April’s OpenCon Community Call once again saw a good mix of OpenCon 2014 alumni and new voices looking to learn more about Open Access.
Nick Shockey, Director of the Right to Research Coalition and SPARC’s Director of Programs and Engagement, updated us on OpenCon 2015, which will open for applications on June 1st. It was also exciting to hear that so many institutions, including the University of North Carolina and Dartmouth, are committing to developing institutional Open Access policies. We heard from another OpenCon caller that they had struggled working to pass an institutional policy, so this was a great opportunity to get advice for how to advance discussion around the policy.
We went on to hear about Paperity, which was developed by an OpenCon alumnus. Paperity aggregates and provides links to Open Access journals and papers in one directory. Despite being only six months old, it already has approximately 10,000 users, and their current index of around 750,000 articles is growing all the time. Another new platform, Dissem.in, seeks to make it easier for researchers to establish how Open their articles are, and learn to make them more open. A common challenge identified was how to help to devise Open Access policies when advocates are invited to do so at their institution or funding organization. Supporting each other in devising Open Access policies is just one way we can work efficiently as a community and overcome obstacles more efficiently.
We also heard from a junior doctor who, until recently, was volunteering with the Kings Sierra Leone Partnership (KSLP) as part of the Ebola crisis response. The Ebola epidemic in many ways exemplifies why Open Access is so important, and yet it remains unclear how the vast wealth of research that the crisis has generated can be disseminated openly. Many journals offer fee waivers to authors from low-income countries, but this becomes complicated by multi-author papers. A key action point from this discussion was to generate a resource outlining which publishers offer fee waivers.
It was also great to get feedback from recent conferences of interest to the open community. The Centre for Research Intelligence Leadership Programme in Paris provided opportunities to discuss how to increase communication about Open Access between different stakeholders, and how we can instill healthy research practices from as early as childhood – we need to make open the status quo! Building on this, the Sage Bionetworks Paris Assembly explored how to use research and education to create social impact. A key message was focusing on the end user of research outputs – i.e. the general public. This not only means making our research open, but finding ways to make it more accessible and user friendly, such as developing online tools. Finally, the Academic Research Communication and Scholarship (ARCS) conference in Philadelphia, which was both coordinated and attended by OpenCon alumni, also focused on communication of scholarly articles and how this can be done sustainably.
Phew, it’s a lot to squeeze into an hour! But hopefully OpenCon callers leave reinvigorated and inspired by what is being achieved by their peers in all corners of the globe. We welcome you to join our Community and join the conversation, details can be found at opencon2015.org/community/calls – we’ll see you there!
If you want to find the full minutes from this month’s OpenCon Community Call they can be found here. But at a glance, here are a few of the actions from the call:
- Collate slides from existing resources, which can be used by Community when giving talks?
- Contact Fulbright Scholars about developing an Open Access policy - please let Karin (karinpurshouse[at]googlemail[dot]com) know if you have friends or contacts!
- Develop a document listing journals/publishers with fee waivers. D/w DOAJ. Could build on http://cofactorscience.com/journal-selector. (Liaise with Graham Steel who has links with both).
If you want to discuss these, please use the comments!
Finally, we tested recording the calls, let us know what you think!
This article, and the community call recording reflects the views of the author/participants(s) and not necessarily those of the Right to Research Coalition or SPARC.