7 July 2014

Introduction by the newest member of the OA team

I just thought that as the latest member of the Open Access team here at St Andrews I would introduce myself briefly and give my first impressions.
    Well, A bit of background first. I graduated from Robert Gordon University in 2010 with an MSc in Information and Library Studies. After graduating I drifted around Aberdeen from library to library absorbing information and trying to decide on a career path. In 2011 I moved to St Andrews University Library to work on the Helpdesk. It was here at St Andrews that I first heard about Open Access. Immediately OA sounded like something I wanted to get involved in: it has the perfect mix of philosophy, information technology, opacity (requiring good library detective skills to overcome), and cataloguing (yes cataloguing). Most important to me was/is the ethical dimension to the Open Access cause. Basically, tax payers fund Universities but have to pay again for the fruits of that investment. Open Access seeks to cure this curious injustice by making research output freely available. What is globally applause worthy and truly amazing however is the way OA is enhancing education systems in developing and transition countries by offering free access to high quality current research.
    Well, that’s my background done and dusted. As for my impressions, my enduring impression of the OA team is that there is a lot of work to do and a huge, perhaps intimidating, amount of information to digest. For instance each funder has separate mandates for Open Access, each publisher then has its own mandates, and within each publisher there are journals, each with their individual policies governing what you can and cannot do with research articles. So, when you’ve navigated through the tangled web of policies and mandates, you then have to decide Gold or Green? Also, what if a work has multiple funders attached, which mandate do I use? What does it mean if Funding is given to an external author, does that have to be taken into account? A phrase I used in correspondence with my manager in my first week was “I despair”.
    Long story short: I’m learning and loving every minute of it. And, I will carry on learning and eventually be an expert in Open access mandates, copyright, and policy. The crucial thing is that I and my colleagues are becoming experts in OA so that the academic community at large doesn’t have to. Researchers and academics can rest assured that we have the answers, and the epistemic burden is on us.

Here's a link to my ResearchGate page: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Kyle_Brady/contributions?ev=prf_act. You'll find that my dissertation is, surprise surprise, Open Access.

Kyle Brady
Library Assistant (Open Access Support)

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