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Aligning Interests, Mobilizing Scholarship: Embedding Sustainable Donor-Funded Open Access in the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto.
Graeme Slaght, Samantha Elmsley

Last modified: 2017-09-13


This lightning talk will address the specific challenges of administering a donor-funded open access collection of social work scholarship, the Sophie Lucyk Virtual Library. Since 2015, the University of Toronto Libraries has embedded a graduate student within the Faculty of Social Work to collaborate with staff, graduate students and faculty to locate, ingest and negotiate with publishers for rights to publish the results of scholarship within a certain subject area. All of this has been supported by gifted funds to the department from the estate of a deceased alumnus. Recently, this effort has been expanded via a new donation and matching funds from the Faculty to be an endowed position, sustainably and permanently assisting with the “greening” of Factor-Inwentash’s research output.

The talk will address the particular advantages and challenges of this model of funding for open access. Most of all, it will address how the locus of ‘ownership’ of the project, nominally within the development officer’s portfolio but with significant oversight from the Dean’s office as well, has posed some interesting questions to how the library typically supports open scholarship. How ‘deep’ does the library’s commitment go when, to some, a repository seems like only a highly functional but low-impact container for files. How can we better “sell” the knowledge mobilization inherent in Green Open Access, and embed it within the business practices and workflows of departments and individual researchers? What in fact, is a donor getting for their money?

Key take-ways:

  • Demonstration of an atypical funding model for mediated deposit, that embeds open access in the day-to-day operations of a Faculty.

  • Details about the costing out of the model; can it be spread to other departments or contexts?

  • Aligning interests: getting creative about funding and sustaining open access, i.e. how to talk about it in the language of philanthropy.

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