By Christina Lenz, Managing Editor at Stockholm University Press
‘I’m full of inspiration and I will bring it back to my institution, hoping it will help us to develop Open Science and Open Access in my country. Thank you!’
In September Stockholm University Library hosted an Erasmus Staff Week for Librarians Towards Open Science.
Strengthening collaborations between universities
18 librarians from 13 institutions from all around Europe came to discuss Open Science with focus on the transition towards Open Access. The purpose of this week was to strengthen collaborations with other universities working actively promoting Open Access and Open Science.
The interest in taking part was mainly because Sweden, and in particular Stockholm University, has received a lot of international attention when the agreement with Elsevier was cancelled, which was also one of the topics of discussion during the week.
The program included lectures, presentations, workshops, study visits and the opportunity for networking. Stockholm University Press led a workshop on how to start up a university press.
One attendee was a representative from FAU University Press (Friedrich-Alexander University, Erlanger-Nürnberg, Germany). Others came from libraries more focused on publishing support. Questions and discussions were raised on what kind of publishing support libraries should focus on, specific questions regarding CC-licenses, copyright, quality assurance, and how to educate the researchers on Open Access publishing.
Similarities, differences and challenges
There are national differences, and differences among institutions within the same country, on how universities work with Open Science and what mandate university libraries have. Some universities have veritable Open Science Centers, some do not have support on Open Science for researchers at all. Several of the participants’ universities have Open Access policies, while others work with other tools to promote Open Access. The approach is different; there are centralized approaches, as in Sweden and Finland, whereas in some southern European countries there are not always centralized decisions.
The participants came from both smaller and larger institutions, but many experienced similar challenges. In spite of the similarities, challenges are sometimes dealt with differently. One example are the resources, when it comes to both money and people. Some pointed out the leadership of the institution, others the resistance and ignorance among some researchers about Open Access and Open Data. Impact factor is always an issue that needs to be considered, also Plan S which is challenging for all stakeholders, and to find sustainable governing bodies for Open Access.
On the other hand, there is an information overload for researchers. So, how do we communicate with researchers and try to make them go in the “right” direction? How do we change their mindset?
Open for whom?
For whom should research be open? The reasons for working with Open Access and help researchers publish their research Open Access, all agreed on. It should be open for everyone, to have equity in open knowledge. Research that is openly accessible is a necessity for all layers in the foundation for future research, and enables citizens to access scientific information. It is also an important step towards a more sustainable societal development, something that is in the interest of all institutions worldwide – and of everyone.
Open Access and Open Science is definitely a strong global movement for university libraries to focus on – it is all about sharing research openly. Some of the outcomes were:
‘Open Access and Open Science is a necessity and I will be much, much more sure of myself talking about Open Access.’
‘“Stealing” from the other participants presentations, is not stealing, it’s sharing’ – just as we need to help researchers share their research openly.’
To summarize the week, the participants felt strongly equipped with confidence. The week was encouraging, knowing that all countries are doing something, and to have a new international network that could support the individual librarian’s daily work with Open Science.