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Open Access Week 2013: A Recap of This Year’s Global Celebration
Posted On October 31, 2013
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This year’s Open Access Week, a global event that just finished its sixth year, was held Oct. 21–27, 2013. Celebrations of various types were sponsored by libraries, students, researchers, publishers, and nonprofit organizations to increase awareness about open access (OA). The Open Access Week website notes that the week is designed to provide “an opportunity for the academic and research community to continue to learn about the potential 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.”

On Monday, Oct. 21, SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) and The World Bank Group kicked off the week with a two-part event to “explore the nature of impact” and award “innovative use of open content.” The first part of the event included a 60-minute panel discussion hosted by Heather Joseph, executive director of SPARC. The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), article-level metrics, OA at the federal level within the United States, and OA to support the humanities were among the topics discussed.

The second half of the SPARC/World Bank event was dedicated to honoring the first recipients of the Accelerating Science Award Program (ASAP). The recipients are as follows:

  • Matthew Todd, who leads the Open Source Malaria Consortium in Sydney: The ASAP website describes Todd’s work: “Todd turned publicly available data into a global effort to help identify new anti-malaria drugs. He did this by creating an open-source collaborative involving scientists, college students and others from around the world. They use open online laboratory notebooks in which their experimental data is posted each day, enabling instant sharing and the ability to build on others’ findings in almost real time.”
  • Nitka Pant Pai and colleagues from a group based in Montreal, who devised an HIV self-test: The team of researchers “developed a strategy based on the synergy of the Internet, an oral fluid–based self-test and a cell phone. This integrated approach included HIV education, an online test to determine HIV risk level, instructions for testing and interpreting the results, and confidential resources for referrals to trained counselors, support and healthcare workers. The tailored smartphone application, developed on the basis of original research published in multiple Open Access journals, helps circumvent the social visibility of testing in a healthcare facility. The application could alleviate fears of stigma and discrimination and make HIV detection simple and confidential.”
  • Daniel Mietchen, researcher at the Museum for Natural History in Berlin; Raphael Wimmer, a researcher at the University of Regensburg; and Nils Dagsson Moskopp, a student at Humboldt University: The team developed “the Open Access Media Importer (OAMI), a bot that can scrape and download supplementary multimedia files from Open Access science articles, repositories and data stores. The bot has uploaded more than 13,000 files to Wikimedia Commons and has been used in more than 135 English Wikipedia articles that together garnered more than three million views.”

The recorded webcast of the event is available for viewing from the World Bank website.

Also on Monday, Peter Suber, OA advocate and director of the Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication, published a highly shared article in The Guardian, “Open Access: Six Myths Put to Rest.” His article deconstructs six of the “most common and harmful misunderstandings about open access.” The article is a must-read for all working in open access and particularly for those who often encounter researchers’ objections to OA.

On Tuesday, the Right to Research Coalition (R2RC) hosted a live webcast discussion with Juan Pablo Alperin, “a PhD candidate at the Stanford School of Education who spearheaded a successful campaign to pass the first open access policy specifically for graduate students,” according to the R2RC blog. Slides from Alperin’s presentation, How to Pass a Student Open Access Policy, are available to view. Alperin covered issues that often come up at institutions considering OA mandates, regardless of whether they are driven by students, faculty, or the administration, i.e., the differences between mandates and policies and the process of working through academic institutions’ governing bodies.

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Abby Clobridge is the founder of and principal consultant at FireOak Strategies (formerly Clobridge Consulting), a boutique firm specializing in knowledge management, information management, and open knowledge (open access, open data, open education). Abby has worked with a wide range of organizations throughout the world, including various United Nations agencies; private sector companies; colleges and research universities; nonprofit, intergovernmental, and multi-stakeholder organizations; and the news media. She can be found on Twitter (@aclobridge).

Email Abby Clobridge

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