"Open Access" refers to the principle of making things freely available online to everyone, everywhere, and also enabling others to re-use content through appropriate licensing.
What is Open Access?
There are several different "official" definitions of Open Access, representing slight variations in the nature of the Open Access movement between different parts of the world. The following are some key examples from the UK's perspective:
Finch Group. 2012. Accessibility, sustainability, excellence: how to expand access to research publications: report of the Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings. London: Research Information Network [online]. Available from: https://www.acu.ac.uk/research-information-network/finch-report-final [Accessed on 2016-10-12].
Research England. 2018. Open access research. Bristol: Research England [online]. Available from: https://re.ukri.org/research/open-access-research/ [Accessed on 2018-08-28].
SPARC. 2016. Open Access. Washington, DC: SPARC [online]. Available from: http://sparcopen.org/open-access/ [Accessed on 2016-10-12].
Importance of Open Access
Making your research open access can be very beneficial for society in general, because:
Making your research open access can be very beneficial for you as a researcher, because:
Making your research open access is now a compulsory part of certain funding grants and will also be a mandatory component of the next REF:
The Post-Embargo Open Access Citation Advantage - Article published in 2016 by PLOS ONE, discussing the citation benefits of open access publications
Making Your Research Open Access
For publications (like journal articles, conference papers, books and other published outputs), there are two "routes" to Open Access:
For other research outputs (like research data, exhibitions and theses), there is no "Gold" and "Green" - just Open Access! All that is required is the permission of whoever might claim copyright. OpenAIR is able to hold many different kinds of output, making them openly available online. As mentioned above, for more information about getting your research onto OpenAIR, see our guide. We also have an entire guide on managing and sharing research data.
Part of making your work open access will often involve making it available under an open license. There are various kinds of these, which enable other people to use and re-use your work in different ways. Some of the most well-known open licenses are Creative Commons. The following are some examples of commonly-encountered open licenses:
Finding and Using Open Access Resources
These are the products of academic research, and can be found most frequently in repositories and on publisher databases.
These are resources developed to help in instruction and teaching, and can be found in repositories of open educational resources (OER).
All sorts of things are openly accessible. Some examples of creative material that can be reused are artistic works, like photography, film and music.
YouTubeis a very well-known video and audio content hosting platform. A large amount of the media on YouTube is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license. You can filter search results by feature "Creative Commons" to limit your results only to those videos that are openly available for reuse. Any YouTube video associated with a Creative Commons license mentions this in the description under the video window:
SoundCloud is a music and audio content hosting platform, on which creators upload their works and make them freely accessible to the public. While a lot of the content is only for listening to and sharing, many items are made available under a more open Creative Commons license, which enables others to reuse and adapt the original work, sometimes even commercially. To filter results by Creative Commons licenses, select "Tracks" in the left-hand menu and then click the © symbol under "Filter results" to bring up a list of options. Content under a Creative Commons license will display this in the description:
Flickr is a photography and graphics sharing platform, with a large number of images being made available under open licenses. Results can be filtered by different kinds of license very easily and individual image pages display Creative Commons license icons, showing under what conditions the content can be used:
Open access resources can be used like any other kind of source material, though it's important to know what the restrictions are. These will be determined by the type of license and are often indicated with icons:
Open Access Week
International Open Access Week is a global event held to celebrate and promote the benefits of Open Access. It helps to raise awareness of what Open Access means, why it is important and how to engage with it. The first Open Access Week (originally just "Open Access Day") was held in 2007 in the USA and organised by SPARC. Since then, it has grown to be an entire week that is celebrated across the world. More information about the history and mission of Open Access Week is available from the SPARC and Open Access Week websites.
Open Access Week 2018 happened during the week of Monday 22nd to Sunday 28th October 2018. The official theme of the 2018 event was "Designing equitable foundations for open knowledge", which aimed to address barriers to engagement in Open Access, potential inequalities that might be made worse in an entirely "open" environment, and various communities and individuals that may be adversely impacted by a drive towards Open Access without due consideration of their needs.
RGU library staff planned a variety of things to help promote Open Access Week 2018:
We hosted a pop-up stand during lunchtime each day, at various places across campus. As well as providing an opportunity for staff and students to learn more about Open Access, there was also free food - because making things freely available is what Open Access is all about! Each session ran from 11:45 to 13:15 and the exact locations are listed below:
We hosted a series of workshops to explore different aspects of research - like Open Access, copyright, research data and impact - through a mixture of games and discussion. The workshops were intended for researchers and research students, and due to space and catering considerations required attendee registration:
|Monday 22nd October||10:00-11:00||Research Support Staff - The Impact Game||N243|
|14:00-16:00||PhD Students - The Publishing Trap (#1)||N346|
|Tuesday 23rd October||09:30-11:30||PhD Students - The Publishing Trap (#2)||H303|
|14:00-16:00||Researchers - The Publishing Trap||N336|
|Wednesday 24th October||-||[No sessions]||-|
|Thursday 25th October||09:30-11:30||Researchers - The Impact Game (#1 and #2)||H303|
|Friday 26th October||10:00-11:00||Researchers - The Impact Game (#3)||N336|
|14:00-16:00||PhD Students - The Publishing Trap (#3)||H303|