This year, we celebrate International Open Access Week (October 24 – 30, 2016) and its 2016 theme, “Open in Action,” through a number of projects, programs, and investments “in the open.” Working with our faculty colleagues, the DePaul University Library will continue to highlight and support initiatives designed to promote the “free, immediate, online availability” of research data, and the scholarly and scientific works produced by the DePaul University community to the wider world.

In recent years, the library has collaborated with colleagues across Academic Affairs and other divisions of the university to promote open access to scholarly work produced by members of our community, including electronic theses and dissertationsjournals, and individual posters, presentations, and scholarly articles made available through our institutional repository, Via. We have seen more than 1,000,000 items downloaded from Via, to date, and can now provide a framework for members of the DePaul community wishing to pursue a scalable and sustainable approach to producing, disseminating, and providing enduring access to their scholarly work “in the open.” This work continues, and faculty wishing to learn more about how the library can support their work can review our listing of digital services, or contact a liaison librarian for more information.

More recently, the library has increased its investment in providing easier access to a greater array of open access resources, e.g., by joining the Federal Depository Library Program and HathiTrust. As importantly, our commitment to “open” has helped other groups of which we are a member, including the Center for Research Libraries, to begin making their own changes in support of open access. Thanks to these investments, DePaul faculty and students have access to millions of open access publications, as well as to the tools they need to make discovery and use of these resources even easier.

Our major focus this year will be on promoting greater awareness and use of open educational resources (OER), including those highlighted through the Open Textbook Network. Working in collaboration with Faculty Council and the DePaul Student Government Association, we will conduct research on the awareness and use of open educational resources among our faculty. We will also develop a new guide to open educational resources designed, like this one from the University of Massachusetts, to provide easier access to an array of available OERs, as well as to models for teaching using OERs. If you are currently using an open textbook in your teaching, or are making use of any combination of open resources to limit (or eliminate) educational materials costs for your students, please contact Heather Jagman, Coordinator for Reference, Instruction, and Academic Engagement, to contribute to an initial scan of the OER environment at DePaul.

If you are interested in learning more about OERs and how to use OERs, including open textbooks, in your teaching, watch for future programs, including a panel session planned for Open Education Week (March 2017), and an Open Textbook Network workshop for faculty (May 2017), or contact your liaison librarian for more information.

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