revellaa's blog

Paywalls and Scholarly Articles

Have you ever tried to read an article, only to be asked to pay? 

Being unable to access an article is called “hitting a paywall.” Paywalls hide knowledge and stifle innovation.  Libraries help by subscribing to journals and magazines,  but no single university can afford to subscribe to everything published.  Open access materials can help alleviate students hitting these paywalls.


What can I do to help remove paywalls that act as barriers to research?

  • Use the Open Access Button: The Open Access Button lests users track when they are denied access to research. By clicking the button in your bookmarks bar, the Open Access Button will help you get the research you want and add papers you still need to your wishlists. Download the bookmarklet, the free mobile app, or the free web app at
  • Learn more about the problem: Visit the Right to Resarch coalition's website at There you can get up to speed on everything fromt he challenges students face to the impact of limited and how we can solve the problem. Sign the Student Statement on the Right to Research and find ideas to take action on as an individual or as a group. Get your organizations, student government, and friends on board. There is strength in numbers.
  • Encourage your professors to make their own work open: As students, you have a crucial role in making Open Access a reality because you know firsthand that you're expected to cite articles from scholarly journals when you write papers. The open access issue is a complicated one for some professors, but they may be encouraged to hear students asking questions about open access. Students - who read, rely on, and write for scholarly publications - have the power to change the way research is exchanged.
  • Follow the conversations on Twitter at #oaweek@miamiuoa, @miamiulibraries, @R2RC and @SPARC_NA to keep up with the ongoing developments about open access



Are you Generation Open?

Generation Open LogoAre you Generation Open?

Are you tired of hitting paywalls when you're doing research? 
Are you frustrated with the high price of textbooks? 
Do you want to share your work openly with others across the world? 

If so, then YOU are Generation Open. Join the Miami University Libraries and institutions around the world as we celebrate Open Access Week from October 20th through October 26th. Stop by the "Generation Open" table to talk about the issues and learn how you can help create a more open system of scholarship.

Monday, October 20th, 10am – 5pm: Armstrong Student Center

Tuesday, October 21st, 10am – 4pm: Bell Tower

Wednesday, October 22, 10am – 4pm: Armstrong Student Center

Thursday, October 23, 10am – 4pm: King Café

For more information see or talk to any librarian. And follow the conversation on Twitter at #oaweek. Follow @miamiuoa@miamiulibraries@R2RC, and@SPARC_NA to keep up with ongoing developments about open access. Also, watch this blog all week for additional posts relating to open access.

Top 5 Gangster Films in Miami's Collections

  1. A Better Tomorrow

    This John Woo Classic from 1986 was the film that launched the career of Chow Yun Fat and caused young men throughout Asia to don trench coats. Amongst the pathos and male bonding that are synonymous with Woo's Hong Kong films, this film has so much action and over the top gun play that you will be begging for more. Well, you're in luck because our DVD copy also includes the sequel A Better Tomorrow II, directed by fellow Hong Kong legend Tsui Hark. And BTW, A Better Tomorrow is also the film in which Chow Yun Fat lights a cigarette with a $100 bill. If you like your violence fast and stylized with a healthy dose of "platonic" male bonding, you have to watch these films. Check out the DVD at the IMC in King Library!

  2. Donnie Brasco

    This 1997 film staring Johnny Depp and Al Pacino is the true story of undercover cop Joe Pistone's (Depp) struggles to maintain his sense of justice as he is sucked further and further into the world of gangster Lefty Ruggiero (Pacino). But above all, this film has some very funny dialog amongst the constant suspense. A really good, criminally underrated film with fantastic performances from two excellent actors.

Why Open Access Matters for Humanists

Many humanists believe that the debates raging around open access in the natural sciences are not related to them. "Our research is not usually funded by tax payers," they say. "Unlike the STEM disciplines, our journals have a reasonable subscription price," they argue. And both of these arguments are factually correct. However, the serials crisis caused by rising journal prices and shrinking library budgets indirectly impacts humanities scholars and their ability to access the peer-reviewed scholarly literature in their fields.

When libraries are faced with the need to cut journal subscriptions due to rising costs or budget reductions, they don't simply cut the most expensive items. What they do is look at usage data to locate those journals which are used the least and cut enough of those subscriptions to make up the difference. In other words, we cut off the "long tail." And although some humanities titles see high usage, the bulk of this "long tail" are specialized titles in the humanities. And it is in these titles were humanists try the groundbreaking new approaches that shape their fields. But given the undergraduate-heavy usage patterns at Miami, these titles see less use than similar journals in the sciences and social sciences. So, the rapidly rising costs of journals in other disciplines does have an impact on access to humanities research.

