The Association of College & Research Libraries has awarded a $5000 Scholarly Communications Research Grant to the University Libraries at the University of Nevada, Reno. ACRL is the higher education association for academic libraries and library workers. The Scholarly Communication Research Grant funds librarians who are seeking to conduct research that contributes to more inclusive systems of scholarly communications. The grant was awarded to the University Libraries to provide research funding to test the accessibility of open textbooks, which are free to read and often licensed to allow teachers to adapt and remix them. The University of Nevada, Reno was one of seven universities to receive the Scholarly Communications Research Grant.
This grant funding allowed the University Libraries to hire a student assistant to use a rubric based on Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 to evaluate open textbooks to see how accessible they are. The second part of the project will include sending out a survey to the people across the country who work with open textbooks to ask about how they are considering and including accessibility. Teresa Shultz, social sciences librarian for the University Libraries, and Elena Azadbakht, health sciences librarian for the University Libraries, are the lead researchers for this project.
“The end goal is to promote open textbooks on campus and make getting textbooks more affordable for students,” said Azadbakht. “The rising costs of textbooks continues to be a problem, this grant will help us to be able to offer a solution to this problem.”
Online textbooks can be available to students through their classes to lower the cost of textbooks.
“The Scholarly Communications Research Grant will allow us to do further research on accessible textbooks so we can recommend those textbooks to professors to use in their courses, said Shultz. “It is our hope that our research outcomes will promote affordable textbooks while ensuring they are accessible.”
About the University Libraries
The University Libraries embrace intellectual inquiry and innovation, nurture the production of new knowledge, and foster excellence in learning, teaching and research. During each academic year, the Libraries welcomes more than 1.2 million visitors across its network of three branch libraries: the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center, the DeLaMare Science and Engineering Library and the Savitt Medical Library. Visitors checked-out more than 80,000 items and completed more than 2 million database searches.