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Open Access Week 2021 – Building Structural Equity

From October 25 to 31, 2021, The University of Guelph Library is celebrating Open Access Week, an annual international campaign that aims to raise awareness about free and open online access to academic information. This year's theme focuses on creating equitable access, centering around the theme “It Matters How We Open Knowledge: Building Structural Equity.” Open access (OA) is something that can benefit everyone — it doesn’t matter if you are a researcher, instructor, faculty, or student at U of G, or a member of the community, open access is for you. 

Open Science 

Researchers around the world can use open science to make their own research accessible and access others’ research. Recently, UNESCO has released its recommendation on Open Science which will serve as a guide for governments as they move to implement open research practices. Similarly, the Roadmap for Open Science was published by the Canadian Government in 2020, with a vision “to make Canadian science open to all, maximizing benefits for the well-being, health and economy of our country.” For an example of open science closer to home, check out our own Centre for Biodiversity Genomics

We’ve all been affected in some way by COVID-19. The pandemic has enabled us to see the impact of the accelerated sharing of data and research. Governments, NGOs, and research institutes have pooled together resources to respond scientifically and socially to the pandemic.

Some examples are: 

Impact on Education 

COVID-19 has had an impact on education as well, as the shift to online learning has highlighted the barriers presented by the lack of access to online texts. Leading up to the fall semester, the library published an article on the challenges commercial textbooks present in the virtual environment, and the struggle it can be to provide access to students in a primarily online environment. We continue to support faculty and instructors to explore and identify textbook alternatives including the adoption of open educational resources (OER), licensing of e-books, and creating online course packs through Ares to build more equitable foundations for sharing knowledge. 

How you can get involved 

Many institutions around the world are holding free and open events for Open Access Week — view all Open Access Week events

The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) is offering a series of webinars on Open AIRE, a European-based infrastructure for open scholarship. To learn more, you can also view the resources available on the CARL Open Access webpage

Open Educational Resources 

If you’re a faculty member or instructor interested in learning more about open educational resources and how you can use them in your courses, we can help! Check out this short video to learn why open education matters to your U of G colleagues or take the CARL Open Copyright Course

Open Scholarship Support 

We can support you in all open related scholarly pursuits including managing, preserving, and sharing your data and consultations on author rights, grants compliance, and ensuring researchers can share their works. Visit the library’s open access publishing page to learn more.

Investing in Open 

At the University of Guelph, we believe in open! The library has implemented a cross-team Open Investment Strategy Committee to position the library as the hub of open initiatives in order to enhance sharing of educational materials and research outputs.

The committee’s mandate is to: 

  • Develop and drive an “Open Investment” strategy to help transform the scholarly communications landscape into a more open, equitable, and financially sustainable eco-system 

  • Maintain and further develop as necessary evaluation criteria for OA investments 

  • Manage OA collections budget 

  • Maintain list of OA investments on the library website

  • Work with partners – across Ontario, Canada, and beyond – to further OA priorities 

Learn more here about open access publishing at the University of Guelph.

Questions? 

Ask us. We’re here to help.