Open Access Week at SUNY Geneseo

SUNY Geneseo celebrated Open Access Week for the time this year.  It was a modest series of events, just one guest speaker from a local University and a small panel of faculty members from Geneseo talking about their experiences with open access.

The events were not very well attended for a variety of reasons, but those who attended were able to see some wonderful presentations.

Charles Lyons, Scholarly Communications Officer and Business Librarian at the University of Buffalo gave a presentation at our first event.  Charles provided a great overview of open access, with a particular emphasis on the motivations for scholars to consider open access options.  The traditional argument (from the library perspective anyway) tends to focus on the Serials Crisis – the steady higher-than-inflation increase in journal costs over the last 30 years.  But scholars are rarely thinking about the costs associated with institutional  journal subscriptions.

Instead, Charles focused on two primary concerns of scholars.  The first is the idea of sharing scholarship for the greater good.  Scholars don’t publish to make money (because they don’t make money).  They publish because they want to share their findings.  Making scholarship open access (either green or gold) can work toward the greater good by providing greater access to that scholarship.

The second main motivator towards open access is the idea of being a part of current innovations in scholarly publishing.  The basic journal article has been around for 350 years.  Peer review (distinct from editorial review) came into vogue in the middle of the 20th century.  Open Access is one of many innovations in scholarly publishing, and scholarly publishing needs to move forward if scholarship will move forward.

Our second event was a panel discussion featuring Geneseo faculty who have been involved in open access:

The format of the panel allowed these scholars to talk about their experiences and some of the issues associated with open access: how do most faculty perceive the label “open access”?  What are the disciplinary differences in this perception?  How do open access journal differ (or not) from subscription journals?  What was the review process like?

I really enjoyed this conversation, and learned a lot from the faculty panelists. My goal is that this is just the beginning of a campus wide discussion about open access and the future of scholarship.  We’ll see.