Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Open Access Week: Learn. Share. Advance.

Open Access (OA) Week (October 22-28, 2012) is a global event now entering its sixth yearIt is an opportunity for the academic and research communities to 1) learn--or continue to learn--about the benefits of Open Access; 2) share that knowledge with colleagues; and 3) help inspire wider participation in Open Access--all toward the goals of appreciating OA as an advance in scholarship and research and adopting it as a new norm.

The following is adapted from
A Very Brief Introduction to Open Access by Peter Suber and is the first in a series of posts this blog will feature in conjunction with Open Access Week.

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.  OA is entirely compatible with peer review, and all the major OA initiatives for scientific and scholarly literature insist on its importance.  Just as authors of journal articles donate their labor, so do most journal editors and referees participating in peer review.  OA literature is not free to produce, even if it is less expensive to produce than conventionally-published literature. Free access is usually possible because authors self-archive their scholarly material or provide access to it through an institutional repository. Some high-impact journals such as the Public Library of Science titles (e.g., PLoS Biology and PloS Medicine) provide articles free of charge while others (such as Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America) offer articles free of charge after a 6-month embargo period.  The question is not whether scholarly literature can be made costless, but whether there are better ways to pay the bills than charging readers and creating access barriers.
What are the benefits of Open Access?  OA has the potential to maximize research investments; increase the exposure and use of published research; facilitate the ability to conduct research across available literature; and enhance the overall advancement of scholarship.

Research funding agencies, academic institutions, researchers and scientists, teachers, students and members of the general public are supporting a move towards OA in increasing numbers every year. Open Access Week is a key opportunity for members of the academic community to educate themselves about OA and to take action to keep the Open Access momentum moving forward.

Stay tuned.

~Suzanne Sweeney

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