Let’s talk about textbooks

Happy Open Education Week! March 5-9 is designated as a week to raise awareness about open education and its worldwide impact on teaching and learning. This is a great time to think about the costs of textbooks and how open textbooks can make education more affordable.

For decades, the price of textbooks has increased at more than three times the rate of inflation. A report by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund and the Student PIRGs found that 65% of students have decided against buying a textbook because it was too expensive. As students seek affordable ways to purchase used textbooks or share with classmates, textbook publishers have suppressed secondary markets and sharing by publishing frequent new editions, bundling books with additional supplementary materials, and requiring the purchase of online access codes which only work for one student.

This week we are asking Dartmouth students to tell us about how textbook prices affect them. There are two whiteboards in Baker-Berry Library (near the circulation desk) and they pose two questions:

  1. How much money did you spend on textbooks for winter term?
  2. If you hadn’t spent that money on textbooks, what would you have used it for?

Students have responded! They expressed frustration over textbook costs, recommended work-arounds to help other students reduce costs, and were thankful for professors who didn’t require they purchase a textbook. They also told us about what they could do with the money they spent on textbooks if they didn’t have that expense. We saw a wide range of responses including paying rent, buying food, saving, getting a new blanket, paying student loans, buying a plane ticket home, getting a new laptop charger, paying their medical expenses, and spending on fun.

One possible remedy to the problem of rising textbook prices can be found in open educational resources or OERs. SPARC defines OERs as teaching, learning, and research resources released under an open license that permits their free use and repurposing by others. OERs can be textbooks, full courses, lesson plans, videos, texts, software, or any other tool, material, or technique that supports access to knowledge.

OERs are out there and they are building momentum. You can find high quality open textbooks on sites like OpenStax and OER Commons. Twenty state governments are challenging colleges to save students money by using open textbooks through the #GoOpen initiative. Some states have OER mandates that require institutions to label courses in course catalogs that use free textbooks or OERs. And in September, the Affordable College Textbook Act was introduced in Congress.

I think open textbooks and other open educational resources present an exciting opportunity for Dartmouth. As OER are becoming more common, there are more and more high quality open textbooks available that can be adopted and adapted for Dartmouth courses. I’m interested in courses that have already used OER here and courses that might in the future. And I’m excited by the potential for more Dartmouth faculty and students to become authors of open educational resources and make resources available in areas where nothing open yet exists.

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Recent Dartmouth grad? Looking for a first time job? Read more!

This year, we are pleased to host the Edward Connery Lathem ’51 Digital Library Fellowship, which provides an opportunity for a graduating student or recent graduate of Dartmouth to spend a year learning and contributing to new directions in the open dissemination of materials resulting from Dartmouth’s digital scholarship, research, and educational activities.  


This fellowship is open to graduating seniors and graduate students of Dartmouth College with an interest in digital technology and libraries. Please note: Candidates must have completed their undergraduate or graduate degree before July 1, 2018. This is a one-year, full-time paid fellowship with Dartmouth benefits that runs from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019. If you have additional questions regarding this fellowship, please send email to: jennifer.w.green@dartmouth.edu

About the Fellowship:

The fellowship is designed to be tailored to the individual interests of the candidate in support of the mission of the Scholarly Communication, Copyright and Publishing Program and the Digital Library Program.  The Fellow is encouraged to propose a project that furthers the development and awareness of open repository and digital publishing systems and services.  There are opportunities to develop knowledge of digital publishing, including copyright and metadata; to develop skills in teaching and marketing about key initiatives; and to collaborate on projects with other Fellows and staff across the Dartmouth Library.  

Following are examples of the work that may be involved, depending on the interest of the successful candidate:

  • Further develop the Dartmouth Digital Commons as a core site and service for the open dissemination of the results of Dartmouth research, scholarship, and education. 
  • Support students involved in student-led publishing through the use of the Dartmouth Digital Commons publishing system and involvement in educational activities.
  • Assist with developing communities and collections on the Dartmouth Digital Commons publishing system.
  • Assist with workshop development, facilitation and teaching; and outreach events across campus in collaboration with the Library’s Education and Outreach Program.
  • Participate in projects and meetings with the Open Dartmouth Working Group, the Digital Library Program, and other units in the Dartmouth Library.

