Open Access Symposium 2017, Stony Brook University

Today, as Open Access Week wraps up, I trekked out to Stony Brook University to attend their third annual Open Access Symposium. I arrived bright and early in the morning, and had time to check out some of the posters and open access spotlights that Dana created—including one for me!

Dean of Stony Brook Libraries Constantia Constantinou delivered some great introductory remarks and shared some updates on Stony Brook’s work on open access initiatives. For the morning keynote, Nicole Allen from SPARC talked about open educational resources. Her slides are available here, and she spent some time talking about Stony Brook’s theme “Open in order to…” and openness as a means to reach other educational and social goals.

For the first panel, Open Sciences & Biomedicine and the Acceleration of Research, Health Sciences Librarian Jessica Koos defined open science as the unrestricted sharing of research publications, data, and research tools such as software and online services. The panel featured Chrisa Arcan, Bruce Demple, and Thomas Woodson, who shared their perspectives on the importance of sharing timely research and data in the health sciences. SBU librarian Laura Costello asked a really good question about encouraging OA publishing:

What is the endgame for academics who are writing primarily in their field for other academics? The way things are now is not sustainable in the long-term because at some point, libraries are going stop paying for these resources—they won’t be able to afford to do otherwise. What can we say that would motivate you—as a faculty researcher—to realize that you need to move to publishing OA before your work is locked up and inaccessible to your colleagues?

Though I wish the panel had really answered or at least engaged with the question, it was admittedly a tough one—but it’s something that we are all going to have to grapple with soon, if we’re not already thinking about it.

Next,  Shafeek Fazal introduced the speakers for the Open Access Policy & OERs panel.  Mark McBride from the SUNY Office of Library & Information Services and Darren Chase (Head of Scholarly Communication at Stony Brook University Libraries) talked about some of the interesting OER projects happening around SUNY. Jennifer Kaari from Mount Sinai Health System talked about the challenges and excitement of launching their own Levy Library Press and their forthcoming open access International Journal of Health Advocacy & Education.

The afternoon keynote on The Department of Sharing: Reclaiming Open Access’ Place in Academia from Elliot Harmon of the Electronic Frontier Foundation was an interesting overview of the absolute importance of information sharing in the context of higher education. His slides are also available:


Victoria Pilato moderated the final panel discussion Open + Digital: Humanities & Social Sciences. Andrew Newman discussed teaching and writing in the humanities, Peg Christoff talked about her collaborative field work with Asian American women, and Anne Donlon gave an excellent overview of the Humanities Commons.

Darren closed out the day by thanking the Symposium Committee (Laura Costello, Shafeek Fazal, Dana Haugh, Jessica Koos, Victoria Pilato, and Darren Chase) who all did a great job putting on the event! It was great hearing from SUNY librarians and other educators about the work they’re doing with open educational resources—especially as we’re trying to expand on our OER course options at York and figure out how we at York Library can best support the rest of the college.