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Open Access Week 2011: Wrap-Up and Resources

Last week was officially International Open Access Week (OA Week) in the world of education, and everywhere, really. The event's tagline, "Learn Share Advance", encourages us to consider how "open access to information – the free, immediate, online access to the results of scholarly research, and the right to use and re-use those results as you need – has the power to transform the way research and scientific inquiry are conducted."

This was the fifth year of OA Week, with scheduled events happening worldwide. With advocacy in mind, the event's activities covered a lot of ground for anyone involved in academic study, research, and publication. I was an online observer during the week and collected a few resources I thought were worth sharing with you here.

Top 6 Take-Aways

This event resulted in a wide variety of resources, all available online. Some were already in existence, while others are new for the week's festivities. As you review my collection below, consider how these items might be helpful to you in your academic work as an online student or instructor.

  1. Academic Journal Directories: The Education Research Global Observatory is just one of the directories included here and it alone contains links to more than 100 open journals.
  2. Repository Directories: The University of Nottingham, UK, maintains OpenDOAR, a directory of open access repositories. This resource currently has more than 2000 listings that include a variety of materials such as publications, images, data sets, and re-usable learning objects. This resource also has advanced search features that allow you to locate materials by subject and type of content.
  3. A Student Guide: The Right to Research document from the Association of Research Libraries is a student's guide to open access and how it relates to conducting academic research. Ever wonder why you can't access full-text versions of some of the articles you need to reference? This report helps to explain some of the challenges presented by "closed access" publications.
  4. A Faculty Guide: Provided by the OA Week website, What Faculty Can Do to Promote Open Access [PDF] not only lists specific actions that instructors and researchers in higher education can take, but also provides a host of links for more information and FAQs related to supporting open access publication.
  5. OAD Wiki: The Open Access Directory wiki, hosted by the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Simmons College, serves as a central hub for all things open access. Check here for resources from past OA Weeks, related blogs, repositories, and more. New pages are in development and one of the most recent addresses Careers in OA.
  6. Institutional Participation: Athabasca University in Canada, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are two universities already well-versed in the open access movement and known for practicing what they preach. Each school recognized OA Week 2011 by providing presentations and other activities to increase awareness and provide resources.

How can you be a part of the Open Access Movement?

Follow open access interests via social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, and use open access hashtags, like #oaweek and #OER, to promote open materials you discover and recommend to others.

Join discussions about open access at your institution. Look for opportunities to find out more about materials your school may be providing openly. Your library is a great place to start.

Provide some of your work by sharing it with others in an open format. Your contribution could be small or large and include anything from Creative Commons licensed images in your photo sharing account (e.g. Flickr) to submitting a manuscript to an open access journal.

Incorporate open access materials in your research, courses, and course assignments. Don't forget about all of the journals and repositories that are available to you online. You may find helpful articles, tutorials, references, and other components that will augment your research and studies.

Plan Ahead for 2012

Watch for Open Access Week 2012 (dates to be announced), but don't wait until then to take advantage of these resources!

Image credit:, CC-BY