Today marks the final day of International Open Access Week which began this Monday, October 26. International Open Access Week is organized by SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition based in Washington DC. One of SPARC’s core beliefs is open access to all academic communication.
But what is open access? Open access is: “the free, immediate, online access to the results of scholarly research, and the right to use and re-use those results as you need” (From http://www.openaccessweek.org/page/about).
Anyone who has undertaken a search for scholarly journals has likely encountered an article that they do not have access to. One of the goals of the open access movement is for every published article to be available for free, without having to pay exorbitant fees simply to read the article for a limited period of time.
The University of Ottawa has developed an “Open journal hosting” service for publications by the University of Ottawa, which can be found here: http://scholarlycommunication.uottawa.ca/uottawa-initiatives/open-journal-hosting. There are nine open access journals at the moment, with some in English and some in French. All of these journals are peer-reviewed. The journals tend to focus on language studies and health sciences.
The system used for the open journal hosting is based on open source software by Open Journal Systems which was developed by the Public Knowledge Project at Simon Fraser University. The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) has contributed funding to the Public Knowledge Project in the past. SSHRC is a government agency and is under the mandate of the Minister of Industry. Whether the Public Knowledge Project has recently applied for SSHRC funding is unclear, but one can only hope that this is at least a sign that the Canadian government is in some way supportive of open access initiatives. At the federal level as well, the Government of Canada is making efforts to move towards an open government, with the creation of their Open Government website. This is still a work in progress, with a limited availability of data at the present time.
Also, for any of you cyclists or bicycle lovers, here you’ll find a Open Access Week themed bicycle (Photo credit to Jasper Lee Maenzanise). Even if you don’t care for bicycles, it’s worth checking out! This was used to distribute Open Access materials at the Harare Institute of Technology.
International Open Access Week: http://www.openaccessweek.org/
Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition : http://www.sparc.arl.org/
Open journal hosting: http://scholarlycommunication.uottawa.ca/uottawa-initiatives/open-journal-hosting
Public Knowledge Project: https://pkp.sfu.ca/
Open Government: http://data.gc.ca/eng/open-government