Established in 2007, by Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) in partnership with the student community, Open Access Week is an annual, global event that brings together researchers, educators, librarians, and academic and scholarly institutions to advocate for unrestricted access to knowledge. By removing financial and logistical barriers, like paywalls and subscription fees, open access empowers individuals worldwide to access and utilize valuable knowledge. This leads to greater innovation, collaboration, and progress across various fields, from science and technology to arts and humanities.
But what is open access? SPARC defines it as the “free, immediate, online availability of research articles combined with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment.” This can have huge benefits. Open access allows new ideas to be dispersed more quickly and widely, allowing anyone to access and use research results. This, in turn, expands the impact of the research, serving as an impetus for new research and knowledge and allowing for greater collaboration.
This year’s Open Access Week theme is, “Community over Commercialization.” The goal of this theme is to encourage “a candid conversation about which approaches to open scholarship prioritize the best interests of the public and the academic community—and which do not.” Specifically, the hope is to focus on the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science that calls for an end to “inequitable extraction of profit from publicly funded scientific activities” and support for “non-commercial publishing models and collaborative publishing models with no article processing charges.”
Open access has the potential to democratize the world of research. When knowledge is freely accessible, it empowers individuals, regardless of their background or location, to participate in the global conversation surrounding critical issues. By advocating for making this knowledge freely available, Open Access Week reinforces the belief that education and research should be a universal right, not a privilege.
You can check out our open access databases here: ArXiv.org, BioMed Central , DOAJ - Directory of Open Access Journals, OAIster, Open Humanities Press, PLOS Biology, and Social Science Research Network.