7 Ways Librarians Can Participate in Open Access/Source/Education Communities

As a librarian I use a lot of information, software, and resources which are made available to me through creative commons licensing, open access repositories, and the open source community. If you’re like me and looking for ways to give back, here are a few ideas for ways you can contribute to these amazing communities.

1.) Self-Archive Your Work

E-LIS is a fantastic disciplinary repository for the library field and is an invaluable place to find thousands of articles and white papers about information topics. Why not archive your publications here? If you’re wondering if your publisher will allow you to self-archive a pre-print of your article you can look them up in the Sherpa/Romeo directory to see what their copyright policy is on self-archiving. Or even better, attach the SPARC Author Addendum to your future publishing contracts to secure your right to self-archive.


2.) Donate Your Syllabi

There are so many great open educational repositories out there that make learning objects available to everyone. One of the largest out there is MERLOT with more than 40,000 higher ed learning materials that undergo peer review before being added to the repository. If you’re teaching a class or creating educational resources, why not make them available to everyone?


3.) Archive Your Podcasts and Edu Resources

A few years ago I taught an LIS course on Open topics for which I conducted audio interviews with experts such as Peter Suber, Jimmy Wales, etc. Instead of just making these available to my 25 students, I decided to add them to the Internet Archive where they’re hosted for free and have been downloaded over 2,000 times!


4.) Use a Creative Commons Attribution License

The Creative Commons licenses offer a lot of flexibility while still making your content available to the general public. I prefer the Attribution or “CC BY” license because it allows people to re-use your content in any way they wish, including remixing it to create mashups, as long as they credit you. The iLibrarian blog uses the CC Attribution license.


5.) Publish An Open Access Journal

This is a lot easier than it sounds. By using the OJS (Open Journal Systems) free, open-source software, you can quickly create your own peer-reviewed, OA journal. I’ve actually found this to be a great way to end a class, by publishing my students’ work in their own journal. If you’d like to learn more about this process, I wrote an article called 6 Steps to Publishing a Scholarly Online Journal (for free!), which is archived in E-LIS here.


6.) Make Your Applications and Modules Open Source

If you’ve been working on a snippet of code, a module for a content management system, or an entire application to use in your library, why not make it available to the entire community? While I have limited development skills, I try and share any applications that I manage to put together.


7.) Share Your Slides

There’s nothing better after an inspirational conference or event, than being able to refresh your memory with the speaker’s slides. And Slideshare is a perfect place to upload your slide decks to get them noticed by professionals beyond those who attended the event. I’ve found it to be an incredible community and I’m thrilled to know that my presentations have been viewed over 200,000 times through the site.