Set the Default to Open Access: OA Week @ HLS

Langdell DoorsOpen Access (OA) Week <>, now in its sixth year, is a global event promoting free, immediate, online access to scholarly research. Harvard will participate in OA Week locally by offering two public events that engage with this year’s theme, “Set the default to open access.”

On October 23rd at 12:30, the Berkman Center for Internet & Society and the Office for Scholarly Communication will host a forum entitled “How to Make Your Research Open Access (Whether You’re at Harvard or Not).” OA advocates Peter Suber and Stuart Shieber will headline the session, answering questions on any aspect of open access and recommending concrete steps for making your work open access. The event will be held at the Berkman Center, 23 Everett Street, 2nd Floor. The Berkman Center will also stream the discussion live online. See the Berkman website for more information and to RSVP <>.

On October 24, a panel of experts will consider efforts by the National Institutes of Health to ensure public access to the published results of federally funded research. “Open Access to Health Research: Future Directions for the NIH Public Access Policy” will feature a discussion of the challenges and opportunities for increasing compliance with the NIH policy. The event, co-sponsored by the Office for Scholarly Communication, Right to Research Coalition, and Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, will be held at the Harvard Law School in WCC, room 3019. More information is available at <>.

Harvard’s OA Week events highlight the University’s leadership in open access, a movement dedicated to transforming the traditional closed and costly system for the distribution of scholarly knowledge into one that opens the world of learning to people around the globe.

In 2008, Harvard’s FAS faculty unanimously voted to implement a school-wide Open Access Policy—the first of its kind in the United States. Since then, six other Harvard schools have adopted open-access policies. Beyond our gates, the University’s OA Policy has become a model for policies at institutions such as MIT, Stanford, and Duke.

Harvard also provides free, public access to DASH, a digital repository of scholarly articles by Harvard faculty and researchers. Since it was launched in 2009, DASH has grown into a rich resource: at last count, the 8,500 works collected in DASH, representing knowledge from a variety of disciplines and schools, have been downloaded over one million times by readers from every continent on Earth.

Harvard continues to open its rich resources to the world in other ways. In April, the library made more than twelve million catalog records publicly available; these data offer both pragmatic opportunities and boundless potential for experimental applications. The Library Council has also spoken out on the unsustainable and restrictive nature of many major publishers’ journal pricing structures, encouraging students, faculty, and library staff to participate more actively in open access efforts.

Harvard also champions openness in national policy, most recently by responding to the request for information concerning public access to research by the White House Office for Science and Technology and offering testimony about open access before a House subcommittee on Science, Space and Technology.

These efforts across Harvard are being undertake to increase access to knowledge locally and globally. This year’s OA Week events offer a unique opportunity to gather together, learn about, and engage in a lively discussion of opening access to research.

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