Behind the scenes with the OA team: Kyle

Kyle Brady
Thursday 18 October 2018

All this week we’ve been peering behind the curtain to get a better look at the Open Access team in the Library. You can see all the previous posts here. Today we’ll hear from Kyle. Kyle’s Pure filters are mainly trained on Humanities and Social Science schools, as well as Psychology and Neuroscience and Chemistry. If you want to know more about our Pure filters and the work of the team in general take a look at the first post in this series.

 1.    What do you say when people ask, “So, what do you do for a living?”

I used to say simply that I’m a Librarian, because that’s something people are familiar with. But 9 times out of 10 this is followed by the person dreamily saying something like “Oh that must be nice working with all those books”. Unfortunately in the Open Access team I don’t often get to refer to physical books or journals (I do on occasion though which is nice). So these days when someone asks me this, I usually say I’m a digital research librarian, or something along those lines. And I often say that my job entails helping academics make their publications freely available to anyone, especially tax payers who have often paid for the research in the first place.

2.    What’s the first thing you did when you came in to work today?

We had our weekly team meeting, something which is really useful given the number of projects going on!

3.    What do you spend most of your time doing, day-to-day?

Most of my time is spent looking at my filters in Pure. Specifically, as I mainly look after the Humanities Schools and Departments, a lot of my time is spent checking to see if books have been published. A lot of this work is repetitive, but it’s all the more satisfying when a book does finally get published!

4.    Favourite part of the job?

When I get a really nice positive reply from a publisher in response to a permission request. Many small publishers are delighted to have their publications archived in our repository, I think mainly because they are providing a service to the author after all, but also it’s great publicity and free advertising! Whatever the reasons, it’s always encouraging to have this sort of cooperative approach to publishing.

5.    Least favourite part of the job?

Probably the seemingly endless publication monitoring in Pure.

6.    What led you to work in the field of Open Access?

After completing an MSc in Library and Information Studies, all the the library positions I worked in were front facing customer service roles, and I liked that Open Access had a strong customer focus too and it wasn’t all background work. Initially though, it was the ethical dimension of the job that first drew my attention to it.

7.    If you could change one thing in the world of academic publishing what would it be, and why?

I think the ethos of academic rewards and journal prestige is pretty unhelpful these days. Perhaps if publishers were less eager to capitalise on this, more money could be invested elsewhere. One thing that is sometimes said of Nature, is that if they were to offer an open access option, they could charge up to £20,000 and people would still pay. Something is amiss there I think.

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