Open access week and open scholarship

In Uncategorized on October 20, 2010 by Hanna

This week is Open Access Week. I successfully plugged this in a staff newsletter and my communications colleague said ‘but what is it?’ According to Jennifer McLennan on the Open Access Week ning site:

“Open Access” to information – the free, immediate, online access to the results of scholarly research, and the right to use and re-use those results as you need – has the power to transform the way research and scientific inquiry are conducted. It has direct and widespread implications for academia, medicine, science, industry, and for society as a whole. 

And from JISC who are working on an open bibliography project to unlock British Library data:

Opening the knowledge base to all means more researchers can build on it and there is less duplication of effort. Researchers can reach a greater audience and find that their work is more widely read and cited, institutions gain an enhanced reputation as their research becomes more visible, funding agencies see a greater return on their investment, and publishers find that the impact of their journals increases.

So for me it would be not buying journals but encouraging staff to put in funding bids to pay publishers to make articles open access or self publishing and/or placing articles in an institutional repository. My role would be to facilitate access to these resources but hopefully they would be a lot easier for people to find for themselves. Reading Peter Murray Rust and it becomes clear that open access journals and even data are just the tip of the ice-berg. Open Scholarship is open bibliography (opening up metadata) and the democratising of knowledge:

any kind of information – sonnets to statistics, genes to geodata – that can be freely used, reused, and redistributed (Open Knowledge Foundation)

The Open Knowledge Definition is a project that defines the principles that make knowledge open in relation to data and content and there is a separate one for software. Eleven principles to quibble…but as Peter Murray Rust says it’s asserting what should be in the public domain: facts not subjective analysis or creative opinion.

It’s good to know some libraries are engaging with this: the University of Sussex has a series of seminars for researchers and the LSE is highlighting it’s institutional repository and is awarding prizes to academics who have made a significant contribution to open access at the university.


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