Open Access Week is a global event now entering its eighth year in 2014 and takes place October 20-26. This is an opportunity for academic and research communities to learn about the benefits of Open Access, to share what they’ve learned with colleagues, and to help inspire wider participation in helping to make Open Access a new norm in scholarship and research.
The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) has selected the theme for this year’s International Open Access Week: “Generation Open.” The theme highlights the importance of students and early career researchers as advocates for change. The theme will also explore how changes in scholarly publishing affect scholars and researchers at different stages of their careers.
Why this is important: I have paid attention to the Open Access movement for only a few years and sense that it has tremendous potential for unlocking the doors of wisdom of academic institutions and international research centers. Much is made of the high cost of academic journal subscriptions and certainly that bothered me a decade ago when asked to contribute to journals that at best would pay authors in copies. Surely there could be a better way of sharing information about biodiversity conservation, responsible travel and world heritage. There is and it’s name is Open Access.
To the movement’s credit, there is no one size fits all solution. There are various permutations of publication and we’ll be paying attention to the events and webinars that pop up in the coming week.
One question: To what degree will the upcoming World Parks Congress be an example of Open Access? It will be an interesting case study to see which reports come out in the coming month with Creative Commons licenses. Beyond that, I’m hoping the Congress can be an example of open education and open journalism. It’s time for a reimagining of collaboration, and without access that is open, we are left in our own institutional silos with broken systems.