After the whirlwind

Now the dust has settled after Open Access Day 2008, it’s time to bask briefly in the warm glow of what we achieved and to think about what we can improve next time.

The best way to sum up the positive feedback that we’ve received about the day is through this simple fact. We asked the 120 organizations who signed up to participate in the day, who originated from more than 27 countries, whether they would participate again next year – 90% said YES.

Then we (the organizers of Open Access Day: PLoS, SPARC and Students for Free Culture) asked ourselves whether we felt that we’d achieved our goal which was:

“To broaden awareness and understanding of Open Access, including recent mandates and emerging policies, within the international higher education community and the general public.”

Our answer was also a resounding YES. Although next year we’ll encourage participants to organize their activities at any point during “Open Access Week” to ease scheduling headaches, we’ll bring some more international folks into our organizational team, we’re seeking a technology partner, and we’ll give greater advanced notice of the next event!

We are pleased to announce that next year’s Open Access Week will be in October 2009, dates to be confirmed. To hear about the latest development please complete this form.

There were many different ways to measure the success of the 2008 day apart from the level of participation. Here are just a few of them:

• An explosion of new open access materials and their organization – not only did we create many new resources for the day but the good folks at the Open Access Directory compiled a Wiki to help organize much of the world’s material into an easy-to-use source.

• Significant blog coverage – ranging from about 400 posts about the day and the activities to over 40 superb posts in response to the synchronous blogging competition – the two winners were Dorothea Salo for her post My Father The Anthroplogist and Greg Laden for his Poem for Open Access Day.

• New Association launched – we were delighted that the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association chose that day to announce their formation.

• New video content – we prepared six 1- minute videos presentations from a Teacher, Librarian, Funder, Student, Physician Scientist and a Patient Advocate on why Open Access Matters to them (also available on YouTube and Internet Archive), several video shout-outs (messages of support from the community) and two webcasts from Sir Richard Roberts and Dr Phil Bourne.

• Comments that we received from participants after the event –

“The day showed that we are not alone in doing OA”
“The downloadables were great, particularly “A very brief introduction to Open Access
“It was good to let the people know the phrase – Open Access”

We’d like to make next years’ event in October 2009 bigger and better than ever. To hear about the latest developments, please complete this form.

Drum roll please – and the winner of the blogging competition is…?

True confession. There were so many entires of such a high standard that in the end the judges decided to have 2 winners. I am going to cross post both in full to the blog site in a few minutes. They are:

Dorothea Salo, for her post My Father The Anthropologist. The judges comments about this post were:

  • “Very personal, very well-written, just as we wanted!” Bora, Scientist and Blogger, A Blog Around the Clock.
  • “Warm and engaging, I thoroughly enjoyed this.” Liz, PLoS Communications.

On hearing of her joint win Dorothea said “you made my day.”

Dorothea Salo’s professional interests include scholarly communication, usability and design, data curation, and digital preservation. She is the Digital Repository Librarian at the University of Wisconsin, where she serves the state university system’s consortial institutional repository, MINDS@UW.

Greg Laden who wrote A poem for Open Access Day. The judges comments about this post were:

  • “Epic success! A winner. Brilliant.” Aaron, Scientist and Blogger, Wired Science.
  • “Funny and uses one of my favorite phrases “democratization of information” superb.” Liz, PLoS Communications.

On hearing of his joint in Greg said “Wow, this is the FIRST TIME I’ve ever won anything! Thank you!. Well, the first time in a while, anyway”. He then blogged the news for your enjoyment.

Greg Laden is part time independent scholar and part time adviser with the Program for Individualized Learning, University of Minnesota. He is also on one or more graduate faculties at The U, depending on the status of various graduate students. He has a PhD in Archeology and Biological Anthropology, and is interested in human evolution; the biology of gender and sexuality; and the biology of race. He conducts field research in Africa. His most recent paper, with Gil Tostevin and Mischa Pen, is an evaluation of a traveling exhibit on race and racism, and is published in the journal Museum Anthropology.

Warmest Congratulations to both our winners and thanks to everyone who entered. We will be sending them each a bag of swag in the next few days.

Cake and T-shirts

We’re getting ready to start our own Open Access Day event and 5th birthday party at PLoS in San Francisco (where the sun always shines and it is today).

We have a delicious cake to share…

And here’s a photo of business planner extraordinaire, Anji Desai with her Bhangra dancing buddy Liz Allen wearing the “Hamsters Love PLoS” t-shirts that were given to all PLoS staff as a gift earlier today.