International Open Access Week 2022, set for Oct. 24–30 with the theme of “Open for Climate Justice,” seeks to encourage connection and collaboration among the climate movement and the international open community. Sharing knowledge is a human right, say organizers, and tackling the climate crisis requires the rapid exchange of knowledge across geographic, economic, and disciplinary boundaries.
Washington State University Vancouver climate researcher John Harrison agrees. To ensure researchers have access to his work, Harrison publishes in open access journals and/or pays for open access when he has sufficient resources. He has also started publishing paper-related datasets in public repositories.
“Making climate information freely available is absolutely critical for advancing the science and for disseminating knowledge to communities and individuals who might not have access to institutional subscriptions,” said Harrison, whose research group studies global change and watershed biogeochemistry.
WSU anthropologist Tim Kohler also publishes his climate research through open access avenues when possible, from his contributions to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Sixth Assessment Report to articles from his WSU website.
“I have to add though that sometimes publishing open access can be a bit of a burden, since publishers often charge for the privilege,” Kohler said. “It would be desirable if a way could be found to make all such research open access, without a fee.”
A national move to more open access publishing
A new federal initiative will make open access publishing easier for researchers like Harrison and Kohler. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a memo in August updating U.S. policy guidance to make the results of taxpayer-supported research immediately available to the American public at no cost. All federal agencies will fully implement updated policies, including ending the optional 12‑month embargo, no later than Dec. 31, 2025.
“When research is widely available to other researchers and the public, it can save lives, provide policymakers with the tools to make critical decisions, and drive more equitable outcomes across every sector of society,” said Alondra Nelson, head of OSTP. “The American people fund tens of billions of dollars of cutting-edge research annually. There should be no delay or barrier between the American public and the returns on their investments in research.”
WSU resources for creating open access scholarship
WSU scholarly communication librarian Talea Anderson said WSU Libraries support open access by providing venues where researchers can share their research with the general public. For example, any WSU researcher can use Research Exchange, WSU’s repository of institutional scholarship, to share their scholarly work, including articles, presentations, dissertations, grey literature, reports, photos, educational materials, and more.
For Open Access Week, Anderson will present a demonstration of Research Exchange via Zoom from 9:30–10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25. Register to attend the demo using a Qualtrics form.
In addition, as part of WSU Libraries’ renewal of their Wiley contract, WSU authors can now have articles published in roughly 1,400 different Wiley journals using an open access license without paying an article processing charge. The service is available until the end of 2024. Learn more with this guide to open access publishing agreements at WSU Libraries.
“We want to do everything we can to support open access publishing because we believe it’s an important tool for confronting inequities in the world,” Anderson said. “We can’t solve problems like climate change unless everyone has a chance to access and contribute to academic publishing.”