Guest blog by Ginny Barbour, Director of the Australasian Open Access Strategy Group & Professor at the Division of Research and Commercialisation,
Office of Research Ethics & Integrity QUT
As we head towards the end of October – we turn our focus to a week dedicated to open access (OA). Now in its 10th year, OA week has grown into a truly national and global celebration. It is an opportunity for everyone working in OA to reflect on successes and recent developments, announce new initiatives, and to consider the future.
What is the week about, and what does it mean for QUT staff and academics? This year signals a return to a core purpose of open access; to reduce inequity in access to information. The year’s theme is: “designing the equitable foundations for open knowledge”. The theme indicates a need for purposeful thinking about the next steps for OA, to ensure that everyone benefits – authors, readers, the wider academic community and beyond. Open access is not an end in itself; it is a means to an end – that of an equitable, efficient and FAIR means of sharing scholarly information.
QUT has had a truly momentous year with its repository passing 25 million downloads. QUT’s ePrints repository is the most successful repository in Australia. It has more than 86,000 items, more than 70% of which are full text. Depositing records and full text is the most important way that QUT researchers can comply with QUT’s open access policy and that of the two big Australian funders — all for free. But more than that, QUT’s repository allows anyone anywhere to access its research. The 25th millionth download highlights the equitable theme of OA Week, with the download coming from Namibia.
QUT also supports the work of the Australasian Open Access Strategy Group (AOASG), a group which QUT co-founded and which works for national strategies on OA as well as supporting the OA community in Australasia.
For academics who publish openly the benefits are concrete. A better readership for open articles is not surprising, but the benefit of increased academic usage are also becoming clearer through more citations. Critically, depositing in an OA repository such as QUT’s ePrints, is demonstrated to be the best way to boost citations. Furthermore, open articles are better connected into global systems for sharing information, which means that ultimately they can have wider societal impact.
QUT Library will be taking a roadshow around the QUT campuses in OA week to spread the word. Find out when the Open Access Bike will be coming to a campus near you!