The pros and cons of open technology

Campuses are moving into the future…and professors may be rejoicing

open-library-campus It’s not just the high cost of textbooks that have libraries scrambling to provide open education (OER) resources. As professors look at alternative options to retain copyright on printed works, and campuses look to expand community partnerships while decreasing budget, going open has never looked so good.

According to a new report, “Open Education Resources: The New Paradigm in Academic Libraries,” by Carmen Mitchell and Melanie Chu of California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) [published in the Journal of Library Innovation, Vol. 5, Issue 1, 2014], a combination of factors have converged to make the use of open resources integral to campuses across the country.

The report aimed to answer the question, ‘As academic library budgets are contracting while library usage is increasing, how can academic libraries best help campuses reduce costs and better serve their communities?”…Read More

New open-source strategy would drop textbook costs to $0

These open-source textbooks have different features that electronic versions sold by traditional publishers

textbooks-open-sourceHolding a whiteboard, the University of Maryland-College Park students scrawled their complaints and posed for a picture.

“My name is Justin and I spent $114 on ONE textbook,” a student wrote. “My name is Jeff and I spent $736 on textbooks,” wrote another.

The images, posted online by the Student Government Association in recent months, are designed to highlight the rapid rise in the price of college textbooks over the past decade. This semester, the University System of Maryland is exploring ways to bring that cost to zero with “open-source” electronic textbooks — the latest experiment in changing the way students in Maryland and across the nation are taught.…Read More

HBCUs go online with open educational resources

Center for Excellence in Distance Learning at Wiley College invites historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to increase online offerings with open educational resources

HBCU-open-education
Copyright: Billy Hathorn, Wikimedia Commons

Hoping to address a long-standing issue at historically black colleges and universities, Wiley College has teamed up with Lumen Learning to create a center entirely devoted to the use of open educational resources in distance learning.

The new Center for Excellence in Distance Learning at Wiley College won’t just be for the benefit of students at Wiley. Two other HBCUs, Oakwood University and Florida Memorial University, have already joined the program.

“We felt the timing was right to look at a real collaboration among HBCUs and that building a critical mass of colleges and universities would be more appropriate and get better results than working alone,” said Kim Long, the center’s director.…Read More

Open access requirement sparks debate

Data sharing policy at open access platform PLOS sparks debate among researchers

open-access-debateOnline open access publisher the Public Library of Science (PLOS) is refining a new policy that requires authors to make their data publicly available upon the publication of the accompanying article.

“Access to research results, immediately and without restriction, has always been at the heart of PLOS’ mission and the wider Open Access movement,” PLOS stated in January. “However, without similar access to the data underlying the findings, the article can be of limited use.”

Some critics have argued that the policy would place an extra burden on researchers and expose sensitive information, such as patient data.…Read More