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Open scholarship on the rise

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The open source approach has permeated even the dusty corners of academia. Open scholarship is a growing movement to make academic research publicly accessible, instead of tucked away in journals that are only available by subscription. Last Thursday, U of T professors spoke at an event entitled “Enabling Open Scholarship” to a packed hall at the Claude Bissell Building.

Gale Moore, a senior fellow at the Knowledge Media Design Institute, presented on the overarching tools and the movement of open scholarship. Moore, who also moderated the event, focused on how openness is beginning to take hold at universities in the form of increasingly open access to educational resources, data, and innovation. Moore pointed out an increase in open access mandates, including one at Harvard University, that require all published work be open access.

Leslie Chan, a faculty member at KMDI, said that the open scholarship movement is the future and requires preparation from both universities and academics. While students and much of society now flourish in online, many faculty members are dragging behind in this adjustment, said Chan.

Gunther Eysenbach, an associate professor in U of T’s health policy department, was the final speaker. As the founding editor and current editor-in-chief of the Journal of Medical Intent Research, Eysenbach provided a personal account of the movement towards open scholarship and spoke on the changing revenue models of academic journals. Under the traditional model, the publisher purchases the rights to an article from the author. The new model of publishing and distribution has academics retaining the rights to their work under Creative Commons, and paying to submit their articles to journals.

Thursday’s talk was part of the first international Open Access Week, aimed at increasing awareness of open access to research. The Knowledge Media Design Institute, a research school and graduate program at U of T, organized the week’s activities at the university. Founded in 1995, KMDI focuses on research and graduate education on the relationship between media and human activity. The program hosts over 150 faculty members, associates, and graduate students.

U of T is home to several other open scholarship programs, including the working group Project Open Source/Open Access and T-Space, a platform for the scholarly work of faculty members.