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National speaker touts open access


Joseph photo

Heather Joseph, left, and Sherilyn Bird, dean of the TWU libraries, discuss open access at the Teaching and Learning Symposium.

Photo credit: Morgan O'Donnell

DENTON — “The power of open,” with that simple phrase, Heather Joseph, executive director of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), kicked off Texas Woman’s University’s 10th Annual Teaching and Learning Symposium Aug. 20. The annual symposium, hosted by the Office of Teaching and Learning with Technology, brings the TWU together community to share best practices, models and lessons-learned in uses of technology both in the face-to-face and online classrooms.

In an era of increasing concerns about rising tuition costs and student retention, Joseph highlighted how the power of open access “can provide solutions to problems.” One example she presented was the cost for a one-year electronic subscription to the “Journal of Geophysical Research” is $5,760 or as she put it, the cost of a nice Tiffany diamond ring. According to Joseph, the lack of open access also impacts students directly as research shows that two out of three students decide not to purchase a textbook due to costs, which can average $1,225 per year for undergraduates. Additionally, many students say that at some point they have taken fewer courses due to the cost of textbooks.

Jennifer Martin, TWU senior associate provost, said, “Heather’s presentation effectively synthesized the most salient reasons for open access: broader access to information, stronger impact of available information, and stewardship of limited financial resources.” She added that she was intrigued by the connection Joseph drew between student retention and open access textbooks. The high cost of textbooks impacts many students at TWU and across the country, with some students not able to purchase the books for courses in which they are enrolled. Open access texts may remove at least one barrier to retention and graduation.

As Joseph stated, “Students can’t learn from materials they can’t afford.”

SPARC supports the immediate, barrier-free online availability of scholarly and scientific research articles, coupled with the rights to reuse these articles fully in the digital environment, and advocates for practices and policies that enable this. For additional information, see

Texas Woman’s University supports and encourages its faculty in adopting the open access model of publishing by providing an institutional repository called the Pioneer Open Access Repository, which can be found at

Written by Morgan O'Donnell

Office of Marketing and Communication

page updated 5/9/2016 4:57 PM