Open Access Week 2011

International Open Access Week, from October 24th through the 31st, is an important week of action for students around the world to come together and push to create real change – by starting conversations, educating peers, lobbying administrators, and more. Students have become a leading force in advancing Open Access, and Open Access Week is a important opportunity to showcase that work and continue pressing forward.

We’re going to make this year bigger than ever, and we need your help. So, what can you do? The most important thing is simply to participate, whether it’s by hosting a viewing party for one of our webcasts, writing an opinion piece for your campus newspaper, or sharing our Facebook and Twitter pages with your friends so they can get involved and stay up to date.

To help you get started, we’ve created this guide with ideas for how you can get involved and make a difference during the week. Take a look, and plan to join the other students around the world engaging thousands (tens of thousands? millions?) on their campuses and in their organizations. Together, we’ll make this the biggest Open Access Week yet!


Get connected

Go to, set up a profile, and join the Student Open Access Week Organizers group. The site will connect you with hundreds of others who are planning events for the week, and the student organizers’ group will be a discussion forum where you can get help, ask questions, and post the details of what you’re planning for the week.

Be sure to let us know what you do during the week by posting on the Open Access Week website or sending an email with details to contact [at] righttoresearch [dot] org. In November, we’ll post a summary of students’ impact during the week, and we don’t want to leave anyone out – even if it’s just sending us a link to an opinion article you wrote.

Spread the word

• Like the Right to Research Coalition on Facebook and follow us on Twitter (@R2RC), then urge your friends to get connected with us by posting a link to our website and why Open Access matters to you. If you tweet, be sure to use the hashtag #OAWeek.

• Contact your local or campus newspaper to pitch a story on Open Access or offer to write an opinion piece to run during the week. A guide to writing an Open Access opinion article is coming soon!

• If you’re in a student organization or on your student government, include information on Open Access in your newsletters around Open Access Week.

• Translate! Our resources are created in English, but we’re working with students to translate them into a number of different languages. If you’re interested in helping to translate our resources, email nick [at] arl [dot] org to get connected with our translation effort.

Host an event or webcast viewing party

One of the highest impact ways students participate in Open Access Week is by organizing an event on campus to educate students (and faculty) about Open Access and why it’s important. Last year, students put together panels on a number of different campuses that included local experts from the faculty and library. Many students are already planning panels for this year, and to make holding an event easier, we’re hosting 2 live webcasts that you can feature in your program instead of putting together a whole panel.

The first webcast will be broadcast at 8:00pm EDT (12:00am GMT) on October 24th, and the second webcast will be broadcast at 12:00pm EDT (4:00pm GMT) on October 26th. More details on the webcasts will be announced shortly, including information on how to register.

Even if you can’t organize an event, plan to join us for one or both of the webcasts. We’ll have leading figures from the Open Access movement talking directly to students about the impact of Open Access to research and the crucial role of students in making Open Access a reality on their campuses, in their fields of study, and as the new default mode of communication.

If you do plan an event, make sure you reach out to your campus librarians as quickly as possible. They’ll be a great resource to help you plan, to get you connected with Open Access champions on your campus, and may be able to help cover potential costs of an event.


Raise visibility on campus

• Post Open Access flyers and posters in high-traffic areas of your campus.

• Dress up prominent statues on campus in Open Access swag, like George Mason University did last year. You can order Open Access swag in the SPARC store.

• Overprice tags: Pull print copies of some of the most expensive journals in your library and label each with its own price tag, then display the journals in highly trafficked areas of your library. You can find more information on how to create overprice tags here.

• Set up a projector in a high traffic area of campus and play short videos about Open Access, such as the intro animation of our website which can find on Vimeo here. Other options would be Open Access 101 or one of the many videos from the SPARC Voice of Open Access series.  Or you could even project one of our Open Access Week webcasts live for students to watch as they walk by.  

• Work with your librarians to put up a message about Open Access Week on the computers and information screens around your library.

• Post a large piece of paper and invite students to write down their frustrations in accessing research.

• Set up a table with a laptop and ask students to endorse our Individual Statement on the Right to Research.

• Use sidewalk chalk to write messages about Open Access or your institutional repository like the students at Oregon State University.

Take action

• Use Open Access Week to kick off a campaign for your university to adopt an openaccess policy requiring research on your campus to be made openly available. Use the work being done by students at the University of British Columbia as a model. Also, be on the look out this Winter for many more resources from the Right to Research Coalition to help you promote an openaccess policy on your campus.

• Use Open Access Week to bring the issue of Open Access and the Right to Research Coalition to the attention of your local, national, or international student organization, then encourage them to join the coalition and become active in educating members about Open Access and advocating for policies that open up access to research.

Pick an idea, and start planning!

Whatever it is, plan to participate in Open Access Week in some way. To make this year the biggest yet, each person’s participation is important, so start planning now to join the thousands of others making a difference during the week. Get connected through the Open Access Week student organizers’ page, and make sure you let us know what you’re doing so we can share it with everyone else (especially if you have pictures!).

Stay tuned for more additions, and we’ll post the final webcast programs and details on how to register for each shortly.  To make sure you’re updated on our Open Access Week announcements as they happen, fill in the form below with your email address.