Archive for October, 2016

Open Access and Students

October 28th, 2016

Why does open access matter for students? Don’t our students here at USF have access to everything they need through the amazing Gleeson Library?

It’s true! Our USF Libraries does a fantastic job of providing all the resources that students need to do their research here and now. But our mission here at USF is to go beyond to make a local, national, and global impact. What about students and researchers all over the world, who don’t have access to expensive databases?

We can make sure that important academic research – like cancer research or disability studies – is available to everyone. The Right to Research Coalition, which was created by students, has information on how you can be involved in working to make sure that every student has the right to the research that they need.

Happy Open Access Week and thanks for celebrating with us!



Why You Need to Publish Open Access

October 27th, 2016

Your mom was right

Your mom was right when she told the child-you to eat your vegetables: they’re good for you. End of story. I’m not your mom, or even your boss, but I’m going to tell the article-writing-you to publish open access, because it’s not only good for you, it’s also the right thing to do.

Why is it good for you?

It’s good for you because articles published open access are cited more often than articles that are not. Let me repeat that, because you look like I just offered you a free trip to the Bahamas: articles published open access have more impact (as defined by being cited by other articles) than those that are not open access.

This makes perfectly logical sense: an open access article, by definition, is available for anyone to download and read. No cost, no barriers. Compare this to a more traditionally-published article where online access is behind a “paywall”—you have to pay the publisher to download the article, unless you’re privileged enough to belong to an institution whose library has pre-paid the publisher for access to their articles. In this most-common scenario, many, if not most people leave the paywall without the article. To put it more simply: open access = more readers = potentially more citations—and that’s good for you.

Research impact of paywalled (not OA) versus open access (OA) papers:


You can see from the table that for every field, open access papers have greater impact than non-open access papers.

(Thanks Éric Archambault, Grégoire Côté, Brooke Struck and Matthieu Voorons for making this information open access!)

Why is it the “right thing to do”?

If you care about social justice, you should publish open access. Could your research be of benefit to underprivileged communities, other researchers without access to high-cost journals, health workers providing urgent patient care?  Is there a research field where open access would not benefit less-privileged researchers around the world? Then don’t lock your work behind a paywall!

Publishing open access is a concrete means to “fashion a more humane and just world”—part of the vision and mission of the University of San Francisco—and it ought be the default position of the University.

How do I publish open access?

There are many ways, but let’s keep it simple: just do what you normally do—publish in any journal you want. But then give a copy of your paper to the Library. We’ll make it available open access. (Contact Charlotte Roh, Scholarly Communications Librarian, for more details:

It’s as simple as that.

The student becomes the teacher

Administrators, granting organizations, hiring and promotion committees are all-too-often caught up in trying to quantify research “impact.” Their guiding star is the Impact Factor: the Kim Kardashian of journal metrics—famous for being famous, and valuable primarily as a brand to be sold.

But instead of chasing the Impact Factor like paparazzi, here’s something you can really believe in:

open access download map

This is a map of about a day’s worth of downloads from Gleeson Library’s open access Scholarship Repository. As you can see, downloads are happening all over the world.

What are they downloading? The two most popular downloads are:

The first has been downloaded more than 13,000 times; the second more than 23,000 times!

If you don’t recognize these high-powered faculty authors, it’s because they’re not faculty— they’re students. Now look again at the subjects of these works, and look at the map.

Reading Comprehension. Students with Disabilities. Newborn Umbilical Cord Care: downloaded worldwide. This is social justice in action, viewable in near-real time on a Google map; this is not an impact “factor,” but true impact.

By simply publishing open access, these USF students have had more real impact in the world than any number of high-calibre faculty publishing in (paywalled) high-Impact Factor journals. Administrators, granting organizations, hiring and promoting committees, take note.


International Journal of Human Rights Education (IJHRE)

October 26th, 2016

Happy Open Access Week!

As part of the University of San Francisco’s open access efforts, we are very excited to announce the summer 2017 launch of the International Journal of Human Rights Education (IJHRE). This journal is an independent double-blind peer-reviewed open-sourced online journal housed at the University of San Francisco in partnership with the USF Libraries. It is dedicated to the examination of the theory, philosophy, and praxis central to the field of human rights education. Currently, there is no journal dedicated to the field, and the aim in launching this journal is to be a centralized location for critical thought in the field as it continues to expand. Key to this mission is ensuring that the journal is and remains accessible, both to potential contributors and readers. The core audience of the journal is comprised of human rights policy makers, educators, scholars, students, and practitioners of human rights education and related forms of education.


Seeds of Peace, 2008. Mural directors: Susan Cervantes and Miranda Bergman. Location: Exterior wall, Good Earth Natural and Organic Foods, Fairfax, CA.

The first issue will publish July 2017 and include feature articles, book reviews, curriculum reviews, and notes from the field.  We also look forward to thematic issues, highlighting current, global discussions in the field of human rights education, retrospectives on meaningful moments in the history of human rights education, and forecasts on the future of the field.

For more information on the journal, please contact Dr. Monisha Bajaj, or Ria DasGupta,

Gleeson Library Haunted Tours!

October 25th, 2016

Calling all ghouls and ghosts!

Stranger things are afoot at Gleeson Library and we’re going to investigate! Come take a Haunted Tour of Gleeson Library. Learn about Gleeson’s ghostly past, wander through our spooky stacks, and learn about what your library has to offer both the living and the dead!! Join us if you dare…you’re sure in for a scare!!


Only two tours!

Midnight and Noon on Monday 10/31!

Happy Halloween!!!

Open Access to Government Data

October 25th, 2016

You’ve heard the hype about Big Data. But how much of that data is available to the public? Private corporations control the access and distribution of data that they collect, and may be unwilling to share it or may charge high prices. The United States Government, however, has made a broad sweeping commitment to providing public access to data collected by federal agencies.

In 2009 the White House issued the “Open Government Directive” which required each federal agency to take prompt steps to expand access to information by making it available online in open formats. The stated goals of this directive were to increase accountability, promote informed participation by the public, and create economic opportunity.

As a starting point, each agency was required within 45 days to publish online in an open format at least three high-value data sets and register those data sets via was thus launched on May 21, 2009 as the official central portal for identifying open data sets from government agencies. It is updated nightly and currently includes information about 190,000 datasets, from 76 agencies and subagencies, and 56 states and local governments.

The “Open Government Directive” was followed in 2013 by an executive order signed by President Obama that made open and machine-readable data the new default for government information.

In addition to, California and San Francisco have also established official portals for sharing government data:

Happy Open Access (to Data) Week!datagov