International Open Access Week 2020: Open With a Purpose

Open Access Week 2020 October 19-25 Established by SPARC and partners in the student community in 2008, 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. Each year, the ASU Library takes this opportunity to promote Open Access activities and initiatives and have fun while we’re at it. 

Open access means providing unrestricted access and re-use to scholarly research and has the potential to transform traditional publishing models and how people connect with information.

This year’s theme, “Open With a Purpose: Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and Inclusion” is an invitation to examine the publishing ecosystem, both traditional scholarly publishing, and newer open access models, and recognize that our systems and practices are built upon legacies of historic injustice. We acknowledge that many of the ways we communicate scholarship and research perpetuate inequities of participation and access and continue to dismiss historically marginalized ways of knowledge construction. Many of these systems are financial, such as ever-increasing subscription costs for journals and an emphasis on article processing charges to sustain open access publishers, which means only those who can pay can participate in the scholarly conversation. And some of these systems are reputational, such as continued reliance on journal impact metrics in promotion and tenure processes despite institutional values for public engagement, which disadvantage new and innovative modes of scholarship, non-English language journals, and research involving or with underrepresented communities and voices.

At Arizona State University, our commitment to open access aligns with our charter to define success by “whom we include and how they succeed.” We have made some significant steps forward though passing an Open Access Policy in 2017, establishing a repository to share and preserve ASU scholarship, and improving support for data management and access. ASU Library provides discounts to ASU authors for some open access publishing charges and contributes to the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), the most comprehensive and authoritative index of open access journals. 

But there are many more actions we can take as individual scholars to not only improve access to scholarly research but also to make research and scholarship more inclusive. Here are a few suggestions to consider:

  1. Learn more about the economics and business models of scholarly publishing by watching the documentary Paywall: The Business of Scholarship.

  2. Start to notice gaps in representation in your field. For example, consider the last article you published and review the authors you cited. How many are women or people of color?

  3. Consider posting your articles in the ASU KEEP repository or a disciplinary repository of your choice to expand the reach and impact of your work. Most journal publication agreements allow authors to self-archive a version of their article.

  4. Sign the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) and commit to not using journal-based metrics in evaluation.

And stay tuned all week to learn more about open access and taking action to build structural equity and inclusion in research and scholarship!

Anali Maughan Perry, Head, Learning Services Division and Scholarly Communication Librarian Anali Perry


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