Today marks the start of Open Access Week 2010, as thousands of scholars, faculty, and students in nearly 90 countries worldwide participate in events to raise awareness and advance understanding of the benefits of Open Access (OA). The week features the voices of top researchers who have stepped forward with first-hand accounts of how Open Access to research has positively impacted them and their ability to do their work. In opening remarks today, OA Week organizers note:
"The exciting opportunity we have with this year's Open Access Week stems from the fact that Open Access is mature enough that good examples now exist of what you can do as a scholar in an open-access enabled world that you simply can't do in a closed environment."
With these words, Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition and organizer of OA Week), tees up the official 2010 Open Access Week Online Kick-off Event. Leading the event is pioneering Open Access advocate Dr. Harold Varmus, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist who currently directs the U.S. National Cancer Institute. Varmus is joined by Dr. Cameron Neylon, a biophysicist and open research advocate; Dr. Mona Nemer, professor and vice-president for research at the University of Ottawa; Dr. Roger Wakimoto, Director of the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research; and a host of other leading researchers from around the globe. This recorded event can be viewed online at http://www.vimeo.com/15881200 by anyone, in any time zone, on any day during OA Week.
Presenters paint a clear picture of how Open Access has contributed to changing the research landscape and point to opportunities that lay ahead. Dr. Varmus describes Open Access as an "incredibly important development in the history of science," and adds:
"Open access publishing… establishes the framework in which a much wider repertoire of adventures can take place… All of these adventures are tremendously exciting because they markedly enrich the experience of being a scientist, of reading the work of others, and of exchanging views with others in the scientific community."
Dr. Neylon notes how popular news stories now highlight a growing amount of research published in open-access journals, which make that material directly available to people who want to dig deeper:
"We've made more of this available to people, to form their own opinions, but at the same time they're now going to expect to be able to contribute back, to be able to bring their expertise to the research process."
He suggests that continuing to reach a wider community, but also "really engaging" with them, should be the focus of Open Access advocates in the coming years.
Dr. Arianna Betti, professor of philosophy at VU University Amsterdam, describes the open-access Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and its rapid entry update process: "This model increases collaboration, puts collective intelligence at work, and speeds up research."
The Kick-Off Event, along with the voices of a large international host of researchers, will be highlighted in Open Access Week programs everywhere and is now available through the Open Access Week Web site at www.openaccessweek.org/video.
A global event now entering its fourth year, Open Access Week (October 18 to 24) is an opportunity for the academic and research community to learn about the potential benefits of Open Access (OA), to share ideas with colleagues, and to inspire wider participation in establishing Open Access as a new norm in scholarship and research. Research funding agencies, academic institutions, research organizations, non-profits, businesses, and others use as a valuable platform to launch expanded open-access publication funds, institution-wide open-access policies, and new reports on the societal and economic benefits of OA.