When I started this new job I was chucked Dorothy-like into the realm of Open Access. That was almost three months ago and to this day I’m cramming OA research and policies into my gaping face hole in the desperate hope that some of it might stick.
In an effort to make sense of it all, my original plan (oh how I laugh at naïve Jen of the past) was to write a single, sweary blog post about OA**, sling it on twitter and then merrily get on with other things like eating pies and sitting down.
Unfortunately, tackling OA is like fighting motherfucking Medusa.
(Please imagine wavy lines and a flashback harp at this point thankyouverymuch)
You enter carrying the mighty sword of coffee and google. OA Medusa is looking nasty af but you have the power of Wikipedia on your side.
You raise your sword and BAM, you’ve read the Finch report and think you know it all.
Oh no you don’t, two more heads have sprung up, better tackle the difference between Green and Gold. (Now might be the time to snick out those knives you have up your sleeves.)
No you clunging well don’t, now there’s the Soprano-esque world of APCs and there’s Symplectic and there’s hundreds of academics asking about Symplectic and then a green paper comes out and threatens to get rid of HEFCE and in bed at night you’re dreaming about the REF and before long you start to think REF would be a great name for that dog you want but will never get because you’re too busy thinking about the REF.
Jesus. (got a wee bit too into that)
As you can see from the number of acronyms, hyperlinks and jargon, OA is as impenetrable as the shipping forecast only more sweary and less wet.
I may have possibly mentioned only in passing just that one time, I was a teensy bit unsatisfied with my library course. Open Access was never mentioned, not even in the most erroneously titled module, Information Futures.
Considering the implications this whole area is having on libraries and HE in general (as well as related areas such as altmetrics and research data management) and the work this is generating, newly minted librarians need to be equipped to take on this challenge.
I started this job equipped with only a vague idea of green and gold OA and to be honest, couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about. Here I am less than three months in and yes, reading about OA doesn’t help me understand its real world implications or the pisstake irregularities – but working in this field and learning on the job puts it into context and as a result it is super fun. Even more fun than reordering your friend’s frankly insanely ordered bookshelves (i.e. the second most fun thing to do whilst sober).
We are currently a one-and-a-half person team (Nick is the full grown adult and I’m the half cos I work part time in this role, not cos I’m short ok) and so, in spite of the steep learning curve, I’m really lucky to be gaining this experience and I’m certainly enjoying the challenges and all the different things I get to do. Said with utter sincerity I can assure you.
There are many far more erudite and engaging blogs and articles out there about OA in general, the current climate of epic struggle and what the future may hold*** – and so, in the spirit of being quite crap about these things, I am going to post about different areas, like APCs, and try to put them in a real world, probably slightly rude, context. Sorry.
Oh and if anyone asks, yes I have definitely read the whole Finch report.
*Alternative title – fuck you Elsevier
** Look I’m doing it NICK
*** General overview of OA theory by Pete Suber (OA Macdaddy), open-eyed post about the current HEFCE situation by the University of Cambridge, Martin Paul Eve’s book about OA and the humanities is published green OA and you can find info on scumbag Elsevier here, here, here and here.