Application Process:

Please submit the following materials via email no later than Monday,  March 21 2018 to:


  • Resume
  • Cover letter describing how this position will help you meet your future goals including;
    • why you are interested in this position
    • contributions you can make to this position and the Dartmouth College Library;
    • unique qualifications you bring to the positi
  • Names and contact information for three (3) references

Please make sure your name is on all materials and submit them together to ensure they are properly reviewed.

This position will remain open until filled. Applications will be reviewed as they come in.

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Managing your professional identity online



February is GRAD Mental Health Awareness Month, and Dartmouth’s Graduate Student Council and the School of Graduate and Advanced Studies collaborated to offer a series of events for grads to raise awareness about graduate student mental health.  As part of that series, Barbara and I offered the “Managing your professional identity online” workshop, which took place on February 15th.  We had about 15 graduate students join us in Berry Library over a complimentary lunch and conversations about tools to help ease their minds about their online identities.

One of the first things we emphasize when we run this workshop is the fact that whether we like it or not, we all have an online identity.  The question is: “Is our online identity saying what we want and need it to say about us?” Last week’s session began with an exercise where participants pair up and “google” each other’s names.  After a few minutes, we discuss their findings, whether the information was accurate, and if they encountered surprises. Most often, our workshop participants discover information about someone else who shares their same name, and they wonder how to handle that.  

An important first step in managing our professional identities online is to disambiguate our names from other people who share the same name and who also may share similar work or personal characteristics.  ORCID is a non-profit organization with the goal to help researchers, scholars, and professionals do just that.  Last week, we helped each of our participants create an ORCID, and if they already had one, we helped them understand how to quickly populate their ORCID with their publication citations, professional achievements, as well as work and educational experiences. This information along with the unique ID that ORCID assigns when you create an account make a significant impact on how quickly and effectively others find you and your work when they search online.  Once you have an ORCID, you include it as a link on your personal website or even in your professional email signature, and this serves as another easy pathway to an accurate representation of your online self.  Creating an ORCID is quick, easy, and free!

Of course, managing your professional identity online goes beyond creating an ORCID, so we also offer advice about how and where to establish an online presence (e.g., on a website, on twitter, on a department page, etc.). Our online identities and circumstances are all unique, so we make sure to take time during the session to address the specific questions and needs of our participants.  This leads to interesting conversation, and I often come away from these sessions having also learned something more about how to better communicate and convey my professional self online.

If you are interesting in learning more about ORCID and how to manage your professional identity online, please stop by our “What’s the Buzz?: Publishing, Copyright, and Open Scholarship” session this week in Berry Library’s, Novack 73 study room on Wednesday, February 21st from 1:30-2:00pm.  It’s a monthly drop-in session, and this month I will be there to show ORCID to anyone who wants to learn more.  Hope to see you then!

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Introducing a Metrics Toolkit!

Understanding scholarly metrics (the measurement of the impact a particular journal or article has on a particular field of research), the tools available to determine metrics,  and how to interpret metrics is complicated. There are many tools that can measure the impact of one’s work.  None of them are “one-size-size fits-all” products, and as such, it is important to understand the strengths and weakness, the perspectives and angles, and the measurement methods for all of the existing metrics tools. 

