This coming Monday is the start of Open Access Week, with the theme this year being: ‘Open with Purpose: Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and Inclusion.’ This topic prompts us to consider how open research can bring knowledge to a global audience and help address structural inequalities.
By providing free access to research publications and data, we can break down barriers and have truly inclusive conversations, reaching people around the world, including those not supported by well-resourced institutions.
Open access publishing also creates opportunities to promote diverse voices, including the work of Indigenous researchers, LGBTQI+ authors and others who have often found themselves excluded from traditional publishing models.
Open access webinars
Deakin Library is running a series of staff webinars for Open Access Week 2020. Four sessions will focus on the aspects of open access most relevant to each Deakin faculty, exploring opportunities and pathways to open access in the respective disciplines:
- Open access in Arts and Education (Monday 19 October, 2–3pm)
- Open access in Business and Law (Tuesday 20 October, 2–3pm)
- Open access in Science, Engineering and the Built Environment (Wednesday 21 October, 2–3pm)
- Open access in Health (Thursday 22 October, 2–3pm)
These sessions are primarily for Deakin researchers, although they are open to any Deakin staff with an interest in the topic. Each will comprise a 40-minute talk, followed by an open discussion.
Two further sessions for Deakin researchers will focus on different aspects of open access:
- Creative Commons and open publishing (Thursday 22 October ,11–11.45am)
- Using Elements for free open access in DRO (Thursday 22 October, 3–3.30pm)
Each of these sessions will include time at the end for questions and further engagement.
The Australasian Open Access Strategy Group (AOASG) has also organised a series of thought-provoking webinars. Topics include:
- open and FAIR research practices
- Indigenous voices and open access
- open access and accessibility
- copyright and Creative Commons licensing
- open access and the COVID-19 pandemic.
You can find out more and register for the sessions on the AOASG website.
Open Access and COVID-19
At a time when researchers, policy makers, journalists and other people around the world have turned their attention to COVID-19 and its effects, the value of open access research has never been clearer.
As Prof. Virginia Barbour and Martin Borchert observe, the rapid progress of our medical understanding of COVID-19 has been made possible by a global commitment to open science. Researchers have been making their preliminary papers (preprints) open access, as well as their research data. Publishers, in turn, have been making peer-reviewed research on COVID-19 open access without delay. This has served to guide global responses to the pandemic and develop new treatments.
Our current situation demonstrates the enormous value of open access research. But imagine if this approach to open access spread beyond the immediate COVID-19 crisis to become the norm across all areas of research.
Imagine how quickly progress could be made on other diseases and public health issues, and what other problems could be solved. Not just in the field of medicine, either, but to address challenges such as climate change and bushfire response, developing sustainable and ethical technologies, strengthening democracy, and addressing social and economic inequalities.
Let’s hope that seeing the benefits of open research further strengthens the ever-growing open access movement.
Explore Deakin’s Open Access Resource Guide
To find out more about accessing open access resources, or making your own research openly accessible, visit Deakin’s Open Access Resource Guide.
You can also explore the vast trove of open access research created at Deakin through Deakin Research Online (DRO). More than 25% of the records in DRO are now open access, meaning 27,000+ publications are freely available to anyone in the world.
Zachary Kendal, Research Repository Open Access Coordinator