2021 Open Access Week Highlights Individual and Collective Action Needed to Achieve Equity – SPARC

“From blog posts to podcasts and panel discussions, people around the world were inspired during International Open Access Week 2021 to reflect on efforts to build structural equity into the knowledge production process. There were notable announcements and reports released that signal a deepening commitment to open and understanding of the need for practices to be designed with diverse community voices….

The International Science Council (ISC) voted to endorse eight fundamental principles for efficient and effective scientific publishing systems with focus on equity, inclusion, transparency, and reuse of research. The principles include universal open access to the record of science and its preservation for future generations, better exploitation of the tools of the digital revolution, reform of peer review systems, and accountability of publishing systems to the scientific community and its institutions. The endorsement  indicates growing support from the international disciplinary unions and associations, national academies and regional scientific bodies that make up the ISC’s membership.

The European Federation of Academics of Sciences and Humanities (ALLEA) released a Statement on Equity in Open Access that addresses how APC-based open access publishing actually contributes to establishing inequitable structures within academic research. The authors suggest alternative models and emphasize the need for resources and infrastructure to provide a global solution to open access across all disciplines. In its release, the federation cites this year’s theme of OA Week and UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science.

SPARC’s own Heather Joseph and Nick Shockey contributed to a report released by the United Nations on the need to apply open practices to address environmental threats. “Open Science for Climate Action,” takes lessons from transparent communication of science during the COVID-19 pandemic and underscores the value of better communication of science to accelerate solutions.

The University of Cape Town revised its Open Access Policy adding an explicit commitment to social justice, diamond OA and library publishing.

Harvard University expanded its recognition of OA Week to establish OA Month from Oct. 25 through November 19. The campus will offer live and virtual events that encourage community engagement with an emphasis on equity at the foundation of its work.

In an effort to build systemic equity and include traditionally marginalized voices, the Open Research Funders Group (ORFG) reached out for feedback on its new Open & Equitable Model Funding Program. In its OA Week Reflection & Call for Participation, ORFG invited people to fill out an open and public survey about the intersection of open and equity to inform its work moving forward. (The survey remains open for those who wish to participate.)

In related news, PREreview announced it will partner with ORFG and Health Research Alliance (HRA) to develop Open Grant Reviewers, a mentoring and training program for early career grant reviewers founded on principles of equity, openness, and social justice. For more, see Beyond manuscript peer review. …”

Open access: Promoting right and accessible knowledge

“IITA joined the international community to celebrate Open Access Week from 25 to 29 October, as the Institute keeps promoting the global mission of openness. The theme of the week-long event was “It matters how we open knowledge: Building structural equity.” 

The Data Management Unit (DMU) embarked on an awareness campaign, with scientists sharing their opinions about open access throughout the week. The DMU also organized a webinar to share knowledge on the importance of open access and how to achieve it. Olayemi Oluwasoga, Open Access/Open Data Administrator, moderated the webinar….”

University of Helsinki gives recognition to promoters of open and reusable research data | University of Helsinki

“The annual University of Helsinki Open Science Award is granted in recognition of exceptional work in promoting open science. The theme of the 2021 Open Science Award is accessibility and reusability of research data. The goal of this year’s award is to highlight the importance of accessible and reusable research data to science and to the academic community.

Nominations were requested from University units, and from the University community via the Flamma intranet. For the award, nominations were sought of research projects or research infrastructures that have significantly promoted the accessibility and reusability of research data in their own field.

The nominations were assessed by the award jury that consisted of Vice-Rector Paula Eerola, University Librarian Kimmo Tuominen, IT Manager Minna Harjuniemi, Director of the Finnish Museum of Natural History Aino Juslén, and Senior Advisors Tiina Käkelä and Marko Peura.

