Reflections on the past two and a half years of a collaborative African health OER project

Over the last year, I have written several blog entries about University of Michigan’s involvement with the African Health OER Network. Recently, Meena Hwang, Director of Community Outreach for the OpenCourseWare Consortium (OCWC), relayed to me that OCWC has seen an increase in both interest in and number of cross-institutional collaborative OER projects. In response, Meena invited me and Monica Mawoyo, one of my colleagues from OER Africa, to write a guest blog entry about our experiences with the African Health OER Network. The blog entry debuted today. You may also download a DOC version (with hyperlinks for some of the references).

In Memory of Bob Frost

One of the most rewarding aspects of creating Open Educational Resources is the opportunity our team gets to collaborate with faculty, staff and students across the university. We get to know experts in a diversity of fields and we have worked with folks from the School of Education to the College of Engineering.

We have a soft spot in our hearts, however, for the School of Information (SI). Many members of the Open.Michigan team graduated from SI and some of our strongest support and collaborations have come from the SI community. One such supporter was Robert Frost, who recently passed away. Bob was an advocate for open access in his own right, creating the Frost Open Access Fund to support student and faculty projects related to open access to information at the School of Information. Bob and his wife, Margaret Hedstrom, started this fund by using royalties earned as heirs to Bob’s great-grandfather’s works (who was Robert Frost, the poet).

Bob and Margaret’s argument for creating this fund resides in the belief that the public should benefit from these royalties since it is the public that continues to express interest in the writer Frost’s work. Bob was also an active member of the University community, serving on the Central Faculty Governance Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs and regularly attending CopyNight, hosted by the Copyright Office. Greg Grossmeier, MLibrary Copyright Specialist, remembers Dr. Frost:

“Bob’s commitment to education without barriers really made working with him a pleasure from the Open.Michigan perspective. But from a personal perspective, his commitment to education without barriers was inspiring.”

At Open.Michigan, we hope that the public will continue to express interest in Robert L. Frost, the professor and contributor to information and knowledge that is open, accessible and adaptable.

A memorial service for Bob Frost will be held on April 15, 2011 at 3 p.m. in the Michigan Union Rogel Ballroom.

You can contribute to his memory and his dedication to open access by making a donation to the Frost Open Access Fund:

Learn more about Bob Frost and his work:

Support the NIH's Public Access Policy

April 7, 2011 marks the third anniversary of the National Institutes of Health’s public access policy. This policy ensures the public has stable access to the published results of NIH funded research. The resources that have been published under this policy have lead to a substantial growth in free and accessible research to the public.

If you’re a faculty member at U-M looking for more information on how this policy applies to you, check out the Copyright Office’s overview.

This anniversary marks an opportunity for those who use these resources to advocate for the expansion of this successful NIH policy to other federal agencies. The Right to Research Coalition has provided an overview of talking points for this call to action that we encourage you to review. They’re looking for you to answer this call to action by April 14.

The results from NIH projects are published in PubMed Central, the NIH’s digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature. Right now, PubMed Central contains nearly 2 million articles and the number of free (and, in some cases, openly licensed) resources is growing. PubMed Central has also been an advocate for open licenses, making efforts to support and promote the openly licensed materials through the PMC Open Access Subset. PubMed Central and PubMed are invaluable resources to students and professionals in the biomedical fields.

Closely related to this policy is another opportunity for U-M faculty to contribute to the growth of openly accessible knowledge and information. COPE (the Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity) includes a consortium of universities, including U-M, that have pledged to publish in open access journals. One of the ways they support faculty is by subsidizing author publication fees. Learn more about this at the Library’s COPE FAQ.

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