Today, SPARC and the Right to Research Coalition, in partnership with the Max Planck Society, are excited to announce that OpenCon 2017 will take place on November 11-13 in Berlin, Germany at the Max Planck Society’s Harnack House.
OpenCon is more than a conference. It’s a platform for the next generation to learn about Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data, develop critical skills, 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. OpenCon 2017 is at the center of a growing community of thousands of students and early career academic professionals from across the world working to create an open system for research and education.
OpenCon brings together the most energetic, engaged students and early career academic professionals—regardless of their ability to cover travel costs. Because of this, attendance at OpenCon is by application only, and the majority of past participants have received travel scholarships.
Applications to attend OpenCon 2017 in Berlin, Germany will open on June 27th. For more information about the conference and to sign up for updates, visit www.opencon2017.org/updates.
OpenCon 2017’s three-day program will begin with two days of keynotes, panels, and interactive workshops. OpenCon places an emphasis on highlighting diverse, early career voices, while complementing them with leading experts, such as Jimmy Wales (Co-founder of Wikipedia), Amy Rosenbaum (Director of Legislative Affairs to US President Barack Obama), and Julia Reda (Member of the European Parliament). The third day will feature an all-day “do-a-thon,” where participants have the opportunity to craft new campaigns, lay the foundations for new resources, and form collaborations that will continue long after the November conference is over.
Organized by the Right to Research Coalition and SPARC, OpenCon 2017 builds on the success of the first three OpenCon conferences, which collectively convened approximately 500 participants from 80 countries. In addition, OpenCon’s unique structure has supported 70 satellite events, enabling over 4,100 attendees across 32 countries to participate in an in-person OpenCon event. Throughout the year, hundreds of these individuals remain engaged through monthly community calls, regular webcasts, and a very active community discussion list. To learn more about OpenCon’s theory of change and the impact of the OpenCon community, click here to download the newly released OpenCon Community Report.
Satellite events will continue to be central to the success of OpenCon in allowing the community to scale. OpenCon satellite events are independently hosted meetings that mix content from the main conference with live presenters to localize the discussion and bring the energy of an in-person OpenCon event to a larger audience. These events are an excellent way to discover those interested in Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data within your community, build support, and catalyze action. If you or your organization are interested in hosting a satellite event, more information is available at www.opencon2017.org/satellite.
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. We deeply appreciate the support of our past sponsors, including the Max Planck Society, PLOS, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, eLife, BioMed Central, SpringerOpen, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Wikimedia Foundation, Overleaf, Microsoft Research, Figshare, Creative Commons USA, and the more than 30 universities and organizations that have sponsored individual scholarships. If your organization is interested in supporting OpenCon, you can find more information and a variety of sponsorship opportunities at www.opencon2017.org/sponsor.
Applications to attend OpenCon 2017 open June 27th. For more information about the conference and to sign up for updates, visit www.opencon2017.org/updates. You can follow OpenCon on Twitter at @Open_Con or #opencon, and on Facebook.
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.
The Right to Research Coalition is an international alliance of graduate and undergraduate student organizations, which collectively represent millions of 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.
The Max Planck Society is Germany's leading organization for basic research. Since its establishment in 1948, no fewer than 18 Nobel laureates have emerged from the ranks of its scientists, putting it on a par with the best and most prestigious research institutions worldwide. Since initiating the “Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities” in 2003 the Max Planck Society is pursuing a broad and comprehensive OA agenda. The Max Planck Society is committed to persistently support Open Access on all levels. Therefore the Max Planck Society is proud to host OpenCon 2017 at the Harnack House, the society’s conference center and the place of birth of the “Berlin Declaration”.
On March 31, Florida Gulf Coast University’s (FGCU) Faculty Senate passed an Open Access policy! The Open Access Archiving Policy ensures that future scholarly articles authored by FGCU faculty will be made freely available to the public by requiring faculty to deposit copies of their accepted manuscripts in the university’s repository, DigitalFGCU.
As Scholarly Communication Librarian, I worked with my supervisor, library administration, the university’s Provost, and Faculty Senate to write and pass the policy. Typically in the United States, Open Access policies are passed through the Faculty Senate as a faculty level policy rather than a “university policy” that requires a different approval process. Policies are usually proposed to a Faculty Senate team or committee, such as Faculty Affairs, and then proceeds to Faculty Senate for voting.