The jury decided to grant the award to two nominees, who both represent long-term grassroots work in enabling and promoting the use of valuable research data. The award was given to the Language Bank of Finland, and especially its Donate Speech data, and to research coordinator Kati Lassila-Perini’s work in utilising the open data of particle physics in research and education.  …”

International Open Access Week and JACS Au | JACS Au

“As JACS Au publishes its 10th issue of its inaugural year during International Open Access Week—October 25–31, 2021—we can reflect on the role of the journal in the broader open access (OA) publishing landscape.

The role of JACS Au within the ACS Publications Gold OA portfolio is to provide a highly selective venue that covers the full breadth of topics encompassed by the array of 75+ ACS journals. In further defining our targeted portion of this broad scope, we seek to publish manuscripts representing the top 5–10% of publications appearing in ACS specialty journals. (1) Building on three core elements of all ACS publications—speed, rigor, and impact—we have created a unique, high impact OA journal. Whereas the time from paper submission to publication on the web often stretches to 20–30 weeks in high impact OA journals at other publishers, JACS Au offers the characteristic speed and efficiency of ACS Publications. (1) The combination of rapid peer review and publication with OA ensures JACS Au authors benefit from maximum accessibility and availability.

As we seek to become a leading OA journal in the chemical sciences, we embrace this year’s theme for Open Access Week: “It Matters How We Open Knowledge: Building Structural Equity”. This theme articulates the importance of equity in pursuing a future for scholarship of all types that is open by default, including scientific publishing. OA publishing allows for equitable participation for all producers and consumers of knowledge and helps ensure equal access among researchers from developed and developing countries….”

Huge engagement for Open Access Week 2021 | Open Access Australasia

“With the COVID 19 pandemic continuing to push a global focus on Open Science, this year’s Open Access week was more important for advocacy than ever before. The international theme of building structural equity could not have been more appropriate and was the most common recurring answer to the question of what needs to be considered in order to sustain & fund  an open ecosystem for the future.

We were thrilled with the line up of fascinating presentations and thoughtful panel discussions we brought together under the able leadership of La Trobe’s Dr Thomas Shafee who steered our Open Access Week organising group. ”

Open Access Week 2021 – YouTube

OA week 2021 Event ( at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India) Video on Youtube.

 Speakers:

1)    Prof. Padmanabhan Balaram (on Arunachalam’s work on Scientometrics and OA) 

2)    Ms. Heather Joseph, Executive Director of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) ( on “It Matters How We Open Knowledge: Building Structural Equity.” ) 

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3)    Prof. Leslie Chan, University of Toronto at Scarborough  (on “It Matters How We Open Knowledge: Building Structural Equity.”  )

In Practice: An Interview with Colleen Lyon (University of Texas at Austin) · In Practice: Interviews with Practitioners of Open

“In this interview, Colleen Lyon, who is Head of Scholarly Communications at the University of Texas at Austin, talks with Colleen Cressman about her department’s efforts to make sharing research easier—from providing tools, such as Texas ScholarWorks and the Texas Data Repository, to offering classroom instruction, consultations, workshops, and learning communities. She also talks about the university’s focus on open practices with the Provost’s Sustainable Open Scholarship (SOS) Working Group and the ways she and her department have been able to “support open publishing initiatives that promise to be more financially sustainable over the long-term,” including a new arXiv overlay journal, Ars Inveniendi Analytica….”

If It’s Open, Is It Accessible? – Association of Research Libraries

“The library and open access (OA) publishing communities have made great strides in making more new scholarship openly available. But have we included readers with vision challenges in our OA plans? Only an estimated 7% of all printed works are available in accessible format, and that statistic might not significantly differ for digital scholarship worldwide….

Libraries need to consider accessibility of the document format, as well as accessibility of the tools and platforms they typically use for OA journal and monograph publishing, storage, and access. According to a blog post by the UX designer for the Directory of Open Access Journals last year, testing of a platform’s web interface can be done easily through free tools such as Lighthouse and Accessibility Insights for Web, both available as web browser extensions, which test accessibility against the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 AA.

