Tag Archives: Open Access

Why Digitize KKK Newspapers?

Gleeson Library has contributed funds to support a project to digitize and provide open access to Ku Klux Klan newspapers from the 1920s, and we now have early contributors’ access to the newspapers that have been digitized so far.

The project is in its early stages, but is already being used for analysis in national media.

Overview from the project website:

From its birth immediately following the Civil War to its re-awakening inspired by the film Birth of a Nation in 1915 through today’s fractured organizations using the Klan’s name, the Ku Klux Klan has occupied a persistent place in American society.

The Klan’s national newspaper had a circulation larger than the New York Times.

To understand today’s version of American nationalism, we need to go back to the 1920s when the Klan re-emerged as a slick and successful recruiting and marketing engine that appealed to the fears and aspirations of middle-aged, middle-income, white protestant men in the middle of America. At its peak in 1924, Klan paid membership exceeded 4,000,000 and its national newspaper, the Imperial Night-Hawk, had a circulation larger than the New York Times.

The goal of this project is to assemble a comprehensive and hopefully complete collection of KKK newspapers into a fully-searchable open access database.  The collection features national Klan publications (for example: the Imperial Night-Hawk and the Kourier) as well as regional and local Klan produced papers (i.e., Sgt. Dalton’s Weekly, Jayhawker American, and the Minnesota Fiery Cross).  The collection will also include a smaller set of papers sympathetic to the Klan (i.e., The Good Citizen and The Fellowship Forum) and a few important anti-Klan publications (Tolerance and The Record). A complete title list may be found here.

The collection will be hosted on the Reveal Digital platform, which will provide controlled access to funding libraries until the collection moves to open access.

From the Slums and Gutters of Europe
From The Badger American, August 1923. A foreshadow of presidential candidate Donald Trump in 2015? : “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best.”

Why Digitize KKK Newspapers?

Contributed by Dr. Thomas R. Pegram, Professor of History, Loyola University–Maryland, and author of One Hundred Percent American: The Rebirth and Decline of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s.

The degree to which Klan newspapers drew from ordinary currents in American life in the 1920s is stunning. These newspapers detail the extent to which the Klan movement was anchored in American traditions of fraternalism, sociability, business and civic practices. That makes the appeal to exclusivity, the anti-Catholicism, and the assumed white Protestant ownership of American institutions that are also apparent in Klan newspapers so powerful.

The Klan newspapers of the 1920s are a reminder of how current divisions over immigration, race, and citizenship are deeply embedded in American history.

Sentiments that are now considered radical or located on the fringes of American society actually existed side by side with mainstream American beliefs and practices. Openly bigoted and reckless publications such as Colonel Mayfield’s Weekly contrast in style with more conventional publications such as the versions of the Fiery Cross that appeared across the Midwest, but all Klan newspapers shared the same bedrock beliefs that American democracy existed for only white Protestant Americans. Some, like Chicago’s Dawn offered frank denunciations of ethnic and Catholic Americans that reveal the extent to which American pluralism was contradicted by American tribalism. The Klan newspapers of the 1920s are a reminder of how current divisions over immigration, race, and citizenship are deeply embedded in American history.

Top Image: From The Badger American, March 1924. KKK Newspapers database.


Why You Need to Publish Open Access

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 your Library’s institutional repository (IR). They’ll make it available open access. (USF folks: Contact Charlotte Roh, Scholarly Communications Librarian, for more details: croh2@usfca.edu).

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 celebrity journal metric—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.


Academia.edu and the Ethics of Open Access

“Posting on Academia.edu is not ethically and politically equivalent to making research available using an institutional open access repository…”

Gary Hall — Professor of Media and Performing Arts in the Faculty of Arts & Humanities, and Director of the Centre for Disruptive Media, at Coventry University, UK. — makes this provocative comment in his fascinating blog post “Does Academia.edu Mean Open Access Is Becoming Irrelevant?”

The popularity with academics of the Academia.edu social network … clearly raises a number of questions for the open access movement. After all, compared to the general sluggishness (and at times overt resistance) with which the call to make research available on an open access basis has been met, Academia.edu’s success in getting scholars to share suggests that, for many, the priority may not be so much making their work openly available free of charge so it can be disseminated as widely and as quickly as possible, as building their careers and reputations in an individualistic, self-promoting, self-quantifying, self-marketing fashion. Nor is this state of affairs particularly surprising, given the precarious situation in which much of the academic profession finds itself today.

A quick count of USF faculty papers posted in Academia.edu shows that it is running neck-and-neck with USF’s own open-access repository in terms of sheer number of papers posted. But Hall suggests it may be worth considering the mission of the respective repository when deciding where to post a paper; or in the case of the social networking repository Academia.edu, its business model:

Its financial rationale rests instead on the ability of the angel-investor and venture-capital-funded professional entrepreneurs who run Academia.edu to exploit the data flows generated by the academics who use the platform as an intermediary for sharing and discovering research. In the words of CEO Richard Price:

The goal is to provide trending research data to R&D institutions that can improve the quality of their decisions by 10-20%. The kind of algorithm that R&D companies are looking for is a ‘trending papers’ algorithm, analogous to Twitter’s trending topics algorithm. A trending papers algorithm would tell an R&D company which are the most impactful papers in a given research area in the last 24 hours, 7 days, 30 days, or any time period.

