Using Outreach Weeks to Examine Labor, Assessment and Value in Open Advocacy

Abstract:  INTRODUCTION Like the scholarly communication system it aims to transform, open advocacy work is broad in scope and reflects many influences, practices, and players. Despite having a rewarding mission, scholarly communication librarians frequently juggle multiple roles, may experience isolation and career stagnation, and produce outputs that are not readily understood. METHODS These challenges inspired the creation of the Open Action Kit, a suite of tools to help practitioners plan, execute, and assess open advocacy weeks, particularly Open Access Week. This resource sought to make explicit parallels between the activities and scope of open advocacy work and leadership skills that could aid in career progression. RESULTS The project’s aims and structure matured to focus on a broader, critical appraisal of the nature of scholarly communication work. Its encouragement of dialogue between its members and audience more thoroughly recognized and addressed the tensions between open advocacy work and professional success. DISCUSSION Open advocates expressed many frustrations with their work: they often felt isolated or burnt out, hindered by structures or expectations from their organization. While relational work is fundamental to the cultural change inherent in scholarly communication work, the overly simplistic, quantitative measures typical of library assessment do not accurately capture its nuance or complexity. CONCLUSION Centering the relational components of open advocacy work is necessary for it to be successful, sustainable, and appropriately valued. While the Open Action Kit has not been updated since 2017, it serves as a useful model for translating and centering relational work through distributed leadership, advocacy, and skill development.


Theme of 2020 Open Access Week to be Open with Purpose: Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and Inclusion – Open Access Week

“The 2020 Open Access Week Advisory Committee is pleased to announce that the theme for this year’s International Open Access Week, to be held October 19-25, will be “Open with Purpose: Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and Inclusion.”

Openness can be a powerful tool for building more equitable systems of sharing knowledge. Rebuilding research and scholarship to be open by default presents a unique opportunity to construct a foundation that is fundamentally more equitable. Yet today, structural racism, discrimination, and exclusion are present and persistent in places where openness is a core value. As a global community, it is important to understand that the systems and spaces of the present are often built upon legacies of historic injustice and that addressing these inequities is a necessity….”



Co-creating Open Infrastructure to Support Diversity and Equity

“To reframe our priorities in this way requires collective will and coordination across regions and institutions to build new kinds of support for resource reallocation. It further requires institutional courage and political will to declare that open, autonomous, and equitable systems are preferred over “prestigious” Euro-centric research systems that continue to undermine other epistemic communities from around the world. It requires that disciplines and societies prioritize who they have been centering in their research, whose voices they’ve been amplifying, and whose they have been silencing. Supporting the status quo while leaving initiatives that reflect epistemic diversity and knowledge equity as second-tier priorities will result in continued entrenchment of status quo inequities and the marginalization of truly innovative, equitable systems….”

Open access in an age of surveillance technology – erin rose glass

“The free, public exchange of knowledge, scientific and academic knowledge in particular, is precisely the aim of the open access movement. It is a noble goal, and given advances in computing technology and its availability, it is a more realistic goal than ever before. However, as the movement continues to grow, I think the open access movement should be looking very carefully at the way information is being managed, instrumentalized, shaped, and monetized in the broader information landscape. Because academic knowledge of course, is a species of information, and thus it will be subject to the same pressures and instrumentalization….”

Can open access bridge the gaps between science and societal impact? | AAS Open Research Blog

“Some people may consider this open access wave as a simply incremental gain, but it really is, in many ways, a revolution. As it stands, people who generate the knowledge are rarely the same people who valorize that knowledge. Instead, it is often third parties who make most value by integrating knowledge from multiple sources. This is a new descriptor of literacy, and we must pay attention to the fact that the more it is shared, the more knowledge becomes useful. Researchers must therefore realize the need to bridge efforts in within the otherwise siloed knowledge industry, with the need to community desires for impact.

I believe that liberating information so that it can be accessed by multiple brains across disciplines will create immeasurable value. Here I mean value not just to academics, but to industry, governments and societies. The adage, “knowledge is power” remains most relevant today. The more of it we have, and the wider we share it, the greater our capacity will be to address our priority needs in key sectors including energy, health, agriculture, infrastructure and education. One might say that while quantity of knowledge has a linear effect on societal impact, the extent to which it is shared will have exponential effects.  

