Theme of 2018 International Open Access Week To Be “Designing Equitable Foundations for Open Knowledge”.
This year’s theme reflects a scholarly system in transition. While governments, funders, universities, publishers, and scholars are increasingly adopting open policies and practices, how these are actually implemented is still in flux. As open becomes the default, all stakeholders must be intentional about designing these new, open systems to ensure that they are inclusive, equitable, and truly serve the needs of a diverse global community. This year’s Open Access Week invites all interested stakeholders to participate in advancing this important work.
Setting the default to open is an essential step toward making our system for producing and distributing knowledge more inclusive, but it also comes with new challenges to be addressed. How do we ensure sustainability models used for open access are not exclusionary? What are inequities that open systems can recreate or reinforce? Whose voices are prioritized? Who is excluded? How does what counts as scholarship perpetuate bias? What are areas where openness might not be appropriate?
These are not questions with easy answers. Rather, they are prompts for ongoing conversations that can help ensure that the foundation for a more equitable system of open research and scholarship is created thoughtfully and collaboratively. This year’s theme highlights the importance of asking the tough questions, staying critical, and actively engaging in an ongoing conversation to learn from diverse perspectives about how to make scholarship more equitable and inclusive as it becomes more open.
Established by SPARC and partners in the student community in 2008, International Open Access Week is an opportunity to take action in making openness the default for research—to raise the visibility of scholarship, accelerate research, and turn breakthroughs into better lives. This year’s Open Access Week will be held from October 22nd through the 28th; however, those celebrating the week are encouraged to schedule local events whenever is most suitable during the year and to utilize themes that are most effective locally.
The global, distributed nature of Open Access Week will play a particularly important role in this year’s theme. Strategies and structures for opening knowledge must be co-designed in and with the communities they serve—especially those that are often marginalized or excluded from these discussions altogether.
International Open Access Week is an important opportunity to catalyze new conversations, create connections across and between communities that can facilitate this co-design, and advance progress to build more equitable foundations for opening knowledge—discussion and action that must continue throughout the year, year in and year out. Diversity, equity, and inclusion must be prioritized year-round and integrated into the fabric of the open community, from how our infrastructure is built to how we organize community events.
For more information about International Open Access Week, please visit www.openaccessweek.org. You can follow the conversation on Twitter at #OAWeek.