Open Access Week
Organizers get ready to speak to students and researchers at Open Access Week in Estonia Photo credit: Henri Kirs/Tartu Ülikool

Every year, libraries around the world advocate for change by taking part in International Open Access (OA) Week, a global event established by SPARC and partners in the student community in 2008, which is an opportunity to take action in making openness the default for research — to raise the visibility of scholarship, accelerate research, and turn breakthroughs into better lives.  

Universities, colleges, research institutes, funding agencies, libraries, and think tanks have all used OA Week as a platform to host faculty votes on campus OA policies, to present on the social and economic benefits of OA, to commit new funds in support of OA publication, and more.

The theme for this year’s 11th International Open Access Week, to be held October 22-28, will be “Designing Equitable Foundations for Open Knowledge”.

This year’s theme reflects a scholarly system in transition. While governments, funders, universities, publishers, and scholars are increasingly adopting open policies and practices, how these are actually implemented is still in flux. As open becomes the default, all stakeholders must be intentional about designing these new, open systems to ensure that they are inclusive, equitable, and truly serve the needs of a diverse global community. This year’s Open Access Week invites all interested stakeholders to participate in advancing this important work.

Setting the default to open is an essential step toward making our system for producing and distributing knowledge more inclusive, but it also comes with new challenges to be addressed. How do we ensure sustainability models used for open access are not exclusionary? What are inequities that open systems can recreate or reinforce? Whose voices are prioritized? Who is excluded? How does what counts as scholarship perpetuate bias? What are areas where openness might not be appropriate?

These are not questions with easy answers. Rather, they are prompts for ongoing conversations that can help ensure that the foundation for a more equitable system of open research and scholarship is created thoughtfully and collaboratively. This year’s theme highlights the importance of asking the tough questions, staying critical, and actively engaging in an ongoing conversation to learn from diverse perspectives about how to make scholarship more equitable and inclusive as it becomes more open.

International Open Access Week is a global, community-driven week of action to open up access to research. The event is celebrated by individuals, institutions and organizations across the world. The official hashtag of Open Access Week is #OAweek. 

The EIFL Open Access programme encourages libraries across the EIFL network to take part in OA Week, and helps them prepare for this exciting global event.

For me, open access means providing an enabling environment for research to take place anywhere in the world without any barriers to scholarly information.

- Gloria Kadyamatimba, University Librarian at Chinhoyi University of Technology

FACTS

1

EIFL partner countries host advocacy and awareness-raising workshops during Open Access Week.

2

Open Access Week is organized by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) with advice from programme advisors. Open Access Programme Manager Iryna Kuchma is a member of the OA Week programme committee.