Open Access Week is running from 23 to 29 October.
Open access is free online access to research such as journal articles for anyone, without restrictions. Not only is open access an important aspect of our 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF) submission, it maximises the impact of research at our institution and allows people without journal subscriptions to read publications for free.
Many of us will have typed a journal article or author into Google, and then faced a subscription paywall or been asked to pay a hefty sum to read just one publication. Thinking beyond our experiences of Higher Education in the UK, many people need to access research but do not have a Library subscription to rely upon. Open Access Week reminds us that research is undertaken and published for the benefit of our society and by ensuring everyone can read it, we maximise the benefit for us all.
This year, the theme of Open Access Week is ‘Open in order to…’ as there is an international drive to recognise the benefits of open access to researchers and users. There are many ways to complete this sentence; for example, someone may make their research open access ‘in order to increase access to knowledge.’ Indeed, OA research in our Leeds Beckett repository was accessed by 96 different countries in September this year and downloaded 10,559 times, ensuring a huge volume of our research has a global reach.
Another key theme this year, is ‘Open in order to raise your research visibility.’ Once research has been published, it is not enough to just wait for people to discover it; promotion online through social media, news reports and websites will place research into the hands of the reader. By ensuring this research is open access, we ensure that they can actually read it for free! This raises the profile of the individual and the institution, has huge benefits for REF impact and encourages other researchers and academic staff to use this research in their teaching and further developments.
Throughout Open Access Week, the Research Services Team in LLI will be promoting the theme of ‘Open in order to…’ from our @BeckettResearch Twitter account using the hashtag #OAweek. We are also supporting our second Research Café for PHD students, which will be 12:30pm – 2:00pm on Tuesday 24 October in LSB104 in the Library.