Category: Scholarly Communications

The Importance of Open Access in Research, Classroom & Society

Perhaps in no other year has the importance of freely open and accessible information been more evident than in 2020.  The mid-March outbreaks of COVID-19 prompted stay-at-home orders and quarantines throughout the nation, and Americans were sequestered to their homes for a quarantine that some have yet to escape. When universities, libraries, businesses and laboratories across the country closed their doors, the availability of Open Access documents and data helped us maintain some semblance of our daily routine, and a little of our sanity. 

As we’ll explore in this blog post, Open Access (OA) — the free and unfettered access to research — is important to each of us whether it’s in the classroom or broadly in society through everyday things and important research. In particular, we’ll highlight how the public health crisis has illustrated the importance of Open Access in all aspects of our lives. 

  • Classroom.  When faculty and students suddenly switched to online classes mid-semester, several publishers and database vendors unlocked large collections of eBooks, journal titles, textbooks and streaming videos to be freely available to students and faculty researchers who had lost access to physical resources, like books, in libraries. PBS modified their daytime broadcasting schedule to provide free lessons for preK-12 students learning at home, and many agencies put content online for use in the classroom. Faculty at colleges and universities utilized open educational resources and other Open Access research to provide affordable and freely accessible course materials to their students. 
  • Research.  As scientists work for a cure for COVID-19, publishersorganizations, and agencies around the globe have made large collections of coronavirus-related scholarship Open Access. This helps to level the playing field for underfunded schools and research institutes that can’t afford high-cost subscriptions. In addition, it helps provide timely and free access to the latest research, so that researchers can work together to better understand COVID-19, collaborate on new innovations, and develop vaccines. 
  • Society.  When supplies ran low, hospitals were able to use Open Access programs to 3D print face shields and other PPE.  Newspapers made COVID-19-related stories Open Access so that people who could not afford subscriptions could stay abreast of developments.  Parks, museums, and zoos offered virtual tours, and musicians performed from their living rooms, opening their homes to people who couldn’t leave theirs. 

While we couldn’t possibly explore every single aspect of Open Access as it relates to COVID-19, we hope that these examples illustrate how providing free access to anyone, anywhere in the world can be beneficial to all — whether it’s related to the public health crisis or providing access to important research and innovations in everyday life. 

To learn more about the Open Access movement, its benefits, and ways you can engage in OA publishing and research, visit the UCF Libraries’ Office of Scholarly Communication website for more information or contact Sarah Norris, Scholarly Communication Librarian at  

Open Access Week 2020

Introduction to Open Access & Open Access Week 2020

Now in its thirteenth year, Open Access Week is a global event that celebrates the Open Access (OA) movement. It aims to bring awareness to OA and explore the benefits it brings to all. In addition, it is a time for institutions to highlight Open Access efforts and activities locally at their institution. At UCF Libraries, we will be exploring a variety of OA topics during this year’s Open Access Week through blog posts and social media posts to help you learn more about Open Access and what it means for universities, libraries, society, and your own published works.


Faculty Support: We Have You Covered Text on Image of Open Book with Pen

Breeze Into Summer Courses with Copyright Support through UCF Libraries

Summer is nearly here! As faculty work to develop online courses for the summer semester, questions may arise about copyright and fair use. Common questions about online classes and copyright include:

  • Can I scan a book chapter and post it in Canvas?
  • Am I allowed to add a PDF journal article to Canvas that I downloaded from UCF Libraries?
  • Can I link to a YouTube video?

Whether you have a question about journal articles, e-books, or streaming video, UCF Libraries is available to assist you with any copyright, fair use, or licensing questions that you have.

The Office of Scholarly Communication offers a variety of resources and services to help you navigate the complexities of copyright in your online courses. Visit the website for more information about copyright:

If you have questions about copyright and fair use for your summer courses visit UCF Libraries Guide on Academic Resources during COVID-19 Situation: It provides excellent resources and copyright clarifications to aid you in this process.

If you have additional questions, Scholarly Communication Librarian, Sarah Norris, is available to provide general guidance to faculty and staff about copyright and transitioning their classes online. For the month of May, Sarah is providing online office hours, Tuesday & Thursday, 11:30 a.m. – Noon. You can also reach her through email or phone.

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Scholarly Communication Workshops

Library Support for Course Materials

Whether you’re teaching online or face-to-face, UCF Libraries provide access to a variety of materials that can support your courses — from journal articles, streaming videos, e-books, and more. But, these materials have a wide variety of access models that are not always evident. In this session, UCF Librarians Sara Duff, Rich Gause, and Sarah Norris will share how to navigate the plethora of resources available to support teaching and learning with a particular emphasis on resources that can be used during remote teaching during emergency circumstances. How to access these materials and ensure they’re accessible by students, as well as copyright and licensing will also be explored in this session. 

Faculty Session: May 28, 2020 – 1:00 -2:00 pm

Copyright and Student Works

Copyright is an important part of student works. As UCF students, they not only use copyrighted content but are also creators of copyrighted content. That’s because when a student writes a research paper, thesis, or dissertation, creates a presentation, or produces any other original and creative work, students own the copyright of those works — without having to apply for copyright. In this session, we will explore copyright as it applies to students and will provide context and recommendations that faculty can use to help foster students to be good stewards of copyright and intellectual property and to aid in ensuring student copyright is protected. 

Open to all: June 16, 2020 – 1:00 – 2:00 pm

Copyright, Fair Use, and Online Teaching During Emergency Circumstances

Sarah Norris, UCF Scholarly Communications Librarian, and Rich Gause, UCF Government Information Librarian, will provide a session on Copyright, Fair Use, and Online Teaching During Emergency Circumstances. This session will be held via Zoom on Thursday, May 7th at 3 p.m. All UCF faculty are welcome to attend. The session will provide a bit of information on fair use (exploring the four fair use factors in depth) and other components that will be helpful as you consider the materials you need when teaching online. 

Specific copyright and fair use questions can be directed to Sarah Norris and Rich Gause ahead of time or during the session. 

Zoom Link for the online session

See also our online guide “Academic Resources during COVID-19 Situation: Copyright Clarifications”

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