Open Access Week begins

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For immediate release
October 19, 2009

For more information, contact:
Jennifer McLennan

(202) 631-8854
jennifer [at] arl [dot] org

First international awareness week for free, immediate, online access 
to scholarly research draws widespread global participation

WASHINGTON, DC – Today marks the beginning of the first-ever international awareness week for Open Access to research, October 19 – 23, 2009. Hundreds of leading academic and research sites in over 30 countries will mark the week in unique ways, and express their support for the advancement of knowledge through free, immediate, online access to the results of scholarly research.

Open Access Week is designed to help raise awareness of the potential benefits of Open Access to research and to celebrate milestones in making Open Access a norm in the conduct of science and scholarship. Momentum for the incorporation of openness into the fabric of science and scholarship has been steadily growing, as evidenced by the growing number of policies from public and private research funders (including the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the world’s largest biomedical research funder) and research producers on college and university campuses  (including Harvard University, MIT, University College London, the University of Kansas, and the University of Liege).

The momentum is also evident as research institutions, advocacy organizations, and others around the world will participate in the week and demonstrate the wide relevance of Open Access across disciplines and across constituencies. Activities include:

  • October 20 - The founder of the Worldwide Web, Tim Berners Lee, will receive an honorary doctorate from VU University Amsterdam. Dutch institutions will host special lectures, discussions, and symposia to inform researchers, teachers, and students about the advantages of Open Access and about how they can benefit and contribute. The higher education sector hopes that by providing examples and practical help, it can inspire present and future researchers to take advantage of the Web’s power to communicate science and scholarship. (
  • October 22 - The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) will host an in-depth discussion on the potential impact of Open Access on research, featuring George Strawn, Chief Information Officer of the National Science Foundation. NCAR researchers shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Vice President Al Gore, which was awarded for the work of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This weekend, NCAR announced it has adopted an Open Access policy that requires all peer-reviewed research published by its scientists and staff in scientific journals be made publicly available online through its institutional repository. The policy supports broader access to the cutting-edge research conducted at NCAR, covering climate, weather, air quality, and other areas vital to society and the environment. (
  • The Committee on Economic Development, which is dedicated to policy research on major economic and social issues and represents senior corporate executives and university leaders, will soon release a new report entitled, “Harnessing openness to improve research, teaching and learning in higher education.” The report analyzes how the institutions and processes of higher education can benefit from the application of greater openness through digital technologies.  In conjunction with Open Access Week, CED is pleased to make a pre-publication draft available to the SPARC community.  Formal announcement and publication of this report should take place later this month. (Update 11/16: the final CED report has been released and is online at
  • October 19 - One of the first open-access journals, which was launched in 2004 and quickly rose to become one the top-ranked journals in medicine – PLoS Medicine – will celebrate its fifth birthday. (
  • Also this weekend, the University of Salford in the UK announced the world’s 100th open-access mandate, indicating plans to implement a mandatory policy for all research active staff to deposit research information into its digital repository. (
  • Sixty institutions in Germany will participate in Open Access Week activities, in conjunction with the Alliance of National Science Organisations. Johannes Fournier of the German Research Foundation (DFG) formulated the goal of Open Access week, saying, "The individual institutions at local level are the best places to stimulate a discussion about Open Access. In this way, scientists and scholars can be addressed directly in their research environment." (
  • October 19 - McGill University in Quebec will host a free screening of the National Film Board of Canada's "RiP: Remix," a video exploration of creative reuse of materials with Web activist Brett Gaylor and musician Greg Gillis. The film has been an Official Selection at six international film festivals as well as the closing film at Docs Barcelona and named among Canada’s top 20 at the Victoria film festival. (
  • In Japan, there will be a week of events and activities highlighting the power of Open Access to advance, coordinated through a comprehensive Japanese-language Web resource at
  • October 19 - An Open Access Week event at the European Institute for Marine Sciences in Brest, France will offer the next generation of earth scientists practical advice on what Open Access can do to boost their early careers. The event is endorsed by the EUR-OCEANS Consortium. (
  • The Marine Biological Laboratory of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute continues to make Open Access a priority, using Open Access Week as an occasion to highlight its programs to support author rights retention and digital repository. (

For more information on these events, or to find activities in your region, visit

“We’re impressed and thrilled by the level of participation in Open Access Week 2009,” said Jennifer McLennan, Communications Director of SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition). “The commitment to opening access to research results, which we’re seeing grow on a global scale, is a sure sign that we’re not far away from bringing the full power of the Web to bear on advancing research, discovery, and innovation.”

“We’d like to express our deep thanks,” McLennan added, “to everyone making this week possible, including our fellow organizers, partners, and event coordinators everywhere.” SPARC has issued a video letter and welcome to Open Access Week 2009, online at

Open Access Week is organized by SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), the Public Library of Science, Students for Free Culture, eIFL, OASIS, Open Access Directory, JISC, and SURF. Promotional partners include SPARC Europe, SPARC Japan, Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden), Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (UK), SciELO-FAPESP-BIREME (Brazil), The Open Society Institute (New York & Budapest), SURF (The Netherlands), (Germany), The Public Knowledge Project (Canada), My Open Archive (Japan), DuraSpace (US), IssueLabs (US). For more information, visit

About SPARC 

SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), with SPARC Europe and SPARC Japan, is an international alliance of more than 800 academic and research libraries working to create a more open system of scholarly communication. SPARC’s advocacy, educational, and publisher partnership programs encourage expanded dissemination of research. Membership in SPARC is open to academic and research libraries of all sizes, which share interest in advancing scholarship through broadening access to research.