Open-Access-Tage 2015

Open-Access-Tage 2015 (Open Access Days 2015) took place 7-8 September in Zurich, Switzerland. The conference highlighted that Open Access (OA) and Open Science (OS) now reach a multitude of stakeholders, though each are impacted at different levels and in various forms. This diversity of knowledge and requirements increasingly requires information exchange and coordination. In Switzerland, there is a proliferation of central stakeholders: the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation, swissuniversities, including their university libraries, and the Swiss National Science Foundation. The OA situation in the Netherlands, meanwhile, was outlined by Kurt De Belder in a talk which described valuable reference points for collaboration (presentation online).

banner_hochformatOne of OA Tage’s recurring subjects was the costs of publishing. Across the academic world, the traditional publishing system offers huge profits to a few commercial publishing houses. Substantial revenues are generated by licensing electronic journal packages, big deals and annual price increases. These revenues, of course, are paid from library budgets which are public funds.

OA and OS offer the chance to change this seeming injustice, while also offering researchers better visibility and re-use rights. Yet although an open cost-benefit analysis would help immeasurably in understanding the possible financial savings to be won through OA, the financial dealings of most commercial providers are confidential. Hence, it was a great help that the conference offered intriguing insights into these dealings and thereby contributed to the required cost transparency of academic publishing. This will help institutions and researchers in evaluating and comparing services and also in keeping administrative costs to a minimum.

Copyright was also a hot issue, with the legal situation regarding copyright remaining a challenge as legal formulations for a secondary publication right are country-specific and must be well thought out so as not to lead to unintended or restrictive interpretations.

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Research Data Management (RDM) is no less complex, but many use cases, interoperability guidelines and developments showcased in three sessions are plainly headed in the right direction. To foster collaboration between repositories and important stakeholders an OpenAIRE2020 workshop presented best practices from various institutions regarding reporting EU-funded publications and data sets. In addition, the recently launched FP7 Post-Grant Open Access Pilot was presented (presentation online) and compared to results of the DFG Gold Open Access funding scheme. The session was completed by a practical implementation of Zenodo ‘s collections feature to curate an institutional repository for higher education in Luzern.

Further conference highlights included specific features and requirements of Open Access in social sciences and humanities (presentation online) and new models of scientific publishing (see: https://www.sciencematters.io/).

Open Access was born over 10 years ago. It is now a teenager. Unsurprisingly, rebellion coupled with uncertainty is prevailing – as was the case with the recent negative reactions to Elsevier’s new sharing policy. Nevertheless, these are exciting times for Open Access and Open Science.

For more information, see: http://open-access.net/CH-DE/community/open-access-tage/open-access-tage-2015-zuerich/.

André Hoffmann

Information specialist at the Main Library University of Zurich. National Open Access Desk for Switzerland.

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