Professor Arianna Becerril-García at 2021 strategy day

Earlier this month we held our annual strategy day, which included a wonderful presentation from guest speaker Professor Arianna Becerril-García.

Professor Becerril-García is Chair Open Knowledge for Latin America and the Global South (AmeliCA), Executive Director and co-founder of, and Professor at the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico. In addition, she is co-founder of the Mexican Network of Institutional Repositories and is part of the committee; Director of Invest In Open Infrastructure (IOI), she is a member of the board of The Global Sustainability Coalition for Open Science Services (SCOSS)

The 30 minute presentation was as insightful as it was engaging, and provided inspiration that there are alternative publishing models which can work really well.

Dr Arianna Becerril-García

2021 Webinar series begins

Yesterday we had 100+ Open Access advocates attend our first webinar of the year.

AOASG Chair, Martin Borchert, AOASG Executive Committee members and Director, Ginny Barbour looked back at the extraordinary year that was 2020 and presented open access initiatives from a variety of Australian Universities.

Martin Borchert, University Librarian at UNSW spoke about advocating for Open Access at UNSW. Maureen Sullivan, University Librarian at Griffith University discussed Griffith’s new Open Research Statement. Donna McRostie, Deputy Director, Research & Collection Stewardship at The University of Melbourne spoke about turning Open Access practice into principles. Scott Nicholls, Associate University Librarian (Library Research & Collections) at the University of Western Australia, discussed supporting Open Access in the Humanities at UWA, and Anne Scott, University Librarian at Canterbury University Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha spoke about Open textbooks.

Find the slide show and more details about our Webinar series here.

What a year it’s been…

If there’s anything the COVID-19 pandemic has done for us in 2020, it’s magnified the necessity for a broad conversation about the need for a coordinated approach in how research publications are disseminated – specifically the need for universal open access to research globally. It’s also shows that these conversations need to happen not just across not just the university and research sector, but in the public & community sphere as well.

The pandemic has put a spotlight on the dependence on an outdated and inequitable publishing system and flawed career incentive model for researchers. These impediments to open access can be addressed with commitments from both governments and the academic sector to building structural equity and inclusion, through coordinated support for open infrastructure, polices, practices and training.

We’re hoping our latest series of webinars at the end of 2020 – a joint venture with the Council of Australian University Librarians – will help make the case for well funded, stable open infrastructure. The first of our two panel discussions explored how an Australian national strategy might be developed with three individuals who have been key in the development of national strategies in their respective countries: Dr Pirjo-Leena Forsström (IT Centre for Science, Finland); Dr Patricia Clarke (HRB Open Research, Ireland) & Professor Noorsaadah Abd. Rahman (University of Malaya). The second panel heard from three key Australian stakeholders: Dr Cathy Foley, Chief Scientist, CSIRO & Australia’s next Chief Scientist Professor Robyn Owens, Emeritus Professor, and former DVCR UWA Ryan Winn, CEO of Australian Council of Learned Academies. Recordings of the panel discussions are available here. The webinars were very well attended by many participants from across the research sector in Australia and New Zealand, and came on the back of what we think has been our most successful Open Access Week so far.

When we planned our timetable for this year’s OA week activities we hoped to fulfill the sentiment of the Open with Purpose theme. Our line up didn’t disappoint with a record number (1686) of registrations across our 10 online events. Many thanks to our wonderful speakers whose passion for their fields of interest flowed into their presentations which were received with appreciation from an enthusiastic audience. Our online workshops were led with thoughtfulness and skill and provided insights for eager participants who took away some great new skills and knowledge. Our most well attended event was the panel session Indigenous Voices, Indigenous Research and Open Access which brought to the fore the need for the consideration of cultural sensitivities and preservation in the pursuit of knowledge. Our sincere thanks to all contributors, especially our OA Week Steering Group. Recordings of all sessions are available here.

To kick off our Open Access week activities Nobel Laureate Professor Peter Doherty spoke with our Director Dr Ginny Barbour about his passion for science and research, and how publishing has changed during his career.  Listen to the interview here.

Throughout the year we were helped enormously by the AOASG Practitioners Group (volunteers from our member institutions) who assisted us with their time, expertise and good humour to help in:

  • developing and creating the concepts for teaching modules which will form the basis of our new advocacy workshops in 2021
  • analysing our online content for a massive website overhaul and upgrade (coming very soon)
  • developing and creating a databank of Open Access Frequently Asked Questions aimed at our main user groups

We also had a good year of public advocacy for open research. Highlights include:
Open science: after the COVID-19 pandemic there can be no return to closed working – Martin Borchert and Ginny Barbour for the Australian Academy of Science
Science publishing has opened up during the coronavirus pandemic. It won’t be easy to keep it that way Ginny Barbour in the Conversation
How Prestige Journals Remain Elite, Exclusive And Exclusionary Ginny Barbour quoted in piece by Madhukar Pai in Forbes
How Open Access Suddenly Became the Norm Ginny Barbour speaking in research symposium IP & education in the age of COVID-19
Ginny Barbour Interviewed on CGTN about COVID-19’s effects on research

2021 looks likely to be an even more active year for advocacy for open access and open research more widely. It will be very important we don’t lose the momentum of 2020. We thank all our member institutions for their support in 2020 and look forward to working with all our members and supporters on whatever the next year brings us.

