4.2 Open Access Advocacy
Open Access Advocacy is considered as one of the significant strategies to promote open access. Other two strategies, as given by Swan (2012), are policy-oriented and infrastructure development. These three strategies are pursued at institutional, national, regional and international level. Text Box 4.1 gives you an understanding how open access advocacy can be planned, designed and implemented for promoting OA in your respective institution, country and region.
4.2.1 International Open Access Week – Global Celebration
The International Open Access Week, initiated in 2008 by the Public Library of Science (PLoS), is celebrated worldwide every year in the month of October for advocacy, policy campaign, promotion and awareness raising on issues related to open access to scholarly literature, open science data and self- archiving. There are instances of stakeholders’ participation in events around the OA Week and their interactions help them in clearing doubts of the audiences and prospective OA contributors. This Week also helps in engaging students, young learners, young scholars and early career researchers for attracting them in creation and utilization of open access literature. Many intergovernmental agencies such as United Nations, UNESCO, World Bank, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and several international civil society organizations have been celebrating OA Week globally as well as locally for actively promoting OA knowledge resources produced by them and their partner organizations. Figure 4.1 shows website of the International Open Access Week available at OpenAccessWeek.org. This website is being supported by the SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) and few other OA advocacy organizations. This website aggregates list of OA Week events organized around the world, videos, photos, promotional pamphlets and brochures, e-groups, social media posts, blog posts, news, tools, merchandises and other resources helpful to OA stakeholders and practitioners. This website has also created promotional materials for outreaching to different target audiences. Some popular titles of international handouts are namely:
- A Very Brief Introduction to Open Access
- What Faculty can do to promote Open Access
- What Librarians can do to promote Open Access
- What Research Funders can do to promote Open Access
- What Universities and Administrators can do to promote Open Access.
Text Boxes 4.2 and 4.3 elaborate international handouts on what you can do to promote open access, particularly for the librarians and university administrators. These lists were initially prepared by OA thinkers and think tanks, namely Peter Suber, Stevan Harnad and Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI). Later conveners of International OA Week have created adapted versions of these handouts to suit their regional and national purposes. These Text Boxes only provide some bullet points. You can get further details on each point from the respective handout.
4.2.2 OA Blogs for OA Advocacy
Several open access blogs are being created and maintained globally by OA thinkers, campaigners and practitioners. These blogs serve the purposes of advocacy, public policy campaigns and sharing news of current affairs related to open access movement. Some of the most visible and creditable blogs are namely:
- Peter Suber's Blog
- Open Access News: News from the open access movement (Peter Suber's former blog, May 2002 – April 2010)
- Open Access Archivangelism by Stevan Harnad
- SPARC Blog
- Scholarly Open Access: Critical Analysis of Scholarly Open Access Publishing, by Jeffrey Beall
- OASPA (Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association) Blog
- Open Access Week Blog
- ACD Blog, by IFLA Acquisition & Collection Development (ACD) Section
- BioMed Central Blog
- PLOS Blogs
- SciELO (Scientific Electronic Library Online) Blog
- Open Access India: Advocating Open Access in India
In addition to blogs, there are several microblog sites spreading awareness on OA research literature and strengthening OA advocacy efforts. Examples of microblogs related to OA advocacy can be discovered in Twitter.com using hashtags #OpenAccess, #OA, #OAWeek, #OpenScience, #OApublishing, #OAAdvocacy, etc. You can find several individuals and organizations are involved in OA advocacy in blogospheres and other social media spaces for reaching out to millions of researchers and academics.
4.2.3 OA Advocacy Organizations and Initiatives
Open Access Directory 44 has prepared an online directory of Advocacy Organizations for OA. These organizations make OA advocacy a significant part of their mission. Their advocacy efforts go beyond providing OA or promoting OA. Some of the globally significant advocacy organizations and initiatives are briefly described below.
Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC):
The SPARC, launched in 1998, is an international alliance of academic and research libraries working to create a more open system of scholarly communication. It supports the immediate, barrier-free online availability of scholarly and scientific research articles, coupled with the rights to reuse these articles fully in the digital environment, and supports practices and policies that enable this. The SPARC is involved in many transnational OA public policymaking and acting as pressure group for achieving open access to scholarly communication. The SPARC supports a robust advocacy program supporting policy changes at the local, state, national, regional and international levels. It publishes SPARC Open Access Newsletter, which is a monthly newsletter authored by Peter Suber and offers news and analysis of the global open access movement. Peter Suber has been promoting global open access movement since May 2002 through his Open Access News Blog, later he migrated to Google+ platform (http://plus.google.com/u/0/+PeterSuber/). SPARC also maintains an email-based global OA discussion forum called SPARC Open Access Forum for dissemination of information related to SPARC activities and campaigns. SPARC now has three distinct geographical presences, namely, SPARC North America, SPARC Europe (launched in 2001) and SPARC Japan (launched in 2006). The SPARC spearheads many alliances, coalitions and public campaigns for promoting open access. Some of their OA leadership initiatives and campaigns include:
- Coalition for Open Access Policy Institutions (COAPI) [Sparc.arl.org/COAPI/], launched in 2011, is focused on the implementation of university OA policies in North America;
- Alliance for Taxpayer Access (ATA) [TaxPayerAccess.org], launched in 2011 with its motto “We Support Taxpayer Access to Publicly Funded Research”, is focused on OA for publicly-funded research in the United States of America;
- Right to Research Coalition [RightToResearch.org], launched in 2009 with its motto “Access to Research is a Student Right”, is focused on OA to research literature to student communities in the United States, and
- Support the FASTR Act 2013 (Fair Access to Science and Technology Research) – a public campaign in the United States.
Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL.net):
The EIFL, launched in 1999, is focused on OA in developing and transition countries. It has a dedicated OA Programme titled “EIFL-OA: Open Access”. Some of the overarching action lines of EIFL-OA include:
- Building capacity to launch open access repositories and to ensure their long-term sustainability;
- Offering training, supporting knowledge sharing, and providing expertise on open access policies and practices (open access journals, open access repositories, open access books, open data and open educational resources);
- Empowering librarians and library professionals, scholars, educators and students to become open access advocates; and
- Advocating nationally and internationally for the adoption of open access policies and mandates.
The EIFL has recently introduced EIFL-OA Advocacy Campaign grants for encouraging and supporting the national and institutional open access advocacy campaigns and to support publishing initiatives. The grantees of this grant are chosen from open access practitioners located in developing countries. In addition to OA advocacy, EIFL-OA has been able to strengthen capacity and capability of information professionals in developing countries for their lifelong association with OA initiatives in their respective countries.
International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP) [www.inasp.info]:
INASP, launched in 1992, is a focused on improving availability in developing countries, including through OA. Similar to EIFL, INASP has made significant contributions in capacity building of library, information and publishing professionals in developing countries, enabling them in building OA institutional repositories and OA journals in their respective countries.
Enabling Open Scholarship (EOS) [www.openscholarship.org]:
EOS is a major advocacy organization for university OA policies. It was launched as EurOpenScholar in October 2007, later it was re-launched as EOS in September 2009. It is an organisation for universities and research institutions worldwide. It promotes the principles of open scholarship and open science amongst the university managers and policymakers. Some other global portals for promoting OA, endorsed by several OA advocates, include:
- Open Access Scholarly Information Sourcebook [www.openoasis.org]
- ROARMAP (Registry of Open Access Repositories Mandatory Archiving Policies) [Roarmap.eprints.org]