Recently, the Scholarly Communication, Copyright, and Publishing Program at Dartmouth launched a series of 30-minute drop-in sessions called “What’s the Buzz?:  Publishing, Copyright, and Open Scholarship” where we talk about new tools and services to help everyone understand the scholarly publishing landscape a little better.  Our next “Buzz session” will be on February 21st from 1:30-2:00pm (Novak 73 Study Room) and will provide  an opportunity for you to explore with us a newly launched resource call the Metrics Toolkit 

Identifying the various ways to apply and understand scholarly metrics has been a daunting and nearly impossible endeavor, but last week, a group of scholarly communication, copyright and publishing professionals working under the support of a 2016 Force11 Pitch It! Innovation Grant as well as support from OHSUIUPUI, and Altmetric released the Metrics Toolkit, “a resource built to help researchers and evaluators navigate the ever-changing research metrics landscape.” The Metrics Toolkit developers here describe this new resource below:

“The Metrics Toolkit includes 27 expert-written, time-saving summaries for the most popular research metrics including the Journal Impact Factor and Altmetric Attention Score. Even better, the Metrics Toolkit includes an app that can recommend discipline-specific metrics to satisfy your specific use cases.”

If you are interested in learning or talking more about the Metrics Toolkit, please join me on February 21st from 1:30-2:00pm in the Novak 73 study room.  Bring your coffee or tea and I will bring the snacks!


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Dartmouth Digital Commons: building a collection of faculty publications

Dartmouth Digital Commons (DDC), an open repository for sharing Dartmouth-created content with the world, made its public debut this past October 2017.  Since then, collections on the DDC have been growing. There are a few communities to explore on the DDC (e.g., student journals), but one steadily growing collection to watch is the Open Dartmouth: Faculty Open Access Articles collection. 

Open Dartmouth currently holds about 450 downloadable articles authored by Dartmouth faculty.  All articles are freely available and open for anyone at Dartmouth and to access and use. Finding freely available content can be difficult, and below are a few factors that help us make that happen within the Dartmouth Digital Commons:

  1. Articles published in open access journals: Some articles were originally published in open access journals, and therefore can be legally shared by default. The Directory of Open Access Journals offers a comprehensive list of open access journals for your publishing or research needs.
  2. Publishers with generous sharing options: Some articles are published in journals that offer flexible agreements, which will allow authors to share their work within open institutional repositories like the DDC.  SHERPA/RoMEO is a resource we use to help us determine rights.  We often advise authors to look at this site before they decide where to publish their work so that they understand what the publisher rights agreement will allow or restrict once it’s been signed.
  3. The Dartmouth Faculty Open Access Policy: Other articles found on DDC have been published in subscription-based journals, which typically restricts their access to those who pay for a subscription to the journal or pay for one-time access to the article.  The Dartmouth Faculty Open Access Policy allows us to share faculty articles written in 2015 (and onward), which is the year when faculty in the Thayer School of Engineering , the Arts and Sciences, and the Geisel School of Medicine had all completed a vote in favor of the policy.

But, before we determine what we have the rights to share on Open Dartmouth, there is the matter of first finding Dartmouth faculty-authored content. This requires significant time and work, but the Scholarly Communication, Copyright, and Publishing Program librarians and staff have access to data resources, which help us find articles online, determine our rights to legally share content, and help us steadily make content available on DDC.  Once an article is found and determined eligible for inclusion, we add the appropriate metadata to those articles, which allows them to be searched and discovered by those who visit the DDC.

That’s one method.  However, we also love to hear from faculty when they publish an article, and we encourage them to share their recently published work with us via the DDC “Submit Work” form.  Once an article is shared via the form, we (in the Library) determine whether Dartmouth has the rights to post the article (based on the above factors), taking pressure off of faculty for having to determine that themselves. Using the form is easy, and we hope that Dartmouth scholars find it convenient enough to participate and share their valuable research with Dartmouth and the world.



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Reflections on Open Access Week 2017

Thanks to all who helped us acknowledge and celebrate Open Access Week 2017 (October 23rd-27th) at Dartmouth!  Open Access Week is an international and annual opportunity for everyone on campus to learn about, think about, and talk about how important openly available information is to research and learning.  This year’s kick-off event was the opening reception for an exhibit titled Dimensions of Open, which will be on display in Baker Library’s Main Hall through January 26th, 2018. This is an exhibit curated by the Open Dartmouth Working Group and inspired by the efforts of Dartmouth authors, creators, artists, and inventors to make the results of their work openly and publicly available, and it reveals the complex issues surrounding open information through six dimensions: global, political, financial, workforce, technological, and future.

