This week, October 22-28, is International Open Access Week (sponsored by SPARC) and this year’s theme is “Designing Equitable Foundations for Open Knowledge.” Open Access is important to libraries, as a main goal of any library is to make knowledge openly available to patrons. The Harold B. Lee Library has made Open Access a major focus for the 2018-2019 school year.
The Importance of Open Access
Open Access refers to the free online availability of scholarly research, as well as the free right to use and cite that research. The goal of Open Access is to allow anyone, regardless of academic or financial status, unrestricted access to educational research. By making their work openly available, authors are able to share their findings with a larger audience. Additionally, people without access to paid journals are able to take advantage of large amounts of educational research through Open Access. Further information about the benefits of Open Access can be found here.
There are a few things you can do to further the Open Access cause. The Wikipedia Library is currently running their OAbot.org campaign, which is a tool to help users find citations from paid sites and add a free free version link in the the reference. You can try the tool here. There is also a tool called Unpaywall with a similar purpose that might be a bit more user-friendly. For more information on how you can be involved in Wikipedia projects in regard to Open Access, contact Rachel Helps, Coordinator of Wikipedia Initiatives in the BYU Library.
You can also share on social media your own experiences with Open Access. Suggested hashtags are #openaccess or #OAweek. Feel free to share this blog post as well, and don’t forget to tag the library with #hbll.
It’s always a good idea to do some research into Creative Commons licensing. It is a way for creators to share their copyrighted works with the public and still be protected. BYU has a fun Free Resources and Licensing tutorial, which includes some great information about Creative Commons.
The Scholarly Communications Office is currently involved in some projects to further Open Access in the library, including expanding the number of open journals hosted on ScholarsArchive, researching publications from BYU faculty and posting them to the repository, and a cross-departmental project to digitize, catalog, and post to ScholarsArchive all pre-1978 theses and dissertations for which the library only has physical copies. Stay tuned for future blog posts about the progress of these projects, as well as updates on the library’s Scholarly Communications Committee.