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Increasing access to research & online learning content

In November 2013 the VU Library held a forum exploring developments in Open Access publishing.

A key presentation was given by the director of Engineers without Borders Institute, Julian O’Shea in which he showed how the Open Journal Project is aiming to make research accessible worldwide by providing access at no cost.

The Journal of Humanitarian Engineering is published as an open access journal and its audience include readers in developing countries, citizen scientists, practitioners, academic researchers and authors.

The journal is:

  • available in plain & multiple languages
  • accessible in low-bandwidth areas
  • accessible to users with a disability
  • distributed as hard copy in remote areas around the world.

Engineers without Borders plan to continue to develop the Open Journal Project to support academics and libraries in developing countries to gain access to information.

Also presenting at the forum was Astrid Bovell, copyright communications officer at the University of Melbourne. Astrid discussed the issues related to seeking copyright permission for materials being included in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

She outlined the history of MOOCs, noting the various influences that made MOOCs possible, including such developments as open source software and MIT Open Courseware.

As part of the MOOCs team at the University of Melbourne, Astrid found out that the current systems for permissions are not designed for the “massive” delivery of content. Publishers are unsure how to licence content for MOOCs making the process of seeking permissions longer and the fee per student unaffordable.  She also found that difficulties in seeking copyright permission increased staff frustration & the need for training sessions.

The full sessions are available as videos on the Library intranet.  These are available to VU staff only (the VU login is required if off campus).

 

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