An Open Access Week letter from SPARC

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  • 1. Open Access WeekAn Open Access Week letter from SPARCThe largest, most successful International Open Access Week yet has just come to aclose. With just under 900 participants in 94 countries, this year’s event was no lessthan three times larger than it was just a year ago. Hundreds of videos, photos, blogposts, and more were released to promote and highlight the benefits of Open Access toresearch and take the conversation even more deeply into the research community – andthey absolutely did.We could celebrate the week as a success in numbers like these alone, but the numbersreally only tell part of the story.The increase in diversity of participants is even more telling. Started as a student-drivenevent in 2007 with support from SPARC and the library community, Open Access Daywas at first a library-centric affair. Having grown in recognition and participation everyyear since, in 2010 we truly began to make deep inroads into the academy.The student stake in the conversation on access continues to grow more firm, but thisyear participants from the academy – including humanists, climate change scientists,provosts, research funders, Nobelists, and lawyers – really took advantage of theoccasion to share their insights on how Open Access has had an impact on their workand lives.Nobel prize-winning scientist and director of the U.S. National Cancer Institute Dr.Harold Varmus participated in the official OA Week kick-off event, saying, with respectto where open-access publishing has reached and what’s now possible: “All of theseadventures are tremendously exciting because they markedly enrich the experience ofbeing a scientist, of reading the work of others, and of exchanging views with others inthe scientific community.” Dr. Varmus’s comments are online athttp://vimeo.com/15881200.In his video, Dr. Nico Sommerdijk, associate professor of Chemical Engineering andChemistry at the Dutch Eindhoven University of Technology, expresses a need formoving beyond traditional publishing approaches to share data. He made his researchdata openly available so that now, “Everybody can access [the data set] directly withone click of your computer mouse. People may use the same data set for things that wewere not looking for and so generate new science with the same scientific data set.”(http://www.openaccessweek.org/video/open-access-of-data-generates)The stories that were shared are inspiring, but so was the creativity of the delivery.In Portugal, the Polytechnic Institute of Santarém held a portion of their Open AccessWeek program in Second Life.(http://www.openaccessweek.org/xn/detail/5385115:Event:9662?xg_source=activity)Students at Boston University made a video to illustrate that studying without access tothe resources you need is like having half a sock to wear, half a hotdog to eat, or half abook to read (http://www.openaccessweek.org/video/open-access).
  • 2. And, in Open Families (http://www.arl.org/sparc/openaccess/openfamilies), scientistsrelate in personal and compelling terms how Open Access to the research and data theyproduce, as well as that produced by others, is not just a professional cause for them buta family affair.All these contributions to the conversation – in writing, photo, and video – are afantastic resource that will help us all to continue the conversation over the course of theyear and beyond, and are a sure sign of the growing momentum behind Open AccessWeek. Of course, the growing size and power of the global network also continues toimpress.Open Access Week 2010 was also a great reminder to us of the work and opportunitiesthat lie ahead. We’ve isolated a need to dig deeper into the academy and find ways tomeet faculty on their own terms – to find ways to bring Open Access Week, so to speak,to campus every day of the year. While we’ve made crucial advances, we’ve only juststarted to make the inroads needed to engage the community of scholars andresearchers.We’ve made fantastic progress, with awareness-raising around Week and withadvancing Open Access as a new norm in scholarship. Congratulations to every singleperson who worked so hard to ensure the success of the event – locally, regionally,nationally, and globally. And, thank you.SPARC also extends special thanks to the members of the 2010 Open Access Weekprogram advisers (http://www.openaccessweek.org/group/programadvisers), SPARCmembers (http://www.arl.org/sparc/member), and everyone we’ve had the pleasure inworking with this year. Thank you.Naturally, there’s more to come. Watch for more OA Week round-up materials fromSPARC, including more videos, throughout the week. And, course, there’s Open AccessWeek 2011 to look forward to! Well look forward to seeing you atwww.openaccessweek.org then.Warm wishes,Heather Joseph, Executive DirectorJennifer McLennan, Program Director for Open Access WeekOn behalf of the 2010 Open Access Week Program Advisers