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Open Access Week

October 23, 2017

We’re celebrating Open Access Week, which is now in its tenth year. The theme for this international event is ‘Open in order to…’, which has prompted discussion from academic authors, libraries, research funders, and publishers about why we make research open access and what the benefits are, from expanding readership, reaching new audiences, inspiring others, to delivering tangible benefits.

In celebration of this event, we asked some of our authors and editors to discuss their commitments to Open Access publishing.

Channing Arndt and Finn Tarp, co-editors of Measuring Poverty and Wellbeing in Developing Countries

“We were very pleased to publish our book open access with Oxford University Press. While we hope that scholars and practitioners from all over the world will find the book and accompanying materials of value, a particular aim of the book is to reduce barriers to entry to the practice of rigorous quantitative measurement of poverty and wellbeing for scholars and practitioners in developing countries. The open access format takes many strides towards achieving this objective and complements nicely the planned availability of software, also in electronic format, designed to assist with practical estimation of measures based on consumption as well as an approach to multidimensional measurement of wellbeing.”

Delia Bentley, co-author of Existentials and Locatives in Romance Dialects of Italy

“Open Access (OA) maximises the impact of academic research, without affecting the quality of refereeing. Our 2015 Oxford University Press OA monograph was immediately made available on Oxford Scholarship Online, while at the same time we received an integral PDF copy for our personal web pages and institutional repository. In the first year after its publication, our OA monograph was accessed over one thousand times. It was also published as a book, and there is no evidence that its availability online has affected sales. The support of our library staff was essential when we made the decision to opt for OA. We would no doubt do this again in the future. Refereeing and publication traditionally used to be very lengthy processes, in linguistics, which is really suboptimal in a scientific field of research. There is thus strong support for Open Access, in all its forms, since it facilitates the timely and global circulation of ideas.”

Duncan Green, author of How Change Happens

“The traditional author descends from the mountain of scholarship clutching a rather expensive tablet of stone, in which his/her wisdom is set out to a suitably grateful but very passive public. Think of force-feeding geese. Appropriately for a book about change, we tried to do things differently. Oxfam and Oxford University Press wanted to try out different business models which included open access (OA). The book has drawn on the ‘wisdom of crowds’ at regular intervals throughout its production. We invited comments on the writing (with the blog acting as the first draft), and included three potential designs for a cover which we put out for votes. Following publication, we went into social media overdrive – a funky new website with lots of background materials on the themes covered in the book, a guide to the various launch events, blogs and tweets, and now a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) and other teaching packages based on the book. Exciting stuff!”

Peter Smith and David Ross, co-editors of Field Trials of Health Interventions: a Toolbox (available through Oxford Medicine Online)

“When we published the third edition of this work, we were particularly keen that the material would be readily available, at no cost, to research workers in low and middle income countries (LMICs). The book is focused on the conduct of intervention trials in such countries but access to the printed versions has been challenging in some locations. We obtained support from the Wellcome Trust and the World Health Organisation to make the third edition freely available, both as a hyperlinked PDF version and on Oxford Medicine Online, as well as being available for purchase as a printed book. We’ve been delighted by the response and know that it has already been incorporated into a number of teaching programmes, as well as extensively downloaded by those conducting field trials in LMICs. By publishing it electronically under a CC-BY-NC Creative Commons licence, anyone can redistribute the PDF and any parts of it can be incorporated into teaching and similar materials for non-commercial purposes. Publishing in this way has been a very positive experience for us as editors of the book, and has strengthened our belief that many more books, whose contents are of special interest to those in LMICs, should be published in this way.”