During Open Access Week 2017, scholarly communication communities were asked to consider the theme of 'Open in order to...'.
This year's theme has been an invitation to answer the question of what concrete benefits can be realized by making scholarly outputs openly available. As the Open Access Week Advisory Committee and SPARC put it, 'Open in order to…' serves as a prompt to move beyond talking about openness in itself and focus on what openness enables - in an individual discipline, at a particular institution, or in a specific context; then to take action to realize these benefits. Open in order to increase the impact of my scholarship, for example.
Here, Aimee Nixon, our Head of Open Access, shares her thoughts on this theme and the idea of being 'Open in order to... change for the better'
By way of an introduction, my name’s Aimee Nixon, and I’m Head of Open Access publishing at Emerald. I’m currently leading a programme that focused on how open access work for our communities and can help to inform and drive change.
Why are we doing this?
At a UN Summit in September 2015, the UN launched the 17 sustainable development goals of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development (www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment). These goals - which were developed to mobilize efforts to ‘end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change’ - call for action by all countries, irrespective of income status, to promote prosperity while also protecting the planet.
Academic research plays a fundamental role in informing and driving change. Across our journals and book programmes, we publish a wealth of research that supports the themes outlined in the sustainable development goals, focussing on areas such as decent work and economic growth, industry innovation and infrastructure, sustainable cities and communities and climate action – all key themes aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As publishers, we’re passionate about disseminating research that can be applied in practice, and publishing outcome-focused research remains a key part of our identity.
What are some of the benefits of open access to academic communities?
Aside from the benefits as outlined in the UN’s SDGs and the potential to improve the world around us and make it a better-managed place to live in, open access also offers academics choice in terms of routes to publish and the ability to publish quickly. And, perhaps even more importantly, the ability to disseminate their research far-and-wide to audiences that academic research can find it difficult to reach; and, with that being the case, the ability to make an impact in the real world.
How can open support change?
In keeping with the UN’s desire that the goals be universal, inclusive and indivisible, we understand the importance of insuring that research output in these vital areas reaches a truly globally audience. Of course, maximizing the visibility and dissemination of all of the research we publish remains our ultimate goal; but, in areas of such vital public interest, it’s paramount that we’re able to place that research into the hands of policymakers and practitioners who are able to implement change and ultimately improve lives.
What are we doing?
As part of Emerald Reach, our new open access programme, over the next 12 months we will publish 12 supplements in line with the Sustainable Development Goals themes. We’re delighted to be publishing these supplements as open access, ensuring that the articles are freely available to access and reuse from anywhere in the world. All costs typically associated with making the issues open access will be covered by Emerald, with no cost to our authors.
And, look out for more developments in the coming months… watch this space!
Open Access supplements: supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals
As part of our commitment to extend impact within and beyond academia, we are publishing a number of special, open access issues in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
An International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management special issue on: ‘Managing organizations for climate change mitigation and adaptation: moving the agenda forward’.
In regards to the Decent Work and Economic Growth SDGs, an International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy special issue on: ‘Integrating Perspectives in the Informal Economy’, and an Employee Relations special issue on: ‘Low Pay and the Living Wage’.
Read these and find out more by visiting:
Some questions for you to consider
Open Access continues to be a hotly debated and divisive topic that has both its fair share of evangelists, sceptics and people with a foot in either camp – and, of course, a lot of people in the middle.
How would you like to see open access develop in the coming years? And what challenges do you think lie in its way?
We’d love to hear