Although each institution will be different, in this blog post I’ll share some of the key decisions and learnings that allowed our team at FGCU to pass an Open Access Policy quickly.
How do we message this to a campus new to Open Access? We decided to tweak the name to “Open Access Archiving Policy” to emphasize archiving and to further communicate that the policy does not affect where an author chooses to publish.
What’s our timeline? There’s no wrong or right timeline to pass an Open Access policy. For some universities, passing an Open Access policy is a result of years of campus advocacy, but we jumped in and passed a policy in just six months. Passing a policy quickly may not be the right decision for your campus. We chose to take the leap because we are launching our institutional repository in the summer and wanted to give it the strongest start possible. FGCU is a young, public university about to celebrate its 20th birthday, and we built off lessons learned from other institutions to create a stronger repository and a successful policy.
When does it take effect? Most Open Access policies go into effect immediately, but we opted for the policy to take effect August 1, 2017 when the institutional repository was launched and to prepare the faculty for the new policy at a slower time of the academic year.
Creating a policy site
I highly recommend creating an informational policy site when you’re proposing your policy. A website can help you communicate with Faculty Senate how the policy will work in reality, how easy it is to participate or opt-out, and helps put a friendly face on the policy language.
I worked with our Web Development & Design Librarian to create a site heavily inspired by Open Access @ FSU (thanks, Florida State!). I sent individual emails to Faculty Senators inviting them to look at the website and share it with their colleagues. The Open Access Archiving Policy site was vital to passing the policy: it made it easy to understand how the policy would work in practice.
Policies can be intimidating, and copyright legalese especially so. I wanted to make sure we messaged the policy for what it is: an exciting opportunity to make our public university’s research accessible to the public and increase the impact of our research. I started off my pitch to Faculty Senate with this introduction:
Hi, everyone. I’m Chealsye Bowley, FGCU’s Scholarly Communication Librarian. I’m here today to propose the Open Access Archiving Policy, a faculty policy that would provide public access to FGCU authored research. But first I have a couple questions for you all. By a show of hands - how many of you want more readers for your research? How many of you want more citations for your research? Okay, great. And finally, have you ever been asked to pay for a journal article because FGCU did not have a subscription? Thank you. The Policy is designed to help with all of that.
How can any researcher say no to more readers and citations? This friendly introduction at Faculty Senate shifted the framing to the faculty benefits and I think it helped engaged Faculty Senators in what are long Friday morning meetings.
Tips and Advice
Ensure that the policy is the best thing for faculty members - not just for you/the Library. Make it as simple as possible to participate and opt-out, if that’s an option.
Find Faculty advocates for the policy.
Be friendly! Get faculty excited about the policy and kindly address their concerns.
Be willing to adapt. We originally had a simple opt-out option that granted automatic waivers on an article by article basis, but after feedback from a few faculty members who were opposed to article opt-out we offered a blanket waiver option that a faculty member would just have to fill out once.
Never assume that a faculty member will embrace an Open Access Policy simply because of their field or their use of Open Educational Resources. Surprisingly, the faculty members who opposed the policy came from disciplines that have historically embraced Open Access and who used openly licensed materials in their classes.
- Don’t reinvent the wheel! If something worked at another university and you liked it, give it a try.
Collaboration is at the heart of the OpenCon community. Our global conference, satellite events, and community calls are all meant to be opportunities for those who are passionate about advancing openness in research and education to connect, find collaborators for their work, and discover new ways to get involved with Open projects. But beyond our community events, we realized we didn’t have a place online for people to discover ways to get involved with community projects or look for collaborators.
To address this, a few weeks ago, we launched a new page on our site: OpenCon Community Collaborate. This is a platform for connecting projects in the OpenCon community that are in need of collaborators, with people in the community looking to get involved with Open projects.
OpenCon Community Collaborate accelerates the impact of ideas, individuals, projects and organizations by connecting them and providing a range of support. This is a digital space for students, researchers, librarians, early career academics, and advocates around the world to connect with each other on Open issues.
