Setting the default to open for research and education is fundamentally about people and the decisions they make. The culture of research and education emerges from the countless individual decisions made by millions of researchers and educators each day—at different types of institutions, within different disciplines, and in every country. OpenCon is a platform for catalyzing change in this culture, at scale and in context. OpenCon’s programs work to develop, activate, and connect a global community of next generation leaders who are driving the culture shift toward open locally, nationally, and internationally. OpenCon creates this community through its flagship global meeting, satellite events hosted around the world, and regular community calls.
OpenCon’s flagship global meetings have helped drive this culture change by bringing together the most energetic, engaged students and early career academic professionals. Participants learn about Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data, develop critical skills, find collaborators, and catalyze action toward a more open system for sharing the world’s information—from scholarly and scientific research, to educational materials, to digital research data.
“I think I will look back on my career in 10, 20, 30 years and see this conference as a game changing moment.“ - OpenCon Participant
OpenCon strives to ensure that diversity, equity, and inclusion are both foundational to the community’s efforts to open up research and education and priorities for continual improvement. OpenCon seeks to be as globally inclusive as possible and to advocate for a future that is not only open but also equitable and co-designed with diverse stakeholders—especially those from marginalized groups. OpenCon has released a report on diversity, equity, and inclusion that contains lessons learned, suggestions for conference organizers, and a self-analysis with relevant data.
Attendance at the global meeting is by application only, and the majority of past participants have received full or partial travel scholarships. Each year, most participants are first-time attendees and are selected from a pool of thousands of qualified candidates through a community-run review process based on the likelihood that their participation will translate into impact.
“OpenCon was more than just the best conference I have ever attended, it was the beginning of a community—people that I will keep in touch with and collaborate with and be inspired by for the rest of my career. ” - OpenCon Participant
OpenCon’s unique structure has supported more than 125 satellite events, enabling over 9,500 attendees across 44 countries to participate in an in-person OpenCon event. Throughout the year, many of these individuals remain engaged through monthly community calls and their own projects, campaigns, events, and initiatives.
Members of the OpenCon community launch campaigns, create new national-level organizations, and some even switch careers to work in open professionally—in libraries, at foundations, with publishers, and in governments. They’ve built new platforms, influenced international discussions, and, most importantly, made an impact locally. You can learn more about OpenCon’s impact in our community report.
The OpenCon conference and community are only possible with the support of leading organizations with a strong commitment to support student and early career academic professional involvement across Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data. You can review past sponsors of OpenCon here.
The Right to Research Coalition is an international alliance of graduate and undergraduate student organizations, which collectively represent nearly 7 million students in over 100 countries around the world, that advocate for and educate students about open methods of scholarly publishing. The Right to Research Coalition is a project of SPARC.
SPARC®, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, is a global coalition committed to making Open the default for research and education. SPARC empowers people to solve big problems and make new discoveries through the adoption of policies and practices that advance Open Access, Open Data, and Open Education. Learn more at sparcopen.org.