The 411 on Open Access


  • Open Access week is the 22nd to the 26th of October and this year Griffith is partaking in the festivities.

You may have seen some posters up around the place promoting Open Access (and if not, you’ll be hearing a lot more about it very soon!) or read these posts on Open Access on the library blog. So you might be wondering – just what exactly IS Open Access? What are the benefits for me and/or my students? I asked Roslyn Woolnough, Research Content Assistant with SIR’s Research Content Team, to clarify some things for me in light of the new Open Access webpage that was launched this month.

What exactly is this Open Access project all about? Was it put together in response to something?
It’s not an Open Access project, it’s more an Open Access awareness initiative.  Open Access Week has been an international event for the past 6 years.  It has only recently come to our attention here at Griffith, despite the open access movement being a key component of our institutional repository since its inception in 2007.

Other institutions that have been supporting open access week for a number of years have more extensive events during the week, but as this was our first year we decided to keep it small with a focus on an online awareness campaign.

What is the aim of the project? What outcomes are you hoping for?
Our aim is to increase awareness about Open Access, in all its forms, with a primary focus on self-archiving and the retention of intellectual property (IP) rights.

There are many benefits to Open Access publishing that we want to ensure people are aware of, such as increased citation rates.  Simply self-archiving your author’s post print in your institutional repository can have an impact on how often your article is cited, because it is automatically more accessible to more people.

Open Access can be seen as a means for researchers to further enhance dissemination of their research. Griffith Research Online is a powerful tool to help to promote these researchers as leaders in their field, especially because it is indexed by search agents such as Google and Google Scholar.

Who has been working on the project?
Within Information Services, members of the Research Content Team and eResearch Services are collaborating to spread the message of Open Access for research data and publications: Roslyn Woolnough, Ville Sarimaa, Stacey Lee, Natasha Simons, Ximena Pinzon-Olive and Joanna Richardson.  We are also working with our Academic Services Librarians and would welcome any volunteers who would like to be involved.

Did you have any issues along the way? Any major challenges?
We had a few challenges in getting a web presence; our initial idea was to have a website where we could provide comprehensive information about Open Access as we would like this to be an ongoing initiative. In the end we’ve created a webpage attached to the Library’s Support for Researchers site, which somewhat limits the information we could provide by that avenue, but works better with Griffith’s branding.

Another major challenge has been finding champions for Open Access amongst Griffith’s research and academic community due to their heavy workload and time commitments.

The tagline “Open Access: Everyone is doing it” was also hard to decide on, as we couldn’t get print materials until that had been finalised.  Perhaps next year we will hold a competition leading up to Open Access Week 2013 to find a new one!

Is there anything else you would like Griffith staff to know about Open Access?
There are so many publishing options available to authors these days, and we’re not about advocating one over another – what we really want people to be aware of is that even just self-archiving your author’s post print in Griffith Research Online can increase your citation rate. But to be able to do this, you must make sure that you retain your right to self-archive your author’s post print in your institutional repository, so we strongly urge you to carefully read your copyright transfer agreement.  You can sign away your copyright to the publisher but still retain self-archiving rights. Most publishers will allow this, however not many people may know about it or check their agreement for the option. If in doubt, make sure you ask the question!

A big thanks to Roslyn and the team for letting me know more about Open Access! We will bring you more news of the activities planned for Open Access Week as they come to light but for now, if you’ve got more questions about open access, please contact Roslyn direct: r.woolnough@griffith.edu.au.



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