What can scholars do about this? Humanists could publish their research in one of the many open access journals in their field, but they may not be as prestigious as more traditional titles. Subscription revenue is important to the continued survival of academic societies so many journals have been reluctant to switch to an open access model. This being said, many journals in the humanities allow their authors to self-archive a copy of the final published version of their articles in an institutional repository. Even those journals without an express statement of support for self-archiving in their copyright transfer agreement (CTA) will usually allow authors to post their work online in some form if asked via an author addendum to the CTA. Miami's Scholars Portal and the connected Scholarly Commons is Miami's institutional repository. Posting your work in Scholarly Commons not only increases access to your research by other scholars, but also allows other interested parties to read your work. In other words, the general public who lives without access to academic journals will be able to access your research. Additionally, the Scholars Portal allows Miami faculty to create profiles to provide a public face for the work contained in the Scholarly Commons. These profiles have a persistant easy to remember URL as well as basic profile and contact information. If you would like some assistance in creating your Scholars Portal profile and getting your work added to the Scholarly Commons, please contact Jen Waller at

Additional Resources

History of the Olympic Games

With the beginning of the Olympic Games just around the corner, many of our minds have turned to those sporting events that we observe only once every 4 years. Miami University Libraries has a large number of items related to the Olympic Games. You will find books related to the Olympic Games throughout our collections, but a large concentration of them are located in the GV721 call number range on the second floor of King Library. Below are some interesting items from our collections related to the Olympic Games.


O'Mahony, Mike (2012). Olympic Visions: Images of the Games Through History. 

ArtArch | N8250 .O43 2012

This new collection of images contains photographs from each of the modern Olympic games, from the first in Athens in 1896 to the most recent in Beijing in 2008. This book can be found in the Art and Architecture Library in Alumni Hall.

Polley, Martin (2011). The British Olympics: Britain's Olympic Heritage 1612-2012.

King Library (Second Floor) | GV721.4.G7 P65 2011

In 2012, London will host the Olympic Games for a unprecedented 4th time. For this reason, the Games and the British Isles are inextricably linked. What many don't know, however, is the role the British authors and athletes played in the formation of the modern Olympic movement. For instance, the first time an athletic competition which was comprised of a number of events was given the term "olympik" since the ancient games was in Britain in 1612? Also, it was a Englishman who discovered the Olympia, the site of the ancient games, in 1766. This volume presents the role Britain played in the formation of the modern Games, as well as the role it has played in their maintenance and rise to prominence.  

Mallon, Bill & Heijmans, Jeroen (2011). Historical Dictionary of the Olympic Movement. 

King Reference | GV721.5 .B83 2011

This reference book contains entries on the people, places and concepts that helped shape the Olympic movement. Its scope covers both the modern and ancient games. This title also includes a timeline of important events in the history of the Olympic Games. This book is a great place to begin research on any topic related to the Olympic Games.

Davis, David (2012). Showdown and Shepherd's Bush: The 1908 Olympic Marathon and the Three Runners Who Launched a Sporting Craze

King Library (Second Floor) | GV1065 .D38 2012

The marathon at the 1908 London Olympic Games went a long way in popularizing the sport of distance running. This account of that event places the race in its historical and socio-political context and examines the fallout of the controversial finish to the first prominent distance race. As a side note, it was at the 1908 Olympics that the distance of the modern marathon was standardized to 26 miles, 385 yards. The race was to have been 26 miles plus a lap of the Olympic track which would have resulted in a distance of 26 miles, 586 yards and 2 feet. However, Queen Alexandra was not pleased with her view of the final yards of the race from the royal box, so the final yards of the race were run clockwise around the track resulting in now-standard distance.

Tragedy and Controversy:

Smith, Tommie (2007). Silent Gesture: The Autobiography of Tommie Smith

King Library (Second Floor) | GV697 .S65 A3 2007

Tommie Smith's and John Carlos' black power salute during the medal ceremony for the 200m race at the 1968 Mexico City Games set off a firestorm of controversy. Tommie Smith discusses this pivotal event in both the American Civil Rights and Olympic movements in this, his autobiography. 

Pound, Richard W. (2004). Inside the Olympics: A Behind-the-scenes Look at the Politics, the Scandle and the Glory of the Games.

King Library (Second Floor) | GV721.5 .P69 2004

This book by Dick Pound, former vice-president of the International Olympic Committee and president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, explores the dark sides of the Olympic Games. Topics include the politics and corruption of the host city selection process, doping and other cheating engaged in by athletes and controversies related to judging.

ABC News (2005). The Tragedy of the Munich Games

King Library, Ground Floor, IMC, DVD | GV722 1972 .T73 2005

This DVD is an ABC News special report of the kidnapping of members of the Israeli Olympic team at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. It includes archival footage from ABC's coverage of the event as well as contemporary interviews with eyewitnesses and others affected by this tragedy. 

Open Access Week 2011

What is Open Access
"Open-access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. What makes it possible is the internet and the consent of the author or copyright-holder."
Peter Suber
A Very Brief Introduction to Open Access
Why Open Access

  • Academic Journals have a 10-year inflation rate of 180%
  • This fact when coupled with shrinking library budgets is limiting access to scholarly research


  • Authors are not paid by scholarly journals. Their compensation is the dissemination of their work and the resulting citations
  • If access is reduced by growing costs, interested parties cannot read and cite their work
  • Open Access makes scholarly work available to any interested party, including policy makers, industry and the public at large

What Can You Do?