Monday, July 1, 2024 News

Open Access 101: Foundations for OA Work in a Rapidly Evolving Landscape

Open Access

Open Access (OA) has emerged as a significant area of academic library work across the higher ed landscape, impacting nearly everyone in the profession. It affects management at all levels, outreach, collection development, technical services, and public services operations, as well as dedicated scholarly communication staff. Open Access is evolving so quickly that getting and maintaining a hand-hold can be challenging—particularly for folks who are gaining responsibilities related to OA for the first time.

To address this, SPARC is collaborating with the the team behind the Scholarly Communication Notebook (Josh Bolick, Maria Bonn, and Will Cross) to host a three-part series meant to provide an entry point to OA work in libraries as well as a refresher for those already doing this work. In the first session, we’ll cover foundational principles like definitions and development of OA. In the second, we’ll examine a few case studies to see how a variety of institutions implement OA services and support. Finally, we’ll dig into some of the trickier issues that have recently emerged in this contested space. No prior knowledge or experience is necessary, and all are welcome. 

These sessions are open to anyone working in libraries, and participants can register for just those sessions that are of interest. SPARC membership is NOT required, and our goal in this series is to support the wider community, particularly those at institutions with fewer resources to support OA-related work. 

Session 1: OA Foundations

August 6th from 3-4pm EDT / 12-1pm PDT [register here]

Open Access (OA) is a well-established mode of distributing scholarly research that impacts academic libraries and librarians at every level. We all have a role to play in this rapidly evolving landscape. If you’re feeling unclear on foundational concepts, or want a refresher, this session is for you. We’ll cover the basics, including definitions, the development and aspirations of the OA movement, approaches, challenges, and what basic outreach might look like, as well as entry level resources for learning more. Zero previous experience is expected or required. This session is the anchor of a three-part series which also includes OA Case Studies and Emerging Issues in OA.

Session 2: OA Case Studies 

August 20th from 3-4pm EDT / 12-1pm PDT [register here]

This session will deepen your understanding of Open Access by providing a set of specific case studies. We will discuss three major areas of work: supporting OA through licensing agreements and policies, empowering scholars with new literacies, and supporting access and discovery through repositories. Each area will be grounded in the work of specific institutions which run the gamut from large public R1s to smaller regional institutions. We will also invite you to share case studies from your own institution and those that inspire you. We hope you will leave with a clearer sense of what Open Access looks like on the ground and a set of compelling models for doing the work at a diverse set of institutions, including your own.

Session 3: Emerging Issues in OA

September 10th from 3-4pm EDT / 12-1pm PDT [register here]

As demonstrated in our earlier sessions, Open Access (OA) has gained traction over the last three decades, and its principles and practices are widely applied across scholarly disciplines. That application has surfaced a number of issues that have complicated the adoption of OA—particularly its effectiveness in advancing equity. As OA has evolved, so have the possible barriers to adoption and dilemmas in whose interests are prioritized. This session will explore some of the ways in which the aspirations and benefits of OA are complicated by the legal, technical, and sociocultural context in which we work.

Recordings of each session will be made available afterward. This series is a pilot, and based on feedback from the community, SPARC may explore further work in this area.

The OA 101 Series will be led by Josh Bolick, Maria Bonn, and Will Cross and build off of their work on the Scholarly Communication Notebook and recently published book, Scholarly Communication Librarianship and Open Knowledge.

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