Earlier this year, the Open Journal Systems (OJS) team at the Public Knowledge Project noted the strides that their Accessibility Interest Group team has made to improve the accessibility of OJS 3.3. Next up, they will be working on a guide to help journal editors create more accessible content within OJS.

 

This leads to the question of the format of open content. Adobe’s Portable Document Format (PDF), ubiquitous and a de facto standard for digital publishing, is typically not the best format for accessibility. Certainly, PDFs can be made WCAG-compliant, but one must make careful efforts to do so….”

Regional and international experts come together to discuss open access research in MENA | ZAWYA MENA Edition

“International research and education leaders will come together today to discuss the accessibility and visibility of research in the MENA region.  

The free symposium Towards a more knowledgeable world: Open Access research in MENAis being held during the annual global Open Access week. It will consist of a series of talks by leading regional stakeholders and global organisations about the implementation and benefits of open research practices.  …”

Working Towards Equitable Open Access | Public Knowledge Project

“As part of Open Access Week, Érudit and the Public Knowledge Project (PKP) would like to underline the value of equity in the transition to open access in Canada and around the world. The theme of this year’s International Open Access Week is “It Matters How We Open Knowledge: Building Structural Equity“.

Érudit and PKP have strengthened their collaboration since 2017 by establishing Coalition Publica, a partnership that aims to develop an open, non-commercial Canadian infrastructure dedicated to research, dissemination and digital scholarly publishing. By bringing together the communities of Érudit and PKP, Coalition Publica reaches several million people each year, whether they are researchers, professors, students or professionals. These users have a wide range of needs and profiles. 

Equity and diversity is one of Coalition Publica’s four core values, as outlined in the partnership’s strategic plan. For us, equity and diversity includes learning from and being strengthened by diverse perspectives and experiences; equitable access and participation in all of our activities including software development and project governance; and recognizing the importance of bilingualism as well as Canada’s diverse regions and Indigenous cultures….”

The Internet Archive Transforms Access to Books in a Digital World

“In honor of Open Access Week, and particularly this year’s theme of structural equity, we wanted to highlight a project from the Internet Archive that is doing extraordinary work promoting access to knowledge. The bad news: that project is also under legal threat. The good news: the Archive, with help from EFF and Durie Tangri, is fighting back….

CDL allows people to check out digital copies of books for two weeks or less, and only permits patrons to check out as many digital copies as the Archive and its partner libraries physically own. Lending happens on an “own to loan” basis—if a digital copy is checked out to a patron, the physical copy is unavailable to other patrons as well. CDL does use DRM to enforce that limited access, but it is still true that anyone with an Internet connection can read digital versions of the great works of human history….”

 

How We Open Knowledge: Scholastica users share their stories

“In the progression of the Open Access (OA) movement, it’s become resoundingly apparent that true accessibility isn’t just about making research free to read but also making publishing practices more equitable. If we are to realize the Budapest Open Access Initiative’s vision to “lay the foundation for uniting humanity in a common intellectual conversation and quest for knowledge,” all stakeholders must have an opportunity to contribute to OA models, not just those historically in positions of power.

The theme for this year’s OA Week (October 25-31), “It Matters How We Open Knowledge: Building Structural Equity,” invites the academic community to weigh the current state of OA and what’s needed to promote greater Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) throughout the research ecosystem. At Scholastica, we were particularly drawn to the phrase “how we open knowledge” as a means to elicit discourse and, more importantly, action around the various ways scholarly organizations of all sizes are and can develop more equitable OA journal models. We’re proud to work with so many scholarly societies, academic institutions, and scholar-led non-profits publishing path-breaking OA journals committed to not only opening access to research but also lowering the cost of knowledge production. In honor of OA Week, we decided to reach out to some of those journal teams to ask them to share their take on the prompt “how we open knowledge.”

Throughout OA Week, we’ll be posting a series of interviews with Scholastica users on how they’re factoring structural equity into OA publication planning and advice for scholarly organizations looking to launch fully-OA journals….”