Students Speak: Open Access Week Edition
By Linda Hauck
During Open Access Week, which promotes and celebrates the power openly licensed scholarship and textbooks have for knowledge sharing, students tabled on the first floor of Falvey Library. They asked their peers how they feel about expensive textbooks and access codes, which are not openly licensed. Their answers, at least those that are publishable, were frank and to the point:
Students reported spending significant sums on their course materials this semester: 25% spend up to $99, 20% spent $100-199, 20% spent $200-299, 21% spent 300-399 and 10% spent over $400. Some students raised questions about access code fairness. “Shouldn’t have to pay to access HW,” stated one student. Another student questioned access to assessments stating, “Access codes aren’t a good tool b/c they force us to pay $60-130 to take assessments, which should be covered by the school.”
Villanova students are incredibly resourceful, yet they are sometimes pushed to ethically questionable practices when it comes to finding access to expensive materials. They borrow books from each other, Falvey library, CASA, and other libraries through Interlibrary loan. They rent. They take advantage of free trials. They use online “file sharing” libraries. They buy books from online vendors and return them within the 25-day free period…And the cycle repeats.
In the end, students were very appreciative of the faculty and programs on campus that make textbooks more affordable, especially Father John Abubaker, Lance Kenney, John Olson, PhD, Farid Zamini, PhD, and the Humanities Department.
For more information on open access materials, check out the Affordable Materials Project (AMP). AMP promotes knowledge sharing by encouraging the adoption of openly licensed textbooks and homework systems by the OER Faculty Adoption Awards and helps delivers eBooks with unlimited user licenses at no cost to students.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Linda Hauck, MLS, MBA, is Business Librarian at Falvey Library.
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