It’s National Library Week and an excellent time to celebrate libraries and library professionals, as well as library resources, services, and initiatives that grow and flourish across the United States. This year’s theme, Libraries Lead, wonderfully articulates the way libaries ensure that everyone has the right to be informed, pursue education, express ideas, and produce and share their creative and scholarly work.
The 2018 National Library Week compass creatively illustrates the ways in which libraries lead and direct progress within the information landscape. In fact, many of these terms intersect directly with the work that we do in the Scholarly Communication, Copyright, and Publishing Program at Dartmouth. A goal of the Program is to lead and direct issues around open access to research, data, and educational materials.
Lifelong Learning: This is centrally imperative in our end goals as we support open access to research, scholarship, and creative work. Everyone should be able to access the information they need to learn and develop new ideas–regardless of their social, economical, or geographic situations. Unfortunately, many scholarly articles are still published in subscription journals that restrict user access because of their high subscription fees, and the extremely high costs of textbooks present barriers to student learning. Unless you are a student, faculty, or staff member at an institution like Dartmouth that pays for access on your behalf, this information is unaffordable, and therefore inaccessible. Continued work in the open access publishing arena is changing that. For example, researchers can already find many authoritative open access journals online through sources like the Directory of Open Access Journals.
Access and Preservation: The Open Dartmouth: Faculty Open Access Article collection on Dartmouth Digital Commons (DDC) is now available at Dartmouth for sharing scholarly content openly with the world. This is made possible by Dartmouth faculty in Arts & Sciences, Geisel School of Medicine, and Thayer School of Engineering, who voted to adopt the Dartmouth Faculty Open Access Policy. Those faculty can share their articles within the Open Dartmouth collection. DDC is an open repository system supported by the Dartmouth Library, and it is also available for sharing Dartmouth student publications and other emerging staff and department collections. DDC is internationally open, available, and searchable by anyone.
Curiosity : Information is a key ingredient for supporting the creative process. People engaged in any creative thinking and work have questions, and open access efforts help us reveal and make freely available the information that will help answer those important questions as well as generate new ones. Curiosity is incredibly important to a culturally, socially, and technologically rich society, and we strive to make information as free as possible in support of that.
Community: While support for “open” tends to highlight the access and discovery side of this issue, progress towards”open” would end without researchers’ and creators’ willingness and ability to share their work. Sharing and communication are cornerstones for building community locally and internationally, but sharing a personal story or a published article can involve risk and vulnerability. Social networking platforms have created environments that encourage and reward sharing, and have made it easier to present our personal and professional selves open to the world. But, these platforms still do not remove the risk that comes from sharing one’s published or copyrighted work. Tools such as the Dartmouth Digital Commons are designed to help support sharing in a safe way, and we in the Scholarly Communication, Copyright, and Publishing program are here to offer Dartmouth users education and support for safe and legal sharing of their creative and scholarly work.
There are many other ways that the National Library Week theme Libraries Lead intersects with work towards open access at Dartmouth, and we always look forward to opportunities where we can engage with our community about that. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
Jen Green and Barbara DeFelice