Welcome to Open Scholarship at Waterloo
Welcome to the Open Scholarship Committee's (OSC) website. We are a team of faculty members, librarians, staff members, and students who educate, advocate for, and support open research practices, open access publishing, open data, and open educational resources. We are committed to helping scholars make informed decisions about the ways they make their research, scholarship, and instructional content accessible within their scholarly communities.
What is open scholarship?
The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) defines open scholarship as: "encompass[ing] open access, open data, open educational resources and all other forms of openness in the scholarly and research environment." More information, including definitions of each of these areas can be found on the pages linked in the sidebar.
Why is open access important?
As a student:
- Open access removes the barriers of high journal subscription costs, which can be cost-prohibitive and put smaller institutions at a greater disadvantage
Courses will be higher quality when professors have access to the resources they need, as opposed to using content solely because it is affordable or available.
As a researcher:
- Open access (OA) articles often see higher citation rates than closed access articles, in part due to the increased exposure of the work. In a study1 of over 100,000 articles, OA articles received 18% more citations than average.
- Open research may also be more easily found and used by news agencies, non-profit organizations, and public policy makers, providing different mechanisms under which the research can make an impact.
- Funders, such as the Tri-Agencies (NSERC, SSHRC, and CIHR), NIH and NASA, are making funding contingent on publishing open access. Read the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy page for more information.
As a member of the public:
- Open access gives the public access to research often funded by their taxes
- Access to research makes it easier for members of public to participate in the scholarly conversation, and do research themselves, often labelled 'citizen science'
- When researchers and students have improved access to scholarly works, innovation and advancements in research happen more quickly
As an organization that invests in research:
- The open access model provides a more sustainable path to funding research.
Why is open data important?
- Researchers are more easily able to reproduce research.
- Researchers can reuse others data to improve upon others results, or take research in new directions.
- This can also lead to opportunities for collaboration!
- Open data may prevent unnecessary duplication of effort.
- Open data supports research integrity.
- Open data can help people make informed decisions. For example, open data can help people avoid geese, know when there might be traffic issues, or find the nearest public washroom.
Why are open educational resources (OER) important?
- Using OER improves student access to course materials. The cost of traditional textbooks are often unaffordable for students; OER are made available for free to students.
- OER are adaptable, allowing faculty to create content that is customized for their classes.
- OER allow members of communities beyond colleges and universities to access academic education materials, allowing for broader access to information.
1. Piwowar, H., Priem, J., Larivière, V., Alperin, J. P., Matthias, L., Norlander, B., … Haustein, S. (2018). The state of OA: a large-scale analysis of the prevalence and impact of Open Access articles. PeerJ, 6, e4375. doi:10.7717/peerj.4375
- May 11, 2021
The call for nominations for the OE Awards opens May 17, 2021, and closes July 16. The awards provide annual recognition for outstanding contributions in the Open Education Community. They are administered by an international non-profit group, Open Education Global. For further information about categories and timelines see Open Education Awards for Excellence.
- Feb. 28, 2021
By Ceili Minten
A Waterloo course on fostering student engagement in online courses is designed for easy use at international institutions.
- Feb. 28, 2021
By Ceili Minten
PSYCH 253 saves students $56,385 each term.
Previously, the 300 students who enrolled each term were required to buy a textbook listed at $187.95. Redesigning the course around open textbooks eliminates this cost.
Books are very expensive; not all students can afford to buy, or choose to buy, all textbooks. Not having a textbook reduces learning and lowers grades. As well as eliminating cost, using open textbooks also eliminates a barrier to success.