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Open Access Week 2012: Open Access at Harvard

Open Access Week runs from October 22 to 28.


October 23, 2012—October 22 to 28 is Open Access Week—an international initiative to promote open access, which Peter Suber—director of the Harvard Open Access Project and author of Open Access—describes as “literature [that] is digital, online, free of charge and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.”


In anticipation of Open Access Week, Suber and Stuart Shieber released "Good Practices for University Open-Access Policies,” an online guide to good practices for university open access (OA). Shieber is the James O. Welch, Jr. and Virginia B. Welch Professor of Computer Science at SEAS, faculty director of the Office for Scholarly Communication (OSC) and co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society.


Harvard, considered a leader in the OA movement, launched the OSC, which spearheads campus-wide initiatives to open, share and preserve scholarship, in 2008. One year later, the OSC created an open access repository, Digital Access to Scholarship at Harvard (DASH). Since its founding, more than 8,200 articles have been deposited in DASH—most of which are peer-reviewed manuscripts published in scholarly journals.


Works in DASH have been downloaded more than one million times, and two-thirds of these downloads originated outside of the United States. Half of those were from developing countries. Tom Dodson, program coordinator for OSC, notes that “Researchers in these countries often have limited access to paid-subscription journals, so having access to free manuscripts is an invaluable resource for them.” The OSC partners with liaisons University-wide to educate faculty about OA and assist them with making their work publically available.


Seven of Harvard’s Schools have OA policies, and at the Harvard Law School, June Casey—the school’s open-access liaison—led a student-targeted campaign to raise awareness about open access. “If students are aware of the benefits of open access, then they can help spread that awareness throughout the Law School community,” said Casey. “In fact, one Open Access Week event on the Law School campus was organized by student Adrianna Benedict.”


This week, the OSC organized an event honoring faculty members who have been most involved with promoting open access, either by submitting articles to DASH or working to assist the OSC with its education and outreach efforts among faculty. The OSC and Harvard Open Access Project also hosted the forum How to Make Your Research Open Access (Whether You're at Harvard or Not), an open discussion on the Harvard OA policies, concrete steps for making your work OA and questions on any aspect of OA, especially from the perspective of publishing researchers.


Attend the final Open Access Week event on Wednesday:


October 24 12-1:30 pm
Open Access to Health Research: Future Directions for the NIH Public Access Policy
Wasserstein Hall, Room 3019


View the list of open-access liaisons here.