The useful thing about running events is all the interesting and new things you learn. At the ART of the Digital Scholar session on Open Access (OA), I learned a lot from both Dr Jane Winters of the IHR and Adam Crymble, editor of The Programming Historian . My own work around OA has been very focussed on the library and institutional repository point of view, so although I am familiar with OA progress over a number of years, I still find that new perspectives, such as those from working researchers are invaluable to further my own knowledge.
My top 5 things about Open Access have definitely been expanded by taking part in this session. So here is my current personal list, some known to me, some new, and in no particular order -
1) Open Access can be perceived as restrictive to researchers, as though it is dictating where they can publish. It’s not, and it doesn’t, but I had no idea that it could be perceived in this way.
2) Creating and publishing in a completely Open Access way can save you money. The founders of The Programming Historian decided to go OA for many reasons, but one of those reasons was that they didn’t have the time or money to protect their text book behind a pay wall and to enforce copyright.
3) Open Access isn’t just about sharing. It can also mean positive changes in the way research is compiled, presented and published. [link to Jane's examples]
4) It is worth re-iterating to anyone and everyone that researchers shouldn’t have to pay to be published. The Gold OA route (negotiating with a publisher to allow an OA copy of an article to be made available, usually involving a payment of some kind to the publisher) is not the only route. The Green OA route (self-publishing e.g. in a trusted repository, possibly with a publisher embargo) is equally supported in the UK HE sector. Because of the publicity around the Finch report, the Gold route seems to have had more publicity, thus creating some confusion about what is/isn’t allowable and supported.
5) OA can empower researchers by not only enabling them to share their work, but also giving them the opportunity to get more involved with the publishing process, and to have greater autonomy over what they publish and how they publish it.