Open access to information — free, immediate, online access to the results of scholarly research — has practical, real-world implications for people right here in East Tennessee.
Because most academic research is hidden behind a paywall, many small nonprofits cannot access the peer-reviewed journal articles that can bolster their requests for grant funding. “Without access to research and those published articles, we can’t possibly be doing our best work, and that impacts our clients,” says Anita Parkhurst, grant writer for Catholic Charities of East Tennessee.
Each year, Catholic Charities of East Tennessee provides temporary housing for thousands of clients. Parkhurst, who writes applications for the grant funding that underwrites these crucial services, understands the importance of access to research: “I can tell a really good, compelling story about our clients and our programs, but what I really need to make the application competitive is the research that backs and supports the interventions that we’re using to help the people — to help our clients.”
As an example, Parkhurst mentions the charity’s services to homeless individuals living with HIV and AIDS. “I can tell you these stories about the clients who are living in our shelter right now. But, if I add the research about what happens to people who are living with HIV and AIDS — and they’re homeless, and they’re malnourished, and what happens to their health outcomes — all of a sudden I have a really credible application for funding for food for that program.”
The UT Libraries’ provides resources and expertise to make UT faculty members’ publications and data legally available to the public, through both the Open Publishing Support Fund for open access publishing and also Tennessee Research and Creative Exchange (TRACE), UT’s open repository of Volunteer research. Both of these resources empower faculty to legally share their research with the public.
Look for more information about these resources from the Libraries’ Scholars’ Collaborative during Open Access Week next week, or contact Rachel Caldwell, Scholarly Communication & Publishing Librarian (firstname.lastname@example.org, 865-974-6107) in the Scholars’ Collaborative.