Open Learning

Opening Access

I haven’t actively participated in OpenLearning18 as much as I have wanted due to sick days and snow days in recent weeks, but I’ve been reading and following along. So what did I learn this week? Making something open access isn’t so easy as it sounds. Its not as simple as flipping a switch from “closed” to “open,” at least at the level of individual journal articles. I say this after checking the SHERPA/RoMEO database for the journals I’ve published in.

Two of my articles were published in RoMEO ungraded journals. Article #1 was published in an open access journal (according to the Directory of Open Access Journals). Article #2 was published in a journal unlisted that wasn’t included in the SHERPA/RoMEO database. But one of my co-authors uploaded the article to her website, which I assume is ok because the journal says that “authors of articles published in this journal retain all rights to reproduce their work for internal or academic purposes as is needed. My other two articles were found in journals included in the SHERPA/RoMEO database: Article #3 was yellow OA (OK to archive pre-print) and Article #3 was green OA (OK to archive pre and post prints).

Ok great for Articles #3 and #4. But before I flip the switch on these to “open,” I was wondering…should I get permission from my co-authors first? What if they didn’t want to make them open for some reason? Where in the world do I have these pre and post prints saved? I’m using a new computer at work, so I can’t just upload these files somewhere right here, right now. Do I have them saved as attachments to emails (from 2011/2012)? Do I remember my passwords to the manuscript submission sites to those journals? For the yellow OA article, which version of the pre-print can I make open if it went through multiple rounds of peer-review? Also, where should I put these articles? Should I just link to them here on my blog? Should I share them in the eCommons here at Colgate because I work here now? Or share them in the eCommons at Cornell University because I was a student there when I did the research? I had so many browser tabs open the other day to try to figure this all out that I simply got overwhelmed and stopped trying to figure it out.

Open access sounds so easy, but why does it feel so hard to make my “closed” publications open? Perhaps I’m worried that I’ll be doing something illegal because I’m not sure I fully understand all the copyright issues. I welcome feedback from others in OpenLearning18…