Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Open Access Week 2015 - Open for Collaboration

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Open Access Week is a global event that runs from October 19 to 25 and is intended to highlight the Open Access Movement, which encourages unrestricted online access to research.

Traditional models of scholarly publishing keep research publications inaccessible behind costly subscription fees, requiring researchers and students to be affiliated with large academic institutions to gain access to them. With the shift to electronic publication in academia over the last twenty-five years, there is a growing consensus that the restrictions of the old publishing models are no longer conducive to nurturing research. The cost of academic journal subscriptions is also becoming a large monetary burden on institutions as they work to provide their scholars with access to the information they need. The Open Access Movement encourages journals to publish their content online so that it is freely available to everyone, increasing the exposure of the research it publishes and advancing the overall impact of the scholarship.

This past year was a particularly big year for open access in Canada with the announcement of the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications. The three largest federal research funding agencies in Canada imposed a new policy, whereby any research funded by these agencies will have to be made freely available either through an open access journal or online repository within twelve months of publication.

The University of Alberta Libraries is a strong proponent of the Open Access Movement. To celebrate the spirit of open access, librarians from the libraries' scholarly communications working group have engaged with design students to create an interactive exhibition in the Rutherford Library Galleria. This collaboration has grown over the past three years between the Libraries and the Department of Art and Design. It provides the Libraries with a way to connect with students, and to communicate issues around scholarly publishing. Students are introduced to the concepts of open access and then encouraged to produce installation pieces that express the movement. Past exhibits have featured large tape-art works, floor mazes and post-it note walls where the community could publicly write their about their views on open access.

This year's exhibition theme is "Open for Collaboration" and will feature ten large interactive installations made by students in DES 493. Works will include optical illusions, a Newton's cradle, a massive Rubik's cube and much more. The exhibition posters and graphics were designed by design student Yang Lan Tian Zhang.

The Libraries welcomes the community to a reception in the Rutherford Galleria on Tuesday October 20 at 6:30 pm to launch the exhibition.

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