21 – 27 October: 2019 International Open Access Week

This week is International Open Access Week, a global event now in its tenth year, aimed at raising awareness and community-driven action to open up access to research.

THIS YEAR’S THEME

This year the theme for Open Access Week is “Open for Whom? Equity in Open Knowledge” and asks that the movement stops to consider whose interests are being prioritised in the actions taken in the move towards Open Access, and in the platforms we support.  Are there voices being ignored, and are underrepresented groups being adequately included as equitable partners?  These are important questions that will determine the extent to which emerging open systems for research will address inequities in the current system or replicate and reinforce them.

WHY IS OPEN ACCESS SO IMPORTANT?

The key imperative of Open Access is to make sure that anyone who needs access to any type of research, can access it.  Price barriers, such as the exorbitant and ever increasing subscription fees charged by scholarly publishers to allow full access to research publications and data, should not prevent anyone from getting access to the research that they need.  However, outside of universities (whose libraries are beholden to pay the subscription fees) gaining online access to published research legally is neither easy or affordable.

Open Access has huge implications for our global community, as we all benefit from the spread of knowledge and the opportunity for future knowledge to then be built upon it.  Consider the global community of students, researchers, developing countries, doctors, patients, entrepreneurs, science enthusiasts, media fact checkers, and other interested persons – the wider the dissemination of knowledge, the more positive benefits flow through our societies.  

There is also an argument that as most research is publicly funded, the public has a right to access the products and data that stems from that research.

Open Access does not just relate to publications or research outputs.  For example, access to the underlying data behind the research, allows for reproducibility and transparency and gives us more confidence that we can trust the research outcomes.  Open Access also allows that researchers determine the future reuse rights of their information and data, receive author attribution rights, and provides permanent archiving.

For researchers, Open Access leads to increased dissemination and downloads of their work which in turn leads to greater citations.

Furthermore, it is increasingly becoming mandatory with Australia’s two major research funders now requiring that research outputs from projects they have funded be made freely available.  

WHO DO I TALK TO?

To learn more about Open Access, and the ways in which the Library supports Western researchers to publish Open Access please contact your School Librarian or email the Research Services Team: Lib-Research@WesternSydney.edu.au