Provost’s Open Access Fund awards five new grants
Published: Thursday, March 7, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 7, 2013 03:03
The Office of the Provost last month awarded five new grants to complete a two−year pilot of the Provost’s Open Access Fund, which is designed to support faculty members in the publication or digitization of research and scholarships in open access forums.
The five faculty members received support through the eighth and final round of pilot funding, according to Associate Provost Mary Lee. Open−access forums provide unrestricted, free access to online materials for educational or research use.
The Office of the Provost must now wait until the strategic planning process, “Tufts: The Next Ten Years (T10),” is complete before it makes any decisions regarding developing its Open Access activities going forward, Lee explained.
“However, Open Access in general is here to stay,” Lee told the Daily in an email. “Our main goal with the pilot was to educate our faculty about the growing area of open−access publishing and digitization, and open academic resources in general, and I believe we achieved that.”
The fund was initiated in 2009 by then−Provost Jamshed Bharucha. Including the most recent awardees, a total of 30 faculty members have received funding through the program, according to the Scholarly Communication at Tufts website.
The February round of grants were awarded to Assistant Professor of Computer Science Benjamin Hescott, Associate Professor of the Agriculture, Food and Environment Program at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy Sean Cash, Biology Professors Colin Orians and J. Michael Reed and Department of Psychology chair Lisa Shin.
Faculty from all three university campuses were encouraged to apply for funding in one of two categories, the Provost’s Open Access Publishing Fund or the Provost’s Open Access Digitization Fund, Lee said.
The Open Access Publishing Fund provides for the publication of an article authored by a faculty member through an open−access journal, according to the Scholarly Communication at Tufts website. The Open Access Digitization Fund supports the small−scale digitization of research materials created by Tufts faculty, provided that the final product is added to the Tufts Digital Library.
The Scholarly Communications Team reviewed all applications and passed its recommendations along to the University−wide Committee on Teaching and Faculty Development, who made the final decisions, according to Lee. Faculty members were awarded grants ranging between $1,000 and $3,000.
The fund is designed to extend the reach of Tufts’ academic scholarship, Lee said.
“Making their work available for open access means that it will be freely available for educational and non−commercial study by anyone, anywhere,” she said. “Scholarship that is both high−quality and openly available is more likely to be used and cited, therefore raising the prominence of the faculty and of the affiliated institution, as well as increasing the opportunity for interdisciplinary work and reuse.”
Lee explained that making Tufts’ research and scholarship freely available fits well with the university’s mission.
“It shares the knowledge we create locally, globally, breaking barriers so that anyone who wants to read something can, instead of only those affiliated with well−respected institutions, [which is] in line with Tufts’ core values of active citizenship and impact,” Lee said. Hescott said he was awarded a grant to support the publication of his work with a computational biological tool. The grant, he said, will enable him to promote the use of his software among a wider audience.
Shin said she received funding for her functional neuroimaging study of emotional interference in post−traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). She hopes that open−access publication of her work will contribute to the general body of knowledge surrounding PTSD.
“This should increase the number of researchers who will be able to replicate and extend the findings — or otherwise incorporate the findings into their own research — which should all lead to a better understanding of the biological basis of PTSD,” Shin told the Daily in an email.