Open Access publishing provides high visibility for NIU scholars

Winifred Creamer
Winifred Creamer

The University Libraries offer financial grants to NIU faculty and graduate students to help defray the cost of publishing in open access journals that require an article publication fee.

Two NIU researchers’ articles have been able to receive wider exposure as a result of being published in open access journals.

Winifred Creamer of the Department of Anthropology recently co-authored a publication titled “Evidence for maize (Zea mays) in the Late Archaic (3000-1800 B.C.) in the Norte Chico region of Peru” that was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS). PNAS uses a service called Altmetric to record the various ways in which an article is being viewed or used.

As of August, Creamer’s paper had been viewed and/or downloaded 3,467 times and had garnered local and national media from news agencies such as NPR, BBC News and Der Spiegel.

Altmetric also tracks social media activity and downloads to online reference managers such as Mendeley. Among social media, the paper was mentioned on three blogs, 24 tweets and by three Facebook users, and was downloaded and saved by 34 Mendeley users.

Based on the attention the article received, Altmetric currently ranks Creamer’s paper in the top 5 percent of all articles.

Creamer chose to publish in an open access journal “because it would make my work available to a larger audience. I’m especially conscious of this because I work in South America, where many of my colleagues cannot afford to subscribe to the top international journals.”

She also said her knowledge of the University Libraries’ Open Access Publishing Fund factored in to her decision.

Karen Samonds
Karen Samonds

Another recipient of grant funding was Karen Samonds of the Department of Biological Sciences, who co-authored an article titled “Imperfect Isolation: Factors and Filters Shaping Madagascar’s Extant Vertebrate Fauna” that was published in the open access journal PLOS ONE.

Similar to PNAS, PLOS ONE offers article-level metrics for every article it publishes.

As of Oct. 4, Samonds’ article had been viewed 3,106 times and downloaded 541 times. Citations by other authors range between four and six while 32 individuals saved the article on Mendeley. The article was mentioned in two tweets and 61 times on Facebook. With these numbers the article compared favorably to others in its subject area on PLOS ONE.

The University Libraries’ Open Access website includes more information about the Open Access Publishing Fund and the benefits of open access publishing. During the week of Oct. 20, the University Libraries will host the second annual NIU Open Access Symposium to help attendees learn more about various aspects of open access publishing and the use of open access articles, educational resources, and research data sets.

A schedule and descriptions of symposium sessions is available online. For more information, contact Sharon L. Nelson at (815) 753-2021 or slnelson@niu.edu or Karl Pettitt at (815) 753-9495 or kpettitt@niu.edu.

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