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FSCI Attendance Inspires Scholarly Publishing Literacy Additions to MPH Course

The FORCE 11 Scholarly Communication Institute proved to be a valuable combination of inspiration and encouragement to pursue open access goals along with practical strategies for implementing them. I was able to benefit from this institute thanks to a scholarship from FORCE11 and the UCLA Library, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the University of Padua, Computational Data Citation Project, and the Wellcome Trust. One course that is having an immediate impact on my work at my home university was entitled “Educating the Next Generation of Open Scholars.”

I am a co-instructor for the two-semester capstone project that all students take in order to complete the requirements for their Masters in Public Health degree. My colleague instructs students on the data analysis portion of the course, while I lead the students in creating a scholarly poster and writing a manuscript. It became clear to me during FSCI that I could be doing so much more in this course to advance scholarly publishing literacy among these 44 students.

So far I have implemented several practices that were recommended in the course. My colleague will be using the video, Data Sharing and Management Snafu in 3 Short Acts Our students use existing datasets and this will allow them to appreciate the effort that was necessary to supply those datasets, as well as encourage proactive data management on their part. (My colleague feels sorry for Panda.)

We already require file naming conventions for data files, but this semester I have increased my emphasis on proper file naming of text-based files. Another practice I’ve adopted is to add CC BY to my teaching materials.

I have two new assignments that I am developing for the spring semester of this course. I will ask the students to compare the license agreement for the American Journal of Public Health and BMC Public Health. Students will be depositing their final manuscript in the IR so I will introduce them to the license agreement for depositing in the University’s IR in this context.

Students will then read Martin Eve’s article “Who is actually harmed by predatory publishers?” I may also ask the students to look at altmetrics for a journal article written for public health practitioners.

The assignment for this module will be to write a reflection on the value of publishing in journals with different characteristics, for example, journals that are open but provide no peer review, peer review and open but APC is required, no APC but can deposit in IR after short embargo and after long embargo. I will provide impact factors, audience, subscriptions costs, etc.

In a separate module I will ask students to read the F1000 open peer review of Majumder MS, Hess R, Ross R and Piontkivska H. Seasonality of birth defects in West Africa: could congenital Zika syndrome be to blame? F1000Research 2018, 7:159 (  I will ask each research team to submit a description of how the article changed via peer review, and ask them to note the pros and cons of open peer review.

I am also currently referring back to the instruction I received in the Getting Buy-in course, and expect to implement some of the ideas in my notes from the Scholarly Reputation Management course after I finish teaching this course in the spring. Attending this institute has contributed to so many aspects of my practice as a medical librarian!


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