In this iteration of the platform, there are three ways you can use OpenCon Community Collaborate:
1. Browse - and get involved with - existing Open projects!
Getting involved in an Open initiative can sometimes be intimidating. Or maybe you want to help out, but you just don’t know where to start. To address this, we’ve created a directory of existing projects (at various stages of development) that are looking for help from collaborators and volunteers! Each project listing provides a brief summary of the project’s activities, as well as more specific information on what kind of help and skills they are looking for. If you’re interested in getting involved, all you need to do is email the project contact in the listing.
We’re excited to share that we’ve already had a number of community members list a wide range of projects across Open issue areas, from the Rebus Community - an open textbook project, to Project Cognoma - an open source project that’s looking to create a webapp to analyze cancer data, and many more!
2. Share your project with us.
If you’re working on a project related to Open Research or Open Education and are seeking collaborators, we are happy to promote it by list it on our Collaborate community projects directory for others to discover! Projects listed under Community Collaborate can be at any stage of development, but our only request is that your project goals are clearly defined and that you have a good idea of what kind of help you’d be requesting from collaborators.
Interested? Submit a request to get your project up on our website using this form.
3. Connect directly with people in your region, with the skills you need.
We have an enormous, and detailed, database of students, librarians, researchers, and advocates, across a number of regions, with a broad range of skills in the OpenCon community. If you’re looking for someone with a specific skillset, or based out of a specific country to collaborate with on your Open project, we can help you! We’ll do our best to connect you with potential collaborators after you submit a request using this form.
We are looking to continue building on, and improving OpenCon Community Collaborate, so if you have any suggestions on how the platform could be better suit your needs, please let us know at lorraine(at)sparcopen.org
This month's OpenCon community call will be themed around collaboration and community support for projects and initiatives advancing Open! We’ll hear about some exciting projects happening in the OpenCon community that are looking for help & support. Interesting in speaking about your project during this call? Please let lorraine(at)sparcopen.org know!
The call will take place on Wednesday, April 26 at 12 PM ET / 4 PM UCT / 5 PM BST / 6 PM CEST . You can RSVP here.
Last week, we held our monthly OpenCon Community Call, which fell during Open Education Week. During the call, we heard from five members of the OpenCon community doing fantastic work to advance Open Education. In case you weren’t able to make it, here’s a quick recap of some of the projects we heard about!
Beck Pitt spoke to us about the OER Hub, a group that researches Open Education. The group works collaboratively with teachers, learners and students on a number of projects; assesses the impact of OER around the world; and has produced a course on Open Research, which comes with an Open Research Toolkit! Beck also shared information about the Global OER Graduate Network, which holds monthly webinars, which are open for anyone to join.
OER pilot initiative at University of Calgary
Alicia Lunz, an undergraduate student leader at the University of Calgary, told us about an upcoming pilot project for supporting OER on campus, including funding for three PhD-level OER advocates, and a ten-person team of undergraduates who will be going through university course outlines to find OER equivalents for course materials. You can read more about this exciting initiative here.
Zoe Wake Hyde, a community and project manager at the Rebus Foundation, shared some of their ongoing projects including the Rebus Community - a platform building a new, collaborative model for publishing open textbooks. They are currently working on 12 pilot projects, each with a different set of needs. If you’re interested in contributing to one of the open textbook projects, you can read more about them here.
Year of Open
Igor Lesko discussed the Year of Open, which celebrates different milestones in Open, increases awareness and advocate for different Open issue areas, including Open Education, Open Access, Open Source Software, and more! Each month of the year is dedicated to a different Open Perspective. Check their calendar to see if there’s any way for you to participate in an existing event - or submit an event if you are interested in hosting.
OER World Map
Finally, Jan Neuman spoke to us about the OER World Map - and gave a quick demo to show us how the platform works! The OER World Map catalogs and visualizes data on people, projects, organizations, and initiatives advancing OER around the world. Don’t see your Open Education work on the map? We encourage you to create a profile and add your organization or project to the platform.
Our OpenCon community calls happen once a month; and everyone is welcome to join! They are a great chance for you to learn what's happening in open research and education around the world, share what you're doing, and find collaborators and opportunities. We encourage you to join us for our next call on April 26, at 6 PM CEST / 5PM BST / 12PM EDT / 9AM PDT. Let us know if you’ll be joining by RSVPing here!
Open Education Week 2017 is just around the corner, taking place March 27 - March 31, 2017. The goal of this week is to raise awareness around Open Education: educational resources, practices and tools that are openly available to access, modify, and reuse.
