Open Access Week 2020

This week (October 19-25) is Open Access Week 2020, and this year’s theme is “Open with Purpose: Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and Inclusion.” Open Access Week is organized by SPARC, a “global coalition committed to making Open the default for research and education.” I have written about open access and its importance on the library blog before, but I think this year’s open access week theme highlights one of the key aspects of why it is important to make information open and accessible to all: Nick Shockey from SPARC wrote on the theme, “openness can be a powerful tool for building more equitable systems of sharing knowledge.” (You can read Shockey’s full post on this year’s theme here.)

This year, we are celebrating Open Access Week in a few ways. We have created a guide of events happening at events around the country; this calendar of events is by no means comprehensive, but it gives you some options if you are interested in learning more. All events are virtual and free, though some require pre-registration. TAMU-CC will be hosting two virtual events this week: a workshop on open access and a townhall discussion. The workshop on Open Access will be held Tuesday, October 20th at 3:00 PM. Among other things, I will be discussing open access and how TAMU-CC is supporting open access initiatives, specifically the Open Access Publication Fund and the TAMU-CC Repository.

Last year, the TAMU-CC Open Access Publication Fund successfully supported 55 TAMU-CC faculty, staff, and graduate students with initial funds of $15,000 which was then increased to a total of $27,000. This year, thanks to renewed financial support from the Bell Library, Research and Innovation, and the Office of the Provost, the Open Access Publication Fund is starting with $30,000! This investment in gold open access publishing is phenomenal support of open access. TAMU-CC also supports green open access through the Institutional Repository. Whereas gold open access costs authors to ensure that their work is accessible to anyone with internet access, green open access is a free (although sometimes time-delayed)  option for making an author’s work freely available for any and all to read. The different variations of open access can get confusing, and understandably so! That’s why I encourage everyone to attend my workshop, Tuesday October 20th!

Our second Open Access Week 2020 event will be a Townhall Discussion on Thursday, October 22nd, led by Bell Library’s Dean Cate Rudowsky. One of the reasons Open Access has gained popularity, is the issue of the cost to access information. The film Paywall: The Business of Scholarship does an excellent in-depth look at the cost of information, to individuals, libraries, researchers, and others. If you have not seen the movie yet, we encourage you to watch it before the townhall discussion; the movie is open access, so if you have internet access it’s free to watch! The townhall discussion will focus on topics brought up in the movie: the cost of accessing information, and what libraries are doing to handle this issue. In addition to supporting open access publication, libraries have begun to rethink how they negotiate with the publishers to whom they pay the big bucks in order to access all the information that publishers control with their paywall. TAMU-CC is a part of a coalition with other Texas Higher Education institutions, whose goal, in part, is to negotiate with publishers to make access to information more equitable and affordable for institutions.  If you have questions, concerns, or would like to learn more about open access and the TLCUA coalition, please join us at Thursday’s Townhall!

Learn more about Open Access:

Learn more about TAMUCC’s Repository:

Learn more about the Texas Library Coalition for United Action (TLCUA):

By: Alexa Hight, Scholarly Communication Librarian

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