Monday, July 10, 2017 News

OpenCon Issues Report Focused on Designing Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive Events

Open Access   ·   Open Data   ·   Open Education

For Immediate Release
Contact: Ranit Schmelzer, 202.538.1065, [email protected]

OpenCon Issues Report Focused on Designing Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive Events

Organizers of Global “Next Generation” Conference Aim to Identify and Encourage Adoption of Inclusive Practices

Washington, DC (July 10, 2017) – The organizers of OpenCon, a global community and conference series that aims to empower the next generation to advance openness in research and education, today released a report focused on minimizing barriers to participation in conferences that convene academic communities. The report includes relevant lessons learned in organizing the first three OpenCon global conferences, a conference planning checklist based on those learnings, and a self-assessment of OpenCon’s global meetings to date.

The report is available at

The OpenCon Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Report was created to keep OpenCon—and its commitments and values—transparent and accountable to the community, while raising the visibility of these issues for other conference organizers. The report seeks to spark a conversation about how academic communities can be more diverse, equitable and inclusive, starting with the spaces where communities convene in person. These issues have been identified as fundamental by the next generation of academic professionals working to open up research and education through the OpenCon community.

“We understand that OpenCon still has significant work to do with respect to building diversity, equity, and inclusion into all aspects of our work,” said Lorraine Chuen, Communications & Satellite Event Coordinator for the Right to Research Coalition and lead author of the report. “We hope this report can be the start of an ongoing conversation—both within the OpenCon network and with the wider community—to continually improve our efforts and help others to do the same.”

The report covers decisions around choosing venues, minimizing financial barriers, ensuring that voices from underrepresented and marginalized groups are prioritized and heard, and more. The document draws on lessons learned from planning OpenCon as well as external resources on accessible event planning. The report also includes detailed demographic data on OpenCon’s participants, speakers, and organizing committees, as well as a self-assessment based on that data.

“While we work to create a more equitable system for sharing the world’s knowledge, we must also constantly work to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community for those who are building open research and educational systems,” said Nick Shockey, Director of Programs & Engagement for SPARC which began organizing OpenCon in 2014. “This commitment is fundamental to the next generation of leaders within the OpenCon community. This report will both ensure accountability to this commitment and share the lessons we’ve learned with others who can put them to use at their conferences and in their communities.”

In addition to the document released today, the report is intended to be a living digital document and has been posted online using GitHub, where anyone is welcome to provide feedback, contributions, corrections, or additions. The digital version of the report is available at and details on how to contribute can be found at:

OpenCon’s 2017 global conference will take place in Berlin on November 11-13, and attendance is by application only. This year’s application process will remain open until August 1st at 11:59pm U.S. Pacific Time. The application to attend OpenCon 2017 is available at


Launched by SPARC and the Right to Research Coalition in 2014, OpenCon is a platform for creating, empowering, and connecting the next generation of leaders to open up research and education—in each discipline and in every corner of the globe. OpenCon is comprised of an annual global conference, dozens of satellite events hosted locally around the world, and a year round online community. OpenCon 2017 will take place in Berlin on November 11-13, and the application to attend is available at Learn more about OpenCon at

SPARC®, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, is a global coalition committed to making Open the default for research and education. SPARC empowers people to solve big problems and make new discoveries through the adoption of policies and practices that advance Open Access, Open Data, and Open Education. Learn more at

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