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Research Librarian Receives Innovation in Access to Engineering Information Award

News Date
August 2, 2023
By Cheryl Baltes


Research Librarian for Applied Sciences and Engineering Julia Gelfand
Research Librarian for
Applied Sciences and
Engineering Julia Gelfand

Julia Gelfand, UCI Libraries’ research librarian for applied sciences and engineering, has been awarded the 2023 Innovation in Access to Engineering Information Award by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE).

Gelfand is one of  seven members of the ASEE’s Engineering Libraries Division (ELD) Scholarly Communications Committee Subgroup. The award recognized the subgroup for their work promoting open access (OA) textbooks for engineering. The subgroup’s Open Textbooks for Engineering Research Guide identifies and promotes open textbooks in 12 areas of engineering.

Organized by engineering discipline, all the textbooks listed in the guide are licensed under an open license, meaning they are freely available to students, instructors, and the public. A subset of open educational resources (OER), these OA textbooks are either in the public domain, because their copyright has expired or was waived, or they are released under an OA license.

Due to their open nature, such texts are available at no cost to students and researchers, and their content can be adopted and even modified for use in courses.

The ELD Scholarly Communications Committee Subgroup’s goal is to provide potential users with a one-stop resource. Otherwise, Gelfand explained, they would need to go through multiple sources or long lists of OA content to find appropriate and accessible information.

“New content is being released all the time,” said Gelfand. “We’ve made a promise to keep the site up to date, but that’s a moving target.”

To this end, each subgroup member has adopted two to three engineering subject areas to populate and keep updated on a quarterly basis.

In addition to the Scholarly Communications Committee Subgroup, Gelfand is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a recipient of the 2021 Association of College and research Libraries (ACRL) Research Librarian of the Year Award, and a member of several other ELD committees. One related ELD effort is the Engineering and Applied Science Societies OA Policies Resource Guide that was updated in April 2023. It tracks 30+ publishers and professional societies and their publications, including the status of their OA and licensing options, article processing charges (APC), transformative agreements, and where the content is indexed or available. Gelfand said it is critical to keep this information accurate, so the work is ongoing. Each committee member is responsible for maintaining the data for up to five publishers.


For more details about open access initiatives within UCI Libraries, visit the Affordable Course Materials (ACM) and OER Faculty Guide or read more about the ACM and OER Initiative and Open Access Monograph Publication Pilot Program.