This week is Open Access Week, an international week for celebrating and reflecting on successes and challenges with open access. For some years, INASP has worked with partners to support their activities to promote access in a way that is appropriate to their countries and research contexts. This year we have asked some of the people we work with to share their reflections on enabling equitable participation in open research.
In this post, librarian Josiline Chigwada shares what her library is doing to promote open access in Bindura University of Science Education, Zimbabwe.
Librarians have a big role to play in ensuring that there is equitable participation in open research. Many researchers do not know much about open access (OA), leading to various views and perceptions towards the subject. Librarians can help build capacity and educate researchers on the importance and benefits of OA as a way of encouraging researchers to participate towards open research and open science.
At Bindura University of Science Education (BUSE), the librarians engage in various activities to promote open research and we join the rest of the world in commemorating the annual International Open Access Week. A recent highlight was our 2016 Open Access Week celebrations, which concluded with the signing of the Berlin Declaration by our Vice Chancellor.
This year, the following activities are going on:
- Display at the library foyer showcasing OA resources that can be used by library patrons during research; banners and posters are being displayed and brochures distributed to visitors who come to the OA stand.
- An OA lecture for undergraduate students including a question and answer session with prizes for the participants.
- Use of social media platforms (twitter and Facebook) to provide updates on the activities taking place throughout the week.
- A webpage on the library website showcasing the activities lined up for the Open Access Week.
Our library has also used other approaches to create awareness of OA and demystify the myths. These have included: talking about open research in meetings and informally as a way of using word of mouth to spread information; holding seminars and workshops and inviting influential people to talk about OA; building and populating the institutional repository; engaging library ambassadors in the form of students and staff who are knowledgeable about library issues and events so that they can spread the word to the other students; and teaching students about open research during information literacy training. OA is also part of the information literacy module that is offered to all the first-year students at BUSE.
If you have stories to share of things you are doing for Open Access Week, do share your ideas in the comments or in the AuthorAID discussion forums.