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Open Access Week showcases research

Published: Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 08:10


Kyra Sturgill / The Tufts Daily

Open Access Week, which encourages faculty to publish their work in open access journals, will draw to a close on Sunday.


Associate Provost Mary Lee is hosting Tufts’ fourth annual Open Access Week from Oct. 22 through Oct. 28. 

Part of an international program to expand education and research audiences, the initiative at Tufts is an opportunity for professors to showcase the work they will publish in open access journals, or publications that anyone can access for free. 

“Scholarship that is both high-quality and openly available is more likely to be used and cited, thus raising the prominence of the faculty and of the affiliated institution, as well as increasing the opportunity for interdisciplinary work and reuse,” Lee told the Daily in an email. “Open access is a movement of concern for all of us involved in advancing scholarship and research — no discipline is excluded.”

Throughout the week, professors’ and some of their Ph.D students’ articles will be on display in Tisch Library on the Medford/Somerville campus and Hirsh Health Sciences Library on the Boston campus. Yesterday, these libraries live-streamed an International Open Access Week lecture from Harvard University entitled “How to Make Your Research Open Access.”

“Many students are not aware of this movement and how readily they can access tremendous amounts of scholarship,” Associate Professor of Biology Julie Fuhrman said. “Any effort to help everyone understand the best routes to this literature would be helpful.” 

Faculty members from the natural science and engineering departments are participating in this year’s Open Access Week, which features research on a range of topics including biomedical optics and tropical disease. 

“Having the papers be freely accessible to all on the web ensures that everyone, especially students, will have access to our work,” Professor of Biology Michael Levin said. “This is especially important for students at Tufts. Many of the undergraduate students who do guided research in my lab end up as co-authors or even first authors on manuscripts, and having their work freely available is very good for their careers and development as future scientists.”

For the second year in a row, these professors also received Open Access Funds to pay for the open access journal fees or to digitize their scholarly resources. Lee said she awarded $16,183.25 to each of the 11 professors who requested funds. 

“As our work is more widely disseminated in these journals, more of our peers come to appreciate the quality of Tufts as a research institution,” Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Eric Miller said. “Such growth then helps Tufts faculty to secure additional grants for even more interesting work and the cycle continues.”

Lee said she plans to distribute a second round of Open Access Funds in November to professors who applied later than those participating in Open Access Week.

“We’re using Open Access Week as a springboard for launching more longstanding projects that will sustain beyond just a week in October, forging relationships with various parts of the Tufts community to provide assistance and information about going open access,” Lee said.

As Open Access Week continues to grow at Tufts, Lee said she would like to see more professors participate from the humanities and social science departments, as well as those from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. 

Although this year’s program only features science and engineering work, those who are involved said the opportunity Open Access Week presents is invaluable.  

“Publishing in Open Access journals allows researchers and students at Tufts to reach a wide audience, particularly in world regions where personal and institutional journal subscriptions are not common,” Associate Professor of Biology Mitch McVey said. “Papers that are published in open access journals are available to anybody, regardless of whether or not they subscribe to the journal.”

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