As am writing this, I have an email from one of our Tanzania postgraduate students requesting full text of an article published in 1962 in the East African Medical Journal, which historically had fantastic ratings. The article in question contains work done in northern Tanzania but is unfortunately now behind a paywall. The student can choose to pay for access, send an email to some American or European partner who probably has paid access or repeat the experiments? As it stands, all those options remain on the table, especially since I am, perhaps unreasonably, being adamant that “all which is behind a paywall is immaterial”….”

The spirit of openness in Belgrade during the Open Access Week: Conference The Application of Free Software and Open Hardware – OpenAIRE Blog

“The second conference The Application of Free Software and Open Hardware (Primena slobodnog softvera i otvorenog hardvera – PSSOH) was certainly the most vibrant event organized in Serbia on the occasion of the 2019 Open Access Week.”

Ownership, Control, Access and Possession in OA Publishing

“The issue of whose voices are represented—in print, online or on air—by whom and for whom, is particularly salient for under-represented and historically marginalized communities. Communities of colour and Indigenous peoples have more often found themselves to be objects of scholarly interest and academic scrutiny rather than recognized as co-creators of the research and equal partners in the publishing projects that follow. The phrase ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’—while historically associated with disability inclusion and empowerment—has greater relevance than ever, and offers us an opportunity to rethink how we share information in this digitally connected world.

For Indigenous communities in North America and beyond, the institutional momentum behind open access imperatives risks infringing (and even violating) long-held cultural protocols about who should be privy to certain forms of information and traditional knowledge, and when and how these are to be shared. The First Nations principles of OCAP®—Ownership, Control, Access and Possession—are important standards that all of us working in cultural heritage need to study with care….”

Open Access Week 2019: Getting the ECR perspective | PLOS ECR Community

“So this was this year’s Open Access Week. We hope you all enjoyed it and gave the development of open access (OA) a special thought. This time the theme for the week was “Open for Whom? Equity in Open Knowledge”, certainly a relevant question for ECRs around the world.  As a not yet established researcher with own funding and projects, the cost for publishing in respected OA journals can be quite high, while it’s for free (at least for the individual researcher) in a traditional subscription based  journal. Publishing in a renowned OA journal may cost over $5000 per paper. Some institution have publisher agreements with OA journals to publish for free, but otherwise it’s a high cost for the individual researchers to bear, especially in smaller research projects without majors grants. This has become even more problematic where OA publishing in many cases have become a mandate of taxpayer-funded research and in policies like Plan S. Of the about 3 million articles published every year around one third is now available through open access in over 33 000 peer reviewed English language journals. OA research has surged from as few as 523 articles in 2001 to as much as 45% of all new research publications….”

Driving Institutional Change for Research Assessment Reform

“Academic institutions and funders assess their scientists’ research outputs to help allocate their limited resources. Research assessments are codified in policies and enacted through practices. Both can be problematic: policies if they do not accurately reflect institutional mission and values; and practices if they do not reflect institutional policies.

Even if new policies and practices are developed and introduced, their adoption often requires significant cultural change and buy-in from all relevant parties – applicants, reviewers and decision makers.

We will discuss how to develop and adopt new research assessment policies and practices through panel discussions, short plenary talks and breakout sessions. We will use the levels of intervention described in the “Changing a Research Culture” pyramid (Nosek, 2019), to organize the breakout sessions….”

Chasing cash cows in a swamp? Perspectives on Plan S from Australia and the USA | Unlocking Research

“Rankings are a natural enemy of openness….

Australian universities are heavily financially reliant on overseas students….

University rankings are extremely important in the recruitment of overseas students….

There is incredible pressure on researchers in Australia to perform. This can take the form of reward, with many universities offering financial incentives for publication in ‘top’ journals….

For example, Griffith University’s Research and Innovation Plan 2017-2020 includes: “Maintain a Nature and Science publication incentive scheme”. Publication in these two journals comprises 20% of the score in the Academic Ranking of World Universities….”