Use of peer reviewed articles in a MOOC
At Wageningen University, teachers want to use peer reviewed papers in a MOOC in a legal way. Since a MOOC is freely available on internet and can be followed anywhere and by anyone, I advise to use free access or open access articles only. In this blog post, I will elaborate on this advice and give tips on finding free and open access articles.
Use free access or open access articles
Free access articles are papers in a subscription based journal that are made freely available by the publisher after a year or two. If you provide a hyperlink in your MOOC, you will use these papers in a legal way.
Open Access (OA) articles are freely available from the start. They come in different forms: Gold, Gold hybrid, and Green. Most OA papers have a Creative Commons (CC) license. There are six different CC licenses, and each CC license allows you to include a copy of the paper in your MOOC. Just giving a link to an OA paper in your MOOC is also possible, of course.
When using links, supply a stable (persistent) link, such as DOI links, if possible. You can create a DOI link by typing http://doi.org/ in front of a DOI number, e.g. http://doi.org/10.1007/s10811-015-0678-2.
Finding an open access version of a publication
When a paper is not freely accessible on a publisher’s website, you would want to know if an open version is available in institutional or subject repositories. There are several ways to find an open version:
- You could do a Google Scholar search, find the paper, and click on the link All versions. Among these versions, you might find an open one. Refrain, though, from using a Research Gate paper in a MOOC, because these are not always made public in a legal way.
- If you know the DOI of the paper you are looking for, you could also use two tools that were developed last year: http://oadoi.org and http://doai.io/. Instead of using the link http://doi.org/10.1038/nplants.2016.74, you can replace the first part of the link with the tool links, such as http://oadoi.org/10.1038/nplants.2016.74 or http://doai.io/10.1038/nplants.2016.74, to find an open access version, if available.
Finding an alternative article, which is open or free access
If you can’t find an open version of the paper you would like to use in your MOOC, you could consider using another paper on the same topic. Finding freely available articles is not that easy, because few search systems make it possible to restrict the results to open or free access articles. Here are some options:
- You can start your search in a system where you will find open access articles only, such as the Directory of Open Access Journals (www.doaj.org), or the BASE OA search engine, which harvests open documents from more than 4000 repositories.
- The database Web of Science has a filter for Open Access articles, but the result is quite meagre. In none of the other database we offer in Wageningen, a similar option could be found. Even Google Scholar does not have a filter for Open Access articles. In Google however, you can go to the Advanced options, select PDF as file type, and try the given usage licenses one by one.
- Many publishers have options on their journal platforms to filter search results on Open Access (e.g. Elsevier or ACS), or they clearly indicate which papers have free access (e.g. Wiley).
These were the search options, I came across so far. If you happen to know other solutions, I would love to hear them. Please, share them with me and others in a comment on this blog post.