We also announced the launch of the Dartmouth Digital Commons, which is where you will find the Open Dartmouth: Faculty Open Access article collection.  This new online resource is open to the world and is our vehicle for implementing the Dartmouth Faculty Open Access Policy, allowing us to showcase the research and scholarship of Dartmouth faculty far and wide.

Workshops during Open Access Week offered members across the Dartmouth community opportunities to learn about how to make course materials openly available in Canvas (Dartmouth’s course management software), what to consider when sharing work openly online, and how to manage your professional identity online.

If you missed Open Access Week 2017, don’t fret.  There are plenty of opportunities throughout the year to engage on topics of opening access to scholarly and creative work, including periodic offerings of the workshops mentioned above.  If  you are seeking national engagement on this topic, SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) has taken this year’s Open Access week theme,”Open in Order to…”, and extended its life through the microsite, openinorder.to, which allows users to continuously share their ideas of why open access is important to them.  In the meantime, plans for Open Access Week 2018 are already underway, and we hope you can join us then.

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A Dartmouth Librarian at the Congress on Peer Review

Pamela Bagley, a Biomedical Librarian at Dartmouth, recently attended the Eighth International Congress on Peer Review, held in Chicago on September 10-12.  Pamela is Coordinator of Biomedical Research Support at the Biomedical Libraries at Dartmouth, and a member of the Open Dartmouth Working Group. In this interview, she shares insights she gained into current concerns with peer review and other topics from presentations and meetings with those researchers, editors, authors and librarians who study scientific publishing processes.

What brought you to the Peer Review Conference?

PB: I co-authored a paper presented at the Conference along with another librarian, Heather Blunt, TDI faculty members, Steven Woloshin and Lisa Schwartz, and Dartmouth student, Brian White.  Our paper presented results of a study aimed at determining if interim clinical trial results tend to be published in higher impact journals than the final clinical trial results. Final results are more important in informing clinical care, so dissemination of final results needs to be effective.  The Biomedical librarians routinely engage in the rigorous, reproducible literature searches for systematic reviews or practice guidelines.

What was your role in this work and what did you find?

PB: We were asked to find a set of studies that were published in interim and final forms, and to rigorously process and present those records.  The lead authors had found one study where that was the case but overall did not find this was a trend. 

What stands out for you as key issues in the Congress on Peer Review?

PB: Key topics in peer review include disclosure of conflicts of interest, comparisons of results of single and double blind review processes, reducing “spin” while still telling a story, and “optimism bias”.  In the session on metrics, I noted that presenters used both traditional journal metrics of the impact factor as well as the more nuanced and current altmetric score.  This affirmed that both are important.  Another major topic is the need to develop processes that forward reporting results while minimizing bias. This meeting brings together people with deep expertise in publishing, a mix of researcher, editors, and publishers, who share the goal to enhance the quality of scientific publishing. People attending are passionate about the accurate reporting of science and aim to work together on problems. 

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FORCE11 2017: Open in Action

I just returned from three days immersed in presentations and discussions of insightful, useful, and smart projects all focused on ways to make the results of research and scholarship open. What a great way to spend Open Access Week 2017, at the FORCE11 Research Communication and e-Scholarship Conference in Berlin, the home of the 2003 Berlin Declaration of Open Access in the Sciences and Humanities!  

The theme of FORCE11 2017 was Changing the Culture, and open source for open access was the foundational principle and approach at play throughout the meeting.  Contributing greatly to the spirit of energetic sharing of ideas from across the globe, FORCE11 sponsors several Fellowships, so we benefited from early career Travel Fellows as well as experienced speakers from locations such as Taiwan, Kenya, the Republic of the Congo, India, Colombia, Canada, and the UK.  They presented their work and their scholarly environments formally and through the many conversations throughout the conference.  Many of the presentations are available. 

