Member Story: Baylor Libraries and Open Access Week 2009

Baylor librarians displayed the above poster at faculty coffees during Open Access Week 2009.

Open Access Week is a worldwide event designed to promote the concept of free and immediate online access to research, and it allows academic research institutions the opportunity to educate faculty, students, and others about the benefits of Open Access.

Baylor Libraries participated in OA Week in 2009 with a number of events designed to engage faculty about Open Access and promote services offered by the TDL. Among other things, Baylor Libraries – led by Billie Peterson-Lugo (Director of Resources and Collection Management Services for the Baylor Electronic Library) and Beth Tice (Associate Director for Central Libraries) – held faculty coffees at locations across the campus and sponsored a lecture on open access journals.

For the faculty coffees, Baylor Libraries set up information stations at several spots on campus: in the business building, the education building, and the science building. They offered coffee and donut holes and staffed the tables with two or three library staff members who engaged faculty members about Open Access, scholarly services that Baylor offers via the Texas Digital Library, and other issues.

Additionally, the library staff invited Linda Kornasky, English professor at TDL member institution Angelo State University, to speak to faculty about setting up an online scholarly journal. Kornasky manages and edits the Journal of Texas Women Writers, hosted by the TDL Electronic Press.

Following OA Week last year, the Baylor Libraries team received several requests for follow-up meetings and talks about OA and had interest from several faculty members about setting up online scholarly journals through TDL.

The team is already gearing up for the 2010 OA Week, which takes place October 18-24, and plans to reprise the faculty coffees.

The services offered by the Texas Digital Library can provide libraries and faculty at TDL member institutions with tools that increase the availability of institutional research and library collections. In this way, the TDL supports universities in their efforts to increase access to the scholarly output of their institutions, and gives faculty members opportunities to employ new methods for scholarly research, collaboration, and dissemination.

The TDL encourages members to use Open Access Week as an opportunity to educate faculty on the availability of new models for publishing research, including via Open Access peer-reviewed journals and institutional repositories hosted by the Texas Digital Library.

Anyone interested in OA Week can find helpful resources on the Open Access Week website.

Open Access Week: Lessons Learned

Here are a few things Baylor librarians learned in their preparation for OA Week 2009:

  • Get out of the library. Reaching out to faculty in their own environments through the faculty coffees was the most successful activity. The single most rewarding outing for the Baylor librarians was at the education building, where they set up shop near faculty mailboxes. (And donut holes were a big draw!)
  • Don’t just talk: Listen.  One of the goals of Baylor’s OA Week planning was to hear faculty concerns about OA and scholarly communications as much as to communicate their own message about open access.
  • Handouts aren’t necessary, but freebies are great. The Baylor staff handed out post-it notes and pens, but in response to some OA Week website tips, didn’t use handouts, which can just end up in trash cans.
  • Target specific groups. The activities that worked best were those that addressed targeted groups of people. For 2010, Baylor plans to target more specific audiences, rather than issue a general invitation for a lecture or roundtable.
  • Be prepared to follow up.  The OA Week activities generated several follow-up meetings with deans and departments, as well as interest from several faculty members in setting up OA e-journals. This interest also led to policy discussions at the provost level.
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