The Department of Education has announced that proposals are now being accepted for an Open Textbooks Pilot program. They will be awarding between one and three grants up to a total of $5 million dollars.
The priorities for this pilot include:
- Improve collaboration and dissemination through consortial arrangements
- Address gaps in the open textbook market and develop solutions that scale
- Promote degree completion
Inside Higher Ed has an article about the proposal process.
The scope of this program is quite large, and the deadline for submission is August 29th, so interested parties should start working on this right away.
The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in Canada has developed a tool they hope will better measure the quality and impact of research coming out of the global south. They want to ensure that researchers who are working on projects that positively impact their region are evaluated on criteria that make sense. Metrics like citation count and h-index don’t necessarily measure the rigor and usefulness of research.
The IDRC calls this tool Research Quality Plus (RQ+) and it has three parts:
- Identify contextual factors – political, data, research environment, maturity of the scientific field, and how much the project focuses on capacity strengthening
- Articulate dimensions of quality – scientific integrity, legitimacy, importance, and positioning for use
- Use rubrics & evidence – assessments have to be systematic, comparable and based on evidence (both qualitative and quantitative)
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has announced a Request for Applications for OER grants. They will be awarding up to 20 grants to encourage faculty to adopt, modify, redesign, or develop courses that use only open educational resources. The deadline for application is August 20th, 2018 at 5:00pm Central time.
Researchers Chris Chambers, Corin Logan, and Brad Wyble have started an initiative called Editors4BetterResearch. They hope to create a database of journal editors who support reproducibility and open science. Right now they are soliciting feedback on their proposal and collecting names of editors who would like to be listed in the database. Their goal is to allow authors who value open and reproducible science to find editors who share their values.
The University of California System has made an announcement that they will be prioritizing an open access future in their journal negotiations with publishers. Their goal is to responsibly transition funding for journal subscriptions towards funding for open access.
You can find the full announcement which includes their guiding priorities here.
The University of Texas Libraries wants to send you to OpenCon 2018 in Toronto, Canada!
If you are a UT Austin graduate student or postdoctoral researcher with an interest in open access (OA), open educational resources (OER) or open data who wants to help shape the future of research and education at UT, consider applying for a travel scholarship being provided by the Libraries to attend this year’s OpenCon. OpenCon is an academic conference for early career researchers taking place November 2nd-4th, 2018 in Toronto. OpenCon is an excellent opportunity to learn more about open access, open education and open data, to learn how to advocate for these issues, and to network with people from across the globe. It truly is an international conference – since 2014, people from 176 countries have applied to attend! The program includes keynote talks, panel discussions, workshops, hackathons, and there is usually an opportunity to lobby government officials. The UT Austin scholarship winner will be fully funded to attend the conference.
The scholarship winner will be expected to share what they’ve learned once they return to Austin. We are open to what that engagement may look like – for instance, the attendee may choose to host a presentation upon their return or they may decide to push for more open access in a particular area on campus. Library staff will be available to help coordinate events and meetings, but the attendee is expected to do most of the content planning.
Please send a statement (no longer than 500 words) discussing how you might like to engage our campus in open agenda discussions. This statement is not binding, but it is an opportunity to brainstorm ideas that can be further refined later. Submit your statement and resume/CV to Scholarly Communications Librarian, Colleen Lyon, c.lyon at austin.utexas.edu, by midnight on Monday, July 16th. Applicants will be notified with a decision by Friday, August 17th. If you have questions about the conference or about the application process, please contact Colleen Lyon.
MIT Libraries and the Royal Society of Chemistry have signed a license agreement that is the first of its kind in North America. The agreement will provide access to Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) articles for the MIT community, and will also make all RSC articles authored by MIT researchers open access for anyone to read. You can find more information about this agreement through the MIT Libraries announcement.
The theme for Open Access Week 2018 was announced earlier this week – Designing Equitable Foundations for Open Knowledge. OA Week this year will be October 22nd-28th.
You can find more information about OA Week on their website.
In the past UT Libraries has participated with both online and in-person events. We’ll be participating again this year and will make announcements here over the coming months.
Y’all may have already seen the announcement last week that the Bibsam Consortium in Sweden has decided not to renew their agreement with Elsevier. The Bibsam Consortium negotiates license agreements on behalf of Swedish universities, government agencies, and research institutes. The Swedish government has set a goal of immediate open access by 2026 and the Elsevier deal wasn’t helping them achieve that goal. This follows similar actions in Germany and France. There is definitely lots of movement in Europe towards greater access to research.
For our June discussion we’ll be talking about information security, privacy, social media, and algorithmic culture and how all those things are impacting our society. If you’d like to read up on any of this before the June event, here are some helpful resources.
Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy, by Siva Vaidhyanathan.
Siva Vaidhyanathan, Antisocial Media talk from ER&L 2018
Stay tuned for more information about this session.
A large group of scholars has signed a petition protesting the creation of a new subscription journal from Nature, Nature Machine Intelligence.
They argue that most journals in the field are open access with no charges for readers or authors. The people signing the petition have said they will not submit to, review or edit for the journal. I’m not sure how large the machine learning community is, but the petition has over 2400 signatures (as of May 2nd).
Nature has stated they respect the opinions of the petitioners, but they feel the new subscription journal can co-exist with others by providing an outlet for interdisciplinary work that has undergone rigorous peer review.
Florida State University has announced it’s canceling it’s “big deal” journals package with Elsevier. The dean of university libraries, Julia Zimmerman, released a statement about the cancellation. Instead of the big deal, FSU will subscribe to a sub-set of journals that are most-needed. The Faculty Senate voted unanimously to approve the planned cancellation.
Florida State is the most recent university to announce a decision like this. SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) maintains a list of institutions that have cancelled their big deals.