Open Access Week 2020

Open Access week this year runs from 19-25 October with the theme “Open with Purpose: Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and Inclusion”.

The Library strongly advocates the importance of Open Access (OA) in order to promote research integrity and transparency, and equitable access to research findings.

The global pandemic has brought the importance of OA and open science practices into sharp focus this year. As the scientific community rises to the challenge of a unified and high-speed response, the rapid sharing of research has become vital. During 2020, researchers and publishers across the globe have responded together to ensure fast and barrier-free access to relevant research, underpinning this years’ theme of equity and inclusion.

In general terms, OA refers to a resource that is freely available on the web.  However, a truly OA resource is not just available to view, but also provides users the right to read, distribute and re-use or re-mix the resource, whilst creators retain the right to be properly attributed.

For this reason, licencing is a key component of OA (Creative Commons licences provide an easy way to convey licence conditions).

Making the products of research (including journal articles, conferences papers, books/book chapters and data) openly available means findings can be quickly and widely reviewed, rebutted, reproduced and built upon to advance knowledge and understanding globally.

There are two main pathways to publishing OA research outputs:

  • ‘Gold’ means the research is OA immediately upon publication. Many of the major publishers charge a fee for this, known as an article processing charge (APC). There are OA journals that do not charge APCs, but quality can vary so it’s important for authors to think carefully about where to publish.
  • Green’ OA is a FREE form of OA publication that ALL WSU authors can achieve! Many publishers allow authors to share the accepted manuscript version of their work (peer-reviewed but not yet formally published), which can be made available in ResearchDirect, usually following an embargo period. The Library can manage the embargo but need authors to save and send us their accepted versions.

If we have learned anything from the pandemic, it is that we need access to all types of research – early stage findings, data and publications. And if we need immediate access for Coronavirus then we can use that argument for any other disease, crisis, or discipline on the planet. The many obvious benefits of immediate and open sharing of research during COVID-19 demonstrate that OA to research should be the new norm.

While the movement continues to gather pace, researchers can individually contribute to the growing bank of OA content by ensuring that their research papers achieve Green OA status, even if they are published in a subscription-based journal.

For further information, visit the Library guide, check out the Open Data Handbook, subscribe to the Australasian Open Access Strategy Group (AOASG) newsletter, follow #openaccess on Twitter or contact the Library Research Engagement Team via lib-research@westernsydney.edu.au.

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