Because this week is all about raising awareness and having impactful discussions about Open Education, it is a great opportunity to host an OpenCon satellite event! These events are local meetings held in partnership with the global OpenCon meeting. These events can be organized anywhere in the world, and by anyone in the OpenCon community—including you! In 2016, over 2000 people participated in 28 satellite events, across 19 countries. You can meet some of last year’s fantastic hosts here.
Your satellite event could be anything from a full day conference to an afternoon workshop or a few hours of programming on Open Education. After submitting a plan for your event, we’d help you get your event logos designed, your website set up, and spread the word to relevant networks. Don’t know where to start? Here are some potential ideas for hosting an awesome OpenCon satellite event for Open Education Week!
Invite a local Open Education expert to give a public lecture about their work and projects. Check if there’s any faculty, librarians, or students who might be doing interesting work at your institution, or in your region. You can also see if there’s anyone you can invite in our Speakers Database(search Open Education to find relevant speakers).
Organize a ‘work party’ to draft a motion for your faculty senate or student government to adopt an OER policy. If you require a starting point, example documents from other institutions can be found here.
Host an Open Textbook hackathon. Collaborate with invited faculty members and senior students to “hack” an Open Educational Resource (OER): work together to remix and improve an existing Open Textbook or educational tool. You can find some useful resources on hacking OER here and here.
Organize a watch party. Can’t find a speaker? Book a room on your campus and screen some of the awesome talks on Open Education from our previous OpenCon meetings, such as ‘From Open to Justice’ by Audrey Watters, or our Open Education 101 webcast.
Need more inspiration? Browse some of last year’s Open Education Week events held around the world here.
Want to host an OpenCon satellite event this Open Education Week? If you want to learn more before submitting an event plan for approval, please register your interest at the form on this page. If you already know what you want kind of event you want to host, please go ahead and submit a plan for your event here. We’ll review your application and approve it as an official OpenCon satellite event as soon as possible!
We'll be discussing Open Education Week events during the February OpenCon Community Call on February 22, 2017 (6PM CET / 5PM BST / 12 PM EDT / 9AM PST). Anyone is welcome to join! Instructions on how to join and a link to RSVP can be found here. Please RSVP if you plan on joining.
If you have any questions, please e-mail Lorraine at lorraine(at)sparcopen.org.
SPARC (the organizer and host of OpenCon) is happy to support Open Research Data activities this Open Data Day through mini-grants for events around the world. See below an announcement of the program reposted from David Selassie Opoku at the Open Knowledge International Blog.
The year is 2017! Some of you (like my fellow Ghanaian citizens) may have just voted in an election that you hope will bring with it the promise of socio-economic growth. You believe that having a better understanding of how government works will foster better engagement and efficiency. Others are exploring new ideas in research that could change the lives of millions if not billions. A new business idea is in the making and you will like to explore a little more about your target demographics. Others may just have realised the magnitude of the refugee crisis across the world and want to do something practical to help. You can see where I am going with this. If your main challenge at the moment is exactly where to go from here, why not start by organising an event on International Open Data Day this year and join hundreds of events around the world?
For the benefit of those of you who are new to Open Data, one definition is data that can be freely used, re-used and redistributed by anyone – subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and share alike. With this comes another avenue to explore many insights, innovations, collaborations that can enhance the social issues we care about as societies. This year’s Open Data Day will take place on Saturday, 4th March, and with funding from SPARC, the Open Contracting Program of Hivos and Article 19, and OKI, we will distribute $12,500 worth of mini-grants to support your event ideas.
I got your attention now, right? So what exactly are mini-grants?
A mini-grant is a grant of between $200-$400 for groups to create Open Data Day events. In past years, we gave grants to groups based on location. This year, we want to take ODD up a notch and focus on problems that open data can solve. This year, there are four categories to the grant – Open Research Data, Open Contracting and tracking public money flows, Open Data for Environment and Open Data for Human Rights.
I hope this has gotten you excited and ready to apply. But if you do so, there are a few important things to be aware of:
- To all grants: We cannot fund government applications, whether federal or local. This is since we support civil society actions. We encourage governments to participate in the event themselves!
- For Human Rights or Environment: groups based in the US cannot apply for funding due to our funder restrictions.
- For Tracking public money flows: only groups from low/medium income countries (based on this OECD DAC list).
