Open Access at FSU Libraries: A Year in Review

Open access is a global movement to freely publish research in online repositories and open publications instead of the costly subscription-based publishing models that have dominated the scholarly publishing industry for decades. Paywalled research is only available to those who can afford to pay subscription costs, leaving many researchers and institutions around the world unable to access critical findings in their fields. Open access allows research to reach a wider, global audience and leads to greater readership, citation, and innovation. Authors can publish their work openly by archiving accepted manuscripts in institutional repositories like DigiNole, publishing completed drafts on preprint servers, or submitting to open access journals.

Open Initiatives at FSU

In 2016, the FSU Faculty Senate adopted an Open Access Policy that grants the Libraries permission to archive scholarly works created by FSU faculty. The policy is intended to increase the availability of research developed at FSU to readers and scholars around the world. The Libraries use mediated deposits and automated harvesting workflows to populate DigiNole, our institutional repository. A three-year review found steady growth in repository deposits since the Open Access Policy was implemented. This trend continued in 2019 which saw over 2,000 objects added to DigiNole. Departments with 100 or more DigiNole uploads this year include the Department of Psychology, the Department of Biological Sciences, and the National High Magnetic Field Lab.

bar chart of upward trend in article deposits to DigiNole from 2011 to 2018

Scholarly Articles in DigiNole by Year

Another way the Libraries support open access includes the Open Access Fund which helps authors publish in open journals. Some open access journals require authors to pay article processing charges (APCs) to finance the technical work that goes into preparing, publishing, and preserving web publications. APCs can cost upwards of $2,000 for some publishers. To help authors mitigate this expense, the Open Access Fund provides awards of up to $1,500 for qualified proposals. In 2019, the Libraries funded 38 open access articles with funding support support from the College of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School, and the Office of the Provost.

Open access is not limited to research articles. Textbook costs have increased 82% since 2002 (nearly three times the rate of inflation), and textbook affordability for students is a growing concern nationwide.¹ Instructors are turning to open educational resources to reduce textbook costs. In the 2017-2018 academic year, 43% of students in Florida reported spending over $300 per semester on textbooks, and 64.2% of students were unable to purchase a textbook due to high costs.² Florida Virtual Campus hosted an Open Educational Resources Summit in the spring of 2018 where librarians and educators from across the state came together to discuss challenges and opportunities for implementing OER on their campuses. Mallary Rawls represented FSU Libraries at the Summit and reported on the event in a March blog post.

Instructors at FSU have been adopting open course materials and using resources from the Libraries to decrease textbook expenses for students. Dr. Vanessa Dennen in the Department of Education created an open textbook in 2018 and reported on student’s perceptions of the open materials in a recent issue of Online Learning. The Libraries published two open access textbooks this year in DigiNole to fill subject gaps in existing open materials.

Cover art for FSU Open Textbooks

Dr. Giray Ökten and Dr. Arash Fahim received Alternative Textbook Grant awards that helped transform their lecture notes into open mathematics textbooks. First Semester in Numerical Analysis with Julia and Financial Mathematics: Concepts and Computational Methods support subjects that are not well-covered by traditional textbooks in the field. The Alternative Textbook Grants have saved students $333,356 since 2016. Instructors can visit the Alternative Textbook Grants webpage for more information.

In addition to cost savings, open course materials have the added benefit of perpetual access. Unlike access codes and textbook rentals that are only available for a limited time, open materials are freely available online or through the library without access restrictions. With open online course materials, instructors can easily update textbooks with new material, and students can be assured they are accessing the most current version of the information. Open educational resources offer greater flexibility for instructors to customize their course content and increase textbook affordability for students.

Open access is critical for advancing the global knowledge commons and scientific innovation, and open educational resources promote student success by increasing the accessibility of course materials. The Libraries are proud of the progress we have made this year in furthering open access, and we look forward to continuing this important work in the future.

 

  1. US GAO. (2013). College Textbooks: Students Have Greater Access to Textbook Information. https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-368
  2. Florida Virtual Campus. (2018). 2018 Student Textbook and Course Materials Survey. Web.

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