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UNT libraries to host symposium on open access movement

In late January, handful of researchers with an account on Academia.edu received an email from the site’s product director asking what they thought about the idea of paying “a small fee” in case the site’s editors recommended any of his upcoming papers. 

While the CEO of Academia.edu has insisted that the company has not decided whether to provide this option to its usersthe very idea has led many researchers to question their reliance on such companies, spawning the hashtag #DeleteAcademiaEdu as researchers closed their accounts in protest. 

For some, the discussion of Academia.edu raises concerns about “vanity publishing” and the use of publication fees to make scholarly literature free to read online. The Open Access @ UNT website and UNT’s annual Open Access Symposium help the UNT community understand the open-access movement and the complicated changes taking place. The Libraries invite the UNT community to participate in this year’s Open Access Symposiumto be held May 19–20. The symposium will feature speakers involved with the Center for Open ScienceCollabra, and other exciting initiatives related to transforming scholarly communication.

The UNT libraries provide UNT Scholarly Works, an institutional repository that allows members of the UNT community to share the products of their research online. UNT researchers submit their work in whatever format it is available in, and Libraries staff handle making it discoverable online and preserving it as part of the UNT Digital Library. Like social networks, UNT Scholarly Works provides web analytics, both on the number of unique uses and on the source of traffic (referrals). In addition, the UNT libraries support a number of open-access publishers so that UNT authors can publish in them for free or at a discount. 

And while Academia.edu and ResearchGate excel at connecting researchers with common interests, researchers believe the companies behind them have commercial motives that don’t align well with those of researchers. Many suggest they are designed to cause “vendor lock-in” by their users, and there is no guarantee that they will remain free to use, or even exist at all. (For more, see “A Social Networking Site Is Not an Open Access Repository” and “Should you #DeleteAcademiaEdu?”.) 

-- Kevin Hawkins, UNT libraries

 

Posted on: Fri 19 February 2016

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