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Celebrating Open Access Week: Research Should Be Free, Available, and Open

DEEPLINKS BLOG
October 20, 2014

Welcome to the eighth annual Open Access Week! We're joining an international community—researchers and students, doctors and patients, librarians and activists—to celebrate free and open access to knowledge. This is also a time to discuss the barriers and costs of keeping research and information locked up with restrictive licenses and publisher paywalls.

This week, we'll be blogging daily about various aspects of open access, as well as ways to get involved in the movement. Visit this page throughout the week to find a list of all our blog posts. If you have further questions, be sure to tune in on Thursday at 10 a.m. PT for a reddit AmA, where we’ll be joined by fellow advocates and researchers.

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Open Access, Today

"Open access" refers to the practice of making scholarly research available online for free upon publication (or soon after). Implemented by academics, institutions, journals, and major funding bodies, open access policies allow everyone across the globe to benefit from the latest findings and discoveries—whether it’s assessing Ebola risk in West Africa or the studying the effect of cute kitten pictures on people’s attention spans.

Open access policies should aim to remove barriers to research, whether they are steep paywalls or strict copyright provisions. Tools like open licenses not only facilitate downstream re-use of research, but also help maximize both impact and citations.

While Internet adoption continues to rise, so do the prices of scholarly journals. Trapping knowledge behind prohibitively expensive paywalls is a disservice to researchers and problem solvers across the world. Those at the forefront of our collective intellectual progress are increasingly embracing the open access model for research worldwide. With Open Access Week, we have a chance to use this global momentum to advance constructive policy changes.

This year, we have seen a number of encouraging steps in the realm of open access. California passed AB 609, the first state-level open access bill ever. While the legislation ended up not being as strong as it once was, it was a critical step in the direction of openness and transparency. On the federal level, the US Department of Energy was the first to reveal their mandated public access policy. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as robust as we would have hoped. The open access movement is pushing in the right direction, but much work still remains.

This year's Open Access Week theme is Generation Open. We'll be focusing on the importance of students and early career researchers embracing open access, and exploring how changes in scholarly publishing affect academics and researchers at different stages of their careers.

What You Can Do

There are all kinds of ways to get involved. We invite you and your community to join us for this exciting week of action. Here’s how:

  • Share on social media: simply spreading the word is important ... and easy! Post your thoughts about open access and share articles and media that EFF will be posting throughout the week using the hashtag #OAWeek2014. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. See below for all of our shareable graphics.

  • Host a screening and discussion about the film The Internet’s Own Boy, a powerful documentary that tells the story of activist and innovator Aaron Swartz, who also was a passionate and outspoken advocate for open access. Here is our guide to help you organize a screening of this important film. Be in touch if you decide to organize a viewing.

  • Print and share handy guides to help people in your community get up to speed on why we demand open access to research. There’s one on Diego Gomez's case and one on the open access movement more broadly.

  • Send us your photos of events you’ve organized! We’re doing to do a re-cap of all the exciting things people around the world have done to celebrate Open Access Week.

  • If you’re a scientist or researcher, make your own work open access!

We believe the Internet should be a place where we can share ideas and get educated, unimpeded by unfair paywalls. We are thrilled to join forces with dozens of organizations across the world for this year’s Open Access Week to spread the message loud and clear: research should be free, available, and open for everyone’s benefit.

Shareable Graphics

 OA Button Founders and Quote

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