a library which was a really fun experience. I also took an archival research trip to Florida for my undergraduate thesis research and realized I wanted to do what the archivist was doing. I have a Masters in Science in Information Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, and completed a postgraduate fellowship at the university archives / Emory Center for Digital Scholarship. And now I’m here!

What is your research agenda?

I research scholarly practice in humanities and digital scholarship, specifically digital humanities with a focus on the needs and practices in large scale text analysis.I also sometimes help with the development of train the trainer curriculum for librarians so librarians can be better equipped with the skills needed to teach patrons about their options when it comes to digital scholarship.

Do you have any favorite work-related duties?

My favorite work-related duties are talking to researchers and hearing about what they are up to. I am fascinated by the different processes, methods, and resources they’re using. With HathiTrust I get to talk to researchers across the country about text analysis projects.

What are some of your favorite underutilized resources that you would recommend to researchers?

I wish more people came to the Digital Humanities Savvy Researcher workshops. If people have suggestions for what they want to see PLEASE LET US KNOW.

(To see what Savvy Researcher workshops might tickle your fancy click here to check out our complete workshop calendar.)

If you could recommend only one book to beginning researchers in your field, what would you recommend?

Debates in Digital Humanities, which is an open access book available free online!

Need assistance with a Digital Humanities project? E-mail Eleanor Dickson or the Scholarly Commons.

Juan Pablo Alperin: Does Our Research Serve the Public, or Only Ourselves?

Juan Pablo Alperin.

Mark your calendars: Juan Pablo Alperin is coming to campus on March 9th to give a lecture titled, “Does Our Research Serve the Public, or Only Ourselves?” The Talk will place in Illini Union 407 at 4:00 pm.

Here is the official abstract for the talk:

Traditionally, scholarly efforts have focused on making research available and discoverable among scholars, scientists, and related professionals. However, with the onset of the digital era and the electronic circulation of research and scholarship, a new model of “open access” to this body of work has taken hold, one which is committed to making research freely and universally available online. The same digital era has given us the possibility of capturing and measuring how knowledge is produced, disseminated, and used, both within and beyond this traditional group of professional researchers. In his talk, Dr. Alperin will present research findings, gathered through novel strategies and tools, that the public is already taking advantage of the growing body of freely available research. However, despite the growing evidence and a stated interest that our work have societal impact, many of our scholarly publishing practices continue to keep the research out of the public’s hands. As it becomes easier to provide evidence of public interest even in the most obscure and esoteric topics, academics of all stripes will be increasingly challenged to ask ourselves if our scholarly publishing system is serving the public’s best interests, or simply our own.

And here is Juan Pablo Alperin’s bio:

Juan Pablo Alperin is an Assistant Professor at the Canadian Institute for Studies in Publishing and the Associate Director of Research with the Public Knowledge Project at Simon Fraser University. He is a multi-disciplinary scholar, with training in computer science (BMath, University of Waterloo), social science (MA Geography, University of Waterloo), and education (PhD, Stanford University), who believes that research, especially when it is made freely available (as so much of today’s work is), has the potential to make meaningful and direct contributions to society, and that it is our responsibility as the creators of this research to ensure we understand the mechanisms, networks, and mediums through which our work is discussed and used.

 

A list of his publications and presentations can be found at http://alperin.ca/cv, and he can be found on Twitter at @juancommander.

For more information on the event, see our Scholarly Commons Speaker Series page and the Facebook page for this event! Hope to see you there!