Event organisers can only apply once and for just one category, so choose well.
Writing A Successful Application
Now that’s out of the way, here are some tips for a successful grant application. Open Data Day is a great opportunity for outreach to new stakeholders and show-off our great work. However, we want people to work and think about open data as part of their work year round, and not only on one day. Successful applications will be those who will show how open data day is connected to other future activities and not a one off event in the community. Here are some guidelines for successful applications:
- Think of concrete output – Open Data Day is one day, so we don’t expect you to solve global warming in less than 24 hours. Think of tangible outputs like a network map, small prototype or even a video.
- Less is more – We prefer to see one good, well thought through output, then a lot of them who are not realistic to this timeframe.
- Part of a process, not standalone – Show us how ODD fit in the grand scheme of things of your community.
In the human rights and environment, Priority will be given to:
- Connected to current datasets – Replication is not a must, but we want to see how these projects are connected to other open data projects that are done already and not only reinventing the wheel. In term of human rights, any event that will use HDX will get a priority. In terms of the environment, any event that will use existed datasets (like EU or local open dataset).
- Connected to current OKI Labs projects – If you can’t find a dataset that is connected to your work, we will give priority to groups who will use/test/contribute to one of our OK Labs projects.
What is the timeline for the mini-grants?
Applications are open now through Monday, 13th February 2017 and the selected grantees will be announced on Monday, 20th February 2017. However, it is important to note that all payments will be made to the teams after ODD when they submit their blog reports and a copy of their expenses. Payment before the event will be considered on a case to case basis.
Need some inspiration for you Open Data Day events? OKI Staff curated some ideas for you!
If you are all set and ready to organise an ODD event, apply for a mini-grant HERE.
Despite countless policies and mandates promoting open access, as well as the development of tools and resources that facilitate it, and despite years of advocacy work, the majority of researchers are still not compelled to make their research outputs freely and publicly available.
But why not? Why is it that despite the citation advantage, ethical imperative, economic necessity, taxpayer responsibility, contribution to national development, educational benefit and, perhaps most importantly, the public's right to access to knowledge, are researchers not compelled to make their works publicly available?
After almost 10 years of going to countless of meetings, workshops, and conferences, there is one reason that comes up again and again for explaining many researchers’ hesitation towards adopting open practices: ‘being open’ is not explicitly rewarded in career progression.
Review, Promotion & Tenure Packets as a way to motivate academic behavioural change
To advance in their careers, university research faculty regularly submit review promotion and tenure (RPT) packets. In preparing these packets, all faculty, especially those at the early stages of their careers, rely on the guidelines and forms set out by their department or university. These guidelines and forms capture the stated values of a group of scholars, and in doing so establish the framework by which faculty need to demonstrate the value and impact of their work to the university and the broader scientific community.
As such, RPT guidelines and forms are a natural place to effect lasting change towards an opening of access to research. If faculty can begin to state their support for openness here, they will normalize `being open` (making research available in OA journals, creating open educational resources, making data openly available, or generally practicing open science), and will ensure that doing so is properly rewarded.
Unfortunately, changing the RPT process will not be straightforward. The guidelines and forms are not universal across institutions, faculties, or departments: they vary in the types of achievements and products that are asked for, the language used to describe these, the amount of space allocated for each, and the types of evidence that is solicited. This is why, with the support of the Open Society Foundations, we have chosen to study in great detail, and with an eye to supporting changes towards openness, the RPT processes of a broad range of universities (with a special focus on Canada and the United States).
We hope that our effort will offer valuable insight that can be put into action to redirect investment in academic research literature and educational resources into open, freely accessible forms by finding a way to bring about behavioral change in the career advancement process in universities.
We need you to contribute!
To succeed, however, we need your help in tracking down as many RPT guidelines and forms as possible. The help we need is simple: it could be as simple as a Google search, or short email to a faculty member that you know.
If you did not consider yourself an active part of the Open Access community yet, this is your opportunity to make a meaningful contribution. If you are already part of the community, then you know the potential impact of this work. Either way: Commit to taking action to help.
We've made contributing to the project as straightforward as possible by providing template e-mails and examples of what these forms and guidelines look like on our site. If you are curious about the project and just want to learn more, sign up here to receive updates.
This post was originally published on the OOO Canada Research Network blog.