Topics included:

A special part of the meeting was hearing about ways organizations in the Berlin and Brandenberg area organize to further open access. 

The theme of Open Access Week 2017 is “Open in Order to…”.  Why making the results of research openly available matters was amply illustrated by Lucy Patterson, an organizer of DIY science events.  She gave examples of the negative impacts on society of corporations owning the output of research and the ways DIY science gets around those barriers, which included lack of access to insulin in refugee camps, the skyrocketing costs of EipPens, and the lack of accurate local environmental data.  

After all this excitement about projects and ideas with potentially positive impacts on the dissemination of knowledge, the closing keynote by Diego Gomez of Colombia, who was charged with a criminal act for sharing a scholarly work, provoked a challenge to us all.  A  senior faculty member in the audience said we need to ask everyone in the research and scholarly enterprise simply “Why DON’T you publish open access?”.



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Open Access Week Essay Competition

International Open Access Week (October 23rd- 29th, 2017) is coming to a close, but opportunities to get involved in the open access movement stretch beyond October 29th.  One such opportunity is an essay competition, which is offered collaboratively by Authorea, Know-Center, Digital Science, ScienceOpen, and OpenCon.  Authorea offers a LaTeX writing tool available to Dartmouth students, faculty, and staff and they are extremely supportive of open science initiatives.  

The essay competition is a great opportunity for anyone to share their response to this year’s Open Access Week theme, “Open in order to…”, and have the chance to win a cash prize! Below is a statement from Authorea about the essay competition and how to participate:  

“The theme of this year’s Open Access Week is “Open in order to …” It is an invitation to answer the question: what concrete benefits can be realized by making scholarly research outputs openly available? Submitted posts should be of no more than 750 words and should tell us what drives you towards open practices. What does openness help you to achieve that you couldn’t do otherwise? The deadline for submission is the November 10 at 17.00 CET. All submissions will be posted online on the OpenCon portal in conjunction with the kick-off of the main OpenCon event.”

Submit your essay

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2017 Open Access Week: October 23-29–Save the dates!

Summer is quickly turning into Fall, the academic term has begun, and transition is in the air. Soon it will be October, which is a big month for those of us engaged in scholarly communication and open access work and conversations. Most of us are preparing now for  International Open Access Week 2017 which happens this year from October 23rd to 29th. The Open Dartmouth Working Group (Librarians dedicated to provided education and outreach about open content and data) are already busy getting ready for exhibits, events, speakers, and informational opportunities that will occur across campus throughout that week. 

Last year’s Open Access Week Exhibit featured our Open Dartmouth posters, which highlights researchers and scholars at Dartmouth and why they choose to share their work openly.  The posters are also available online in Dartmouth’s Shared Shelf Commons.  As the 2017 Open Access Week approaches, we are hoping to build this collection further with new faces and names so that we can host the new and expanded digital exhibition in a variety of locations around campus.  If you are a Dartmouth student, scholar, fellow, researcher, staff or faculty, and are interested in being featured in this exhibit, please contact me! Jen GreenDigital Scholarship Librarian

This year’s Open Access Week activities will include the Dimensions of Open exhibit, which will be on display in the Baker Library main hall exhibit cases starting in October. The exhibit will help visitors understand the global, political, financial, workforce, technological and future dimensions of “open.” Work on this exhibit is still underway, but one dimension of the exhibit to share with you now, is our newly published open access animation, Ideas to Apples: an Open Access Story.  

This animation was created by Lizzy Rogers (former Jones Memorial Digital Media Fellow) in collaboration with members of the Open Dartmouth Working Group.  The animation is perpetually available on YouTube, but it will also be featured in October in Baker’s main hall alongside the Dimensions of Open Exhibit.

There is still much to plan and prepare before you reach October 23rd and the 2017 Open Access Week celebrations. As October approaches, I will share a full schedule of events, speakers, workshops, and other informative opportunities.  Until then, please mark your calendars for October 23rd-29th so that you might join us for portions of that week.

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