Top photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Developing a national open research strategy

Image from OpenAIRE CC-BY

Over the past year, the need for an overarching national strategy in Australia for open research that aligns the many ongoing individual initiatives has become increasingly apparent. There are an increasing number of countries that have developed and are in the process of implementing such strategies.

The Council of Australian University Librarians and the Australasian Open Access Strategy Group are convening a number of webinars to explore further how an Australian national strategy might be developed.

In the first of this series (Thursday 12 November), we will hear from three individuals who have been key in the development of national strategies in their respective countries:

  • Dr Pirjo-Leena Forsström (IT Centre for Science, Finland)
  • Dr Patricia Clarke (HRB Open Research, Ireland)
  • Professor Noorsaadah Abd. Rahman (University of Malaya)

Panel Chair – Catherine Clark, Advancing Open Scholarship Program Director, Council of Australian University Librarians & University Librarian, Curtin University.


Our next webinar in the series will be on 23 November and we’ll hear from an Australian panel.

OA week 2020: Open access has never been more important

The theme of this year’s international open access week is “Open with Purpose: Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and Inclusion” The urgent necessity of the theme is outlined in this blog from SPARC, who coordinate the international event, which concludes: ”Diversity, equity, and inclusion must be consistently prioritized year-round and integrated into the fabric of the open community, from how our infrastructure is built to how we organize community discussions to the governance structures we use.” 

There are a number of movements happening now that seek to change academic publishing profoundly, including the use of preprints and the development of open, non-commercial infrastructure to support publishing. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an explosion of public interest in research which has highlighted the importance of good communication. All of these factors highlight the potential for transformation in scholarly communication.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has also brought to the fore many inequalities including in the way that women have been disproportionately affected, socially, financially and professionally. This disadvantage has extended to their underrepresentation in both research being conducted on the pandemic and in whose voices are being heard in public discussions about the pandemic. In Australia and New Zealand we have additional profound challenges, in the proper recognition and inclusion of Indigenous perspectives in research. 

This year, the Australasian Open Access Strategy Group (AOASG) has collaborated with a group of open access practitioners from the AOASG membership: Emma McLean, UNSW, Katya Henry, QUT, Luqman Hayes, AUT, Mary Filsell, Flinders, and Thomas Shafee, La Trobe who have developed a program of ten events across the week. This program brings together open access research practices, (such as preprints and open data) with broader principles (such as infrastructure, interconnectedness, and communication). The presenters, panels and workshops also aim to bring broader representation of voices to look at structural equity and inclusion from perspectives including citizen scientists and Indigenous researchers and specialists. We have also a specially recorded interview with Professor Peter Doherty, Nobel Laureate, who discusses scholarly publishing and open access.

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that open research is crucial. By centering diversity, equity, and inclusion in open research this  movement has the ability to change academic research and publishing for the better. We hope that the events of this week will provide a starting point to take forward discussions and action to build the foundation for long term change.

Follow us on twitter @openaccess_anz #oaweek #openaccessaustralasia

Talking about OA week with Martin Borchert, AOASG Chair

To set the scene for OA week 2020 on the 19 – 25th October, AOASG Director Ginny Barbour interviewed the Chair of the AOASG Executive Committee, and University Librarian at UNSW, Martin Borchert. Martin spoke about open access and why it is so important, the AOASG’s role and why everyone should engage with the talks and workshops in OA week.

Martin Borchert, AOASG Chair and University Librarian at UNSW

Professor Peter Doherty talks Open Access

In one of our favourite activities for Open Access Week 2020, AOASG Director Ginny Barbour interviewed Nobel Laureate Professor Peter Doherty about his passion for science and research, and how publishing has changed during his career. Here’s a link to the first part of the conversation. The full interview will be available in Open Access week 19-25 October.

Professor Peter Doherty spoke to us from lockdown in Melbourne

Professor Peter Doherty is writing a fascinating weekly column Setting it Straight about science in the pandemic on the Doherty Institute website.

SAVE THE DATES for Open Access Week 2020

This year’s theme Open with Purpose has guided us in planning our activities for Open Access Week from 19-25 October.  We have a diverse line up of guest speakers and skill sharpening workshops across the week and our Australasian timezone.

In these COVID-19 times all sessions will be online which means anyone with an internet connection is able to take part – events will be held each week day of OA Week between 11am and 1pm AEST.


Open with Purpose: Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and Inclusion

This year’s International Open Access Week theme has been released and builds on the previous two years’ themes around equity.  The 2020 OA Week Advisory Committee says “Rebuilding research and scholarship to be open by default presents a unique opportunity to construct a foundation that is fundamentally more equitable. Yet today, structural racism, discrimination, and exclusion are present and persistent in places where openness is a core value.”

The Committee aims to highlight how much of the infrastructure and established systems are built on “legacies of historic injustice” making it vital to addressing these inequities.

Planning for Open Access Week across Australia and New Zealand is well and truly underway with a timetable of stimulating guest speakers and workshops each day from Monday 19 to  Friday 23 October (11am -1pm AEST).   Registration for all events will be available soon.

You can download International OA Week graphics and resources here.