“Community over Commercialization” is the theme for this year’s International Open Access Week (October 23-29). This theme encourages a candid conversation about which approaches to open scholarship prioritize the best interests of the public and the academic community—and which do not.
Adopted by its 193 Member States, the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science highlights the need to prioritize community over commercialization in its calls for the prevention of “inequitable extraction of profit from publicly funded scientific activities” and support for “non-commercial publishing models and collaborative publishing models with no article processing charges.” By focusing on these areas, we can achieve the original vision outlined when open access was first defined: “an old tradition and a new technology have converged to make possible an unprecedented public good.”
When commercial interests are prioritized over those of the communities that research seeks to serve, many concerning issues arise. Open Access Week provides an opportunity for individuals to discuss questions that are most relevant in their local context. These might include: What is lost when a shrinking number of corporations control knowledge production rather than researchers themselves? What is the cost of business models that entrench extreme levels of profit? When does the collection and use of personal data begin to undermine academic freedom? Can commercialization ever work in support of the public interest? What options for using community-controlled infrastructure already exist that might better serve the interests of the research community and the public (such as preprint servers, repositories, and open publishing platforms)? How can we shift the default toward using these community-minded options?
Selected by the Open Access Week Advisory Committee, this year’s theme provides an opportunity to join together, take action, and raise awareness around the importance of community control of knowledge sharing systems. Open Access Week 2023 will be held from October 23rd through the 29th; however, anyone is encouraged to host discussions and take action whenever is most suitable during the year and to adapt the theme and activities to their local context.
For more information about International Open Access Week, please visit openaccessweek.org. The official twitter hashtag for the week is #OAWeek.
SPARC is a non-profit advocacy organization that supports systems for research and education that are open by default and equitable by design. We believe everyone should be able to access and contribute to the knowledge that shapes our world. International Open Access Week was established by SPARC and partners in the student community in 2008. Learn more at sparcopen.org.
About International Open Access Week
Open Access Week is an invaluable chance to connect the global momentum toward the open sharing of knowledge with the advancement of policy changes and the importance of social issues affecting people around the world. The event is celebrated by individuals, institutions, and organizations around the world, and its organization is led by a global advisory committee. The official hashtag of Open Access Week is #OAweek.