AOASG in 2013: That was the year that was

As we wind up towards the end of 2013, it is a good time to reflect on achievements during the inaugural year of the Australian Open Access Support Group.

The formation of the AOASG was announced during OAWk in 2012 in with the commitment of representatives from six universities – the Australian National University, Charles Sturt University, Macquarie University, Newcastle University, Queensland University of Technology and Victoria University. Work commenced in January this year.

Online presence

The AOASG produces resources and information about open access around the world, with a focus on Australia which is published on the website. The 21 posts and 38 webpages include Australian-specific OA lists, information about Australian mandates, downloadable resources for OA advocacy, blogs explaining OA news events and blogs including commentary and observation.

The website has been heavily used with 32,500 views since the site went live in February. The busiest month was October, coinciding with Open Access Week.

The most popular blog has been “So you want people to read your thesis?”   with 2,500 views. With 1500 views, the most used list is Australian OA journals. There has been great interest in blogs about journal editors,  copyright management and altmetrics.

Informing the discussion

One of the goals of the AOASG is to inform the discussion about open access in Australia. To that end, the group prepared a submission to the “Assessing Research Impact” government discussion paper.

This has been a big year for open access in Australia with four universities announcing their open access policies – taking the total number of universities with open access policies to 10 – one quarter of all Australian universities.  Both the ARC and NHMRC open access policies coming into effect. To assist with this implementation the group prepared some information for the AOASG website. These pages have been heavily used with over 2,500 views of the comparison of the policies, the compliance graphic and the policy compliance decision tree. This tree is replicated on the ARC website.

As an Open Access Week event, the AOASG in conjunction with the ANU organised the CEOs of the NHMRC (Professor Warwick Anderson) and the ARC (Professor Adrian Byrne) to meet for a discussion about their policies. This was filmed and is available on You Tube.

It was gratifying that the then Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education invited the AOASG to contribute a feature article to the Australian Innovation System Report 2013 which was published in early November.

Broader impact?

One word that has had been widely used in the research assessment environment in 2013 is ‘impact’. It is worth considering the impact some of AOASG’s work this year. Many of the blogs on the AOASG site have gone on to have lives beyond the website:

Sometimes the impact comes from unexpected places. The AOASG received an email from a director of a communications company in the US thanking us for the blog ‘Shall we sing in CHORUS or just SHARE?’ , saying “I appreciate your effort to look at both initiatives without prejudice and simply to ask the salient questions about their potential weak points. Nicely done and much appreciated!”

A life of their own

One of the resources on the website has gone on to have a life of its own. The decision tree for dealing with the new Australian open access policies has not only had a high number of hits, but the graphic was also
Altered policy decision treenoticed by a collaboration of US & UK open access advocates – SV-POW! who felt that the decision tree did not go far enough. One of them, Mike Taylor* altered the flowchart and reposted it (as the image was released under a CC-BY license this is perfectly fine).  The new flowchart is copied on this page, but the post is here and this new
version was also picked up and blogged in (I think) Indonesia.

(*Thanks Mike for letting us know of your authorship – attribution added 24 December.)

Other communication

Many visitors come to the site directly through clicking the links in posts to the Australian Open Access Community Discussion List. The list has over 230 members coming from a range of backgrounds. The largest group is librarians (72%) – from universities, research institution and government departments. The remainder of the list is filled in equal proportions by researchers, government administration and university administration.

The Twitter feed @openaccess_oz has sent over 1300 tweets to the 500+ followers and is the way 25% of people visiting the website find resources. The statistics for the AOASG website also indicate that over the year approximately 60% of visitors come to the site from search engines, 12% from other blogs and 6% from Facebook (with the remainder from a variety of places).

The AOASG will be exploring new options for communicating with the community in 2014.

Media interest

The AOASG has published articles and blogs in other outlets. Our stories published in The Conversation have been very popular. ‘Busting the top 5 myths about open access’ , published 11 July was viewed over 5000 times. ‘What is open access and why should we care?’ , published on 15 January had nearly 4000 views and the article on the UK sister website – ‘UK’s OA policies have global consequences’ – published 17 September had about 1500 views.

The AOASG has also been interviewed and appeared on television (The Project in January), radio ABC’s AM radio program and in The Australian newspaper. During OAWk Danny Kingsley participated in an online experts forum for The Guardian in the UK.

Face time

The AOASG has been invited to speak at a variety of events during the year ranging from presentations at individual universities, to workshops and presentations to industry meetings – for example, the CPA Researcher summit, Western Australian Group of University Librarians (WAGUL), Australian Association of Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI), and the CAUL Repository Community Days.

The AOASG was also invited to speak at the National Scholarly Communication Forum held in May at ANU and at the Towards Research Excellence summit held in December in Melbourne.

There have also been presentations and workshops at large conferences such as Information Online 2013 in Brisbane in February, the ARMS conference in September in Adelaide, and culminating with the Open Access Research Conference at QUT in October .

All publicly shareable presentations have been pulled together into a page ‘Presentations on OA’.

Looking forward

We end the year welcoming three new members – Curtin University, Griffith University and the University of Western Australia.

The AOASG will meet in January to discuss future directions and strategies to continue this momentum, and look forward to a productive and effective 2014.

Have a relaxing break and thank you for all the support.

Dr Danny Kingsley
Executive Officer
Australian Open Access Support Group

2 thoughts on “AOASG in 2013: That was the year that was

  1. Excellent summary of an excellent year! Keep up the good work!

    (BTW., SV-POW! is an Anglo-American collaboration. I, the creator of the modified decision-tree, am English.)

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