open access | Wittenberg University

OhioLINK, the statewide academic library consortium, recently awarded more than $17,000 to 29 faculty members from 15 Ohio colleges to help them learn about teaching with no-cost course materials versus traditional textbooks. The announcement was part of the Open Education Week celebration that took place this spring.

Wittenberg is a member of OhioLINK, which, as part of the Ohio Department of Higher Education, manages initiatives that reduce the cost of attending college in Ohio. Suanne Barthol, assistant professor of business at Wittenberg and newly named recipient of the Omicron Delta Kappa Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award, received an Open Educational Resources (OER) mini grant for her open, adaptable course materials that will be free for students taking her business 365 Manage Effective Organizations class next school year.

“Kristen Peters in our Wittenberg library had shared the information, and I applied because I was intrigued about how I could design the course while also cutting down on costs,” said Barthol, who received a grant for $600. “I was one of 29 faculty members selected to participate in the pilot program. Thus far, the grant has required participating in an online course during the month of March, designing a syllabus by the end of May, and then committing to integrating the OER course materials into a class during the 2022-2023 school year. I will definitely be using it for the BUSN 365 – Managing Effective Organizations course.”

Another cost-savings measure through OhioLINK was the publishing of an open-access article by Travis Proctor, assistant professor of religion. Proctor is the first Wittenberg author to take advantage of a deal that OhioLINK staff negotiated with Cambridge University Press to publish an open-access article. It would have cost $3,255 to publish this article in Cambridge’s OA journal without this OhioLINK arrangement.

According to its website, open access increases the visibility of research by removing pay walls for readers and is considered to be a more equitable approach to academic content because research is made available regardless of an institution’s or author’s ability to pay for access. The immediate availability of open access research results in more citations for authors and broader dissemination of cutting-edge scholarship.

According to Proctor, his article, “Hospitality, not Honors: Portraits and Patronage in the Acts of John,” explores how an ancient Christian text argues for important changes in how monetary offerings (ie, donations) should be handled as part of ancient religious practice, as well as how religious leaders should honor (or not honor) those who financially support religious communities. The article was published with Harvard Theological Review in February 2022.

“Having the article published open access was important to me because it makes my work more accessible to a general audience, as well as academics who might not have access to journals through a university library,” he said. “OhioLink and Wittenberg’s support for open-access publishing signals an important investment in democratizing the knowledge that we produce as scholars, and making sure that more people can be a part of the conversation.”

For more on the OhioLINK-Cambridge opportunity, click here.

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