Open access is important because, simply put: if research is not accessible it will not be read. If it is not read then citations, media attention, tweets, blog-based reviews and any related policy influence will not follow. Ensuring that research is made accessible can enhance its reach to both academic and non-academic audiences.
Open access does not just mean that a research article is free to access. It means that the research article download is accessible using a limited bandwidth and that the article will be free to access after the life cycle of the project, or when the research funding has ended.
There has been a proliferation of peer-to-peer platforms designed to share articles, data sets, and research presentations. Some examples include: Slideshare, Figshare, Mendeley, Academia.edu and ResearchGate.
Here at R2A we have pulled together a reading list of some key resources about open access.
- ‘Open Access: What’s that about?‘ provides a useful introduction and overview of open access designed for those new to the topic. It also contains a list of open-access projects, websites, and articles.
- ‘Open Access Explained!‘ is a fantastic animated introduction to open access produced by PhD Comics.
- Duncan Edward’s blog ‘Open data and increasing the impact of research? It’s a piece of cake!‘ explains how open data fits within a Theory of Change about how research knowledge can influence development.
- Roger Harris reflects on the question ‘Does open science support open knowledge?‘ in this blog and presents the findings from a survey of ICT4D researchers about various aspects of achieving impact.
- ‘Accessing peer review through open access‘ is a brief guide for researchers about locating and downloading peer-reviewed articles on climate change.
- DFID’s ‘Research Open- and Enhanced-Access Policy‘ and ‘Implementation Guide‘ give an overview of what DFID expects of funded research projects in terms of open access. DFID defines open access as ‘irrevocable and free online access by any user worldwide to full text/full version scientific and scholarly material (‘outputs’)’.
- Aptivate’s ‘Web design guidelines for low bandwidth‘ provide guidelines, good practice, and tips on how to ensure that web pages and downloads of research resources are accessible whilst using limited bandwidths.
- ‘What you need to know about the REF open access policy‘ by Mafalda Marques on the Jisc Blog explains the implications of the Research Excellence Framework in the UK, including open access into their ongoing evaluation of higher education institutions.
- International Open Access Week is organised each year by SPARC to promote open access and increase awareness of its importance. In 2017 Open Access week takes place 23–29 October.
- The Open Access Button and ImpactStory’s new Unpaywall button offer a way to locate open access research using an extension attached to an internet browser.
Find more information about open access and reflections about putting open access into practice, in the open access collection on Research to Action.
This resource list is intended to be dynamic. We welcome your input and any suggested resources in the comment section below or alternatively, you can tweet them to us via @Research2Action.