Libraries to celebrate Open Access Week

Open Access Week logoNIU Libraries are connecting the campus with institutions across the world in a shared discussion around the Open Access movement in celebration of International Open Access Week 2013.

With a variety of events and activities scheduled, from workshops and panels to receptions and mash-ups, the week of Oct. 22 promises to be interesting and informative. Open Access (OA) is a model that allows scholarly authors to maintain greater control over their publishing rights while providing the public free access to research without the constraint of costly journal subscriptions.

OA Week activities will kick off at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22, in the Regency Room of Holmes Student Center, with an opening keynote by NIU communication professor David Gunkel, a longtime proponent of open access and managing editor of an acclaimed open access journal.

Gunkel’s address will be followed by an introduction to free/remix culture, which is closely allied with the Open Access movement. Scott Potter, an NIU alum who creates audio mashups under the stage name “Hell Yeah Party Time,” will provide a demonstration on his looping and editing techniques, and will then perform a selection of mash-up songs during the dessert reception.

The week’s events will culminate Friday, Oct. 25, with a keynote by Illinois Sen. Daniel Biss, author of the Open Access to Research Articles Act recently signed into law by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn. The senator will address the NIU community at 2:30 p.m. in the Carl Sandburg Auditorium of the Holmes Student Center; a reception sponsored by the Friends of the NIU Libraries will follow.

David Gunkel and Illinois Sen. Daniel Biss

David Gunkel and Illinois Sen. Daniel Biss

Throughout NIU’s Open Access Week, there will be a variety of informative talks, workshops and discussion panels that dive into an array of topics focused on OA issues. Sessions such as OA101 will provide attendees with a comprehensive introduction to Open Access issues, and “Getting Started with OA” will help provide faculty and staff with the tools to start to implement Open Access practices in their own professional lives.

Panel discussions will dig deeper into affiliated topics on student research, the changing nature of grant requirements and publications, data retention and management issues, and how Open Access is being approached from the academic publishing side.

While the Open Access movement has existed for many decades, it has rapidly gained momentum in the last five years.

Faculty at institutions such as Harvard University, MIT and the University of California system have passed policies in support of open access publishing. The White House issued an executive order in February 2013 requiring all federal agencies to develop open access policies.

Scott Potter

Scott Potter

In Illinois, the Open Access to Research Articles Act requires each public university to:

  • establish a task force to consider how it can best further open access;
  • review how peer institutions and the federal government are addressing issues related to open access and ensure that any institutional or statewide policies are consistent with steps taken by federal grant-making agencies; and
  • consider academic, legal, ethical and fiscal ramifications and questions regarding an open access policy.

The sharing of research is at the heart of Open Access. As the adoption of OA policies grows and the international community of scholars embraces the movement, the NIU Libraries stand ready to inform, lead and provide service to the people of the institution.

For more information, call (815) 753-0521 or email tlusher@niu.edu.

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