Hall goes on to explain how in this business model, data is more valuable than content, and certainly more profitable.

Indeed, the reason it’s so crucial to understand Academia.edu’s business model is because it highlights just how much the situation regarding the publication and dissemination of academic research has changed since the open access movement first began to take shape in the 1990s and early 2000s. Without doubt the argument of this movement, that publicly-funded research should be made openly available online free of charge, is extremely pertinent to the content-driven world of profit-maximising academic publishers such as Reed Elsevier, Springer, Wiley-Blackwell, and Taylor & Francis/Informa, with their high journal subscription charges and book cover prices, ‘Big Deal’ library contract bundling strategies, and protection of copyright and licensing restrictions. But this argument isn’t anywhere near as relevant to the data-driven world of search engines, social media and social networking. That’s because for the likes of Google, Twitter and Academia.edu free content is what for-profit technology empires are built on.

There’s much more in the full blog post, and it’s well worth reading.

Celebrate Open Access Week

This week (Oct 21-27) we celebrate the Open Access Week! A global event now in its 6th year, OA week promotes Open Access as a new norm in scholarship and research.

Nationally and internationally, universities and research institutions are all celebrating the week with programs and campaigns that promote open access.  You can find out more at http://www.openaccessweek.org/

Even publishers start to join the bandwagon.  Taylor & Francis is offering to waive article publishing charge from Oct 21st to Nov 20th in selected titles (http://explore.tandfonline.com/page/open-access-week-2013).  Sage sponsored an ACRL webinar “What is The Role of the Librarian in an Open Access World?”.  The archived webcast recording is available at: https://connect.iu.edu/p5u793qdw4f/

In Oct 2011, Gleeson Library launched USF Scholarship Repository as our institutional repository that will digitally collect, preserve and provide free electronic access to scholarly works and research output by the USF community.  To date our repository has now collected 359 faculty and student papers and enjoyed 62,366 downloads in the past year alone.  As one faculty who finds herself one of the most popular authors in her discipline in the network puts it, “it is great to see so many people are interested in finding my work there.”

So let’s celebrate open access week by submitting our works to the Scholarship Repository

New archive of open access public-policy research at IUPUI

PolicyArchive, an online archive of public-policy research was recently launched by Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis University Library and the Center for Governmental Studies, a nonprofit group that encourages civic engagement.

PolicyArchive now holds more than 12,000 policy documents from about 220 think tanks and research groups. The archive’s developers say it will house up to 20,000 documents by the end of 2008. They want it to become the largest online repository of public-policy research in the world.

The archive documents are freely available, and publishers are encouraged to upload their documents to the site.

From Policy Archive at IUPUI University Library (Indiana University-Purdue University):

PolicyArchive is an innovative, new digital archive of global, non-partisan public policy research. It makes use of the power, efficiency, and economy of modern Internet technology to collect and disseminate summaries and full texts, videos, reports, briefs, and multimedia material of think tank, university, government, and foundation-funded policy research. It offers a subject index, an internal search engine, useful abstracts, email notifications of newly added research, and will soon expand to offer information on researchers and funders, and even user-generated publication reviews. Over time, it will grow to include policy content from international and corporate organizations.

Problem: American philanthropic foundations spend over $1.5 billion a year on research. Spread out across the nation among diverse libraries, institutions, databases, and websites, this valuable research can be difficult or impossible to identify and obtain once it has been published. Research organizations have no central place to distribute or archive their content, and search engines cannot easily locate much policy research. Research is not optimized to appear at the top of search engine results. Existing policy websites are focused on single issues or available only upon payment of substantial fees.

Solution: PolicyArchive simplifies this complex research landscape by providing a universal, easy-to-use, free, and open digital archive of foundation-funded and other public policy research. The PolicyArchive solution provides public interest organizations a low-cost electronic system for distributing, publicizing, and archiving their research. It allows research users, policy makers, the media, and the public to quickly access the depth and breadth of research in various subject matters. It also provides a direct line of communication between research providers and end-users, thus increasing public awareness of an organization’s work and adding significant value to their research investment. Ultimately, PolicyArchive will indefinitely preserve the life of public policy research, substantially increase its impact, and provide society at large with long-term access to the benefits of that important research.

Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography

Version 71 of the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography is now available from Digital Scholarship. This selective bibliography presents over 3,250 articles, books, and other printed and electronic sources that are useful in understanding scholarly electronic publishing efforts on the Internet.

The Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography (SEPB) presents selected English-language articles, books, and other printed and electronic sources that are useful in understanding scholarly electronic publishing efforts on the Internet. Most sources have been published between 1990 and the present; however, a limited number of key sources published prior to 1990 are also included. Where possible, links are provided to sources that are freely available on the Internet.