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Open Access Week 2020

[three minute read]

Open Access Week is an annual event when the international scholarly communications community promotes universal free access to scholarly research. Defined technically, “open access” does not simply mean that content can be read without payment (gratis), but rather that research is permanently free and licensed in order to be meaningfully reused (libre). The fundamental basis of open access is that published research contributes to social, intellectual or creative progress in the broadest possible way. What’s not to like?

Open access does not predicate a specific publication model or platform. It can occur within traditional (“toll” or “paywall”) publishing, in exclusively open venues (see the Directory of Open Access Journals), in the organs of learned societies, and is particularly well suited to academic- or library-led publishing (for example Brookes’s own International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring). Content is sometimes made open immediately upon publication (normally termed Gold OA), or alternatively after an embargo period has elapsed (Green OA). (For more on the different flavours of OA, see our blog post: https://brookesoa.blog/open-access/the-different-models-of-open-access/)

To celebrate Open Access Week 2020 (19-25 Oct.), the Scholarly Communications Team worked with researcher-authors from around Brookes to create four very short films exploring different facets of OA, which can be found on the library’s YouTube channel.

No Barriers

In the first film, Nayeli Gonzalez-Gomez (Dept. of Psychology), Mel Nowicki (School of Social Sciences), Sanjay Kumar (Psychology), and Annabel Valentine (Special Collections, Brookes Library) broadly discuss the benefits of making scholarly content freely available to anyone, anywhere with an internet connection. Open access enables temporal and geographical immediacy to research, and removes social, economic, institutional, or physical barriers between readers and scholarship.

“Green” Open Access

The second film focuses on the value of “Green open access.” Christian Erhlich (Business School) notes that this path fulfills Research England’s open access requirements for REF 2021 eligibility, but also that it allows him to provide access to his work for students undertaking commercial instruction not directly provided by Brookes. In contrast to many Gold open access models, Green OA possesses the outstanding virtue of incurring no costs to authors, readers or institutions.

“Read and Publish”

The subject of the third film is the “read-and-publish model,” under which institutions or consortia negotiate consolidated deals that enable their members to read all content on a platform, coupled with the opportunity to publish Gold OA on that platform. Verena Kriechbaumer (Dept. of Biological and Medical Sciences), Sanjay Kumar, Mel Nowicki and Nayeli Gonzalez-Gomez consider the read-and-publish offers currently provided by the Brookes library. Open access research attracts more attention than work published behind paywalls. Two of the articles published in 2020 by the Oxford Brookes authors in our video under read-and-publish have already been cited, and most have generated altmetric attention. The major issue with the read-and-publish model is its significant cost to institutional members.  (To learn more about read and publish deals, see this previous blog post:https://brookesoa.blog/2019/09/26/the-cost-of-transforming-scholarly-publishing-in-the-uk/.)

Open Access Doctoral Theses

In the final film, Poppy Gibson (Primary Education, University of Greenwich; Brookes EdD, 2019) applauds the British Library’s E-Thesis Online Service (EThOS). Brookes doctoral research published in RADAR is harvested by EThOS, where it joins an immense database of open access “new, innovative, empirical research.”

The Scholarly Communications team is always prepared to offer information or advice on open access, so if you are interested in read-and-publish or OA generally, please contact us on openaccess@brookes.ac.uk. We also wish to hear about your experiences with open access in any context. We are, moreover, actively working to promote Brookes research through YouTube films or podcasts: please get in touch with your ideas. And finally, remember that RADAR (the Oxford Brookes institutional repository) can provide stable access to your research data or non-conventional research outputs.

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