Astrid Bovell on November 8th, 2013
Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of presenting on MOOC’s at Victoria University’s Open Access Forum. While I wasn’t able to attend the morning sessions, I was lucky enough to hear presentations from a number of Victoria University staff and Julian O’Shea from Engineers Without Boarders.
The afternoon sessions commenced with an insight into “the murky world of predatory publishing”. Cameron Barrie walked us through the reality that many academics and researchers face with predatory publishing companies contacting them to solicit their manuscripts and research. These companies appear quite attractive, offering free publishing, peer review, an impressive impact factor, important academic reviewers or chairs, and conferences in lovely places. Cameron revealed on close inspection, that many of these wonderful offers are far from the truth, with hidden charges, no peer review, little or no impact, academics that are fictional and conferences that are a waste of time and money. Keis Ohtsuka then lead us through a series of case studies to show just how easy it is to be fooled. In particular, to avoid being trapped, research the company carefully, check their “previous papers”, read them – do they make sense? Check their spelling, if they say they’re Australian, why do they spell Centre “center”?! Last but not least, be wary of publishers from Saarbrücken!
Jessican Shortis explained how Open Access publishing works, the different models (Green, Blue, Yellow, White and Gold) available from publishers and how those models work, and why Open Access is important and is here to stay. (Stay tuned for a bigger blog post on this – there’s a lot to say!)
Ingrid Unger took us through the History and Philosophy of Copyright. From copyright’s beginnings from the Statute of Anne, parallels between the law changing to take power away from the big name publishers and restore it to the authors. The intriguing philosophies of ownership and authors from Kant and Hegel, the struggle between users, creators and publishers, and a reminder that it took 60 years to restore the balance in the beginning, so it could be a long wait before it changes again.
Open Education Resources were highlighted to us by Gillian Laughton and Gail James. Gillian and Gail spoke of performing audits of their library subscriptions to avoid expensive subscriptions to resources that students don’t use and how university libraries are the gate ways to useful open access resources and how we can help to build and develop those collections.
Lastly Julian O’Shea from Engineers Without Borders spoke animatedly about their Open Journal Project. Their Journal of Humanitarian Engineering (JHE) came about after they noticed that not only did humanitarian engineering need a voice, but it needed an open voice, in relevant languages, with access models that work. An inspiring look into just how open you can make a journal – providing it for free, providing a plain language version as well as an academic version, publishing copies of articles about projects in Vietnam, in Vietnamese instead of English. Copies in braille, copies that can be read by screen-readers, copies that can be downloaded through peer to peer channels to avoid censorship and copies that can be downloaded with the kind of bandwidth we haven’t seen in the western world since the internet was a toddler.
It was an amazing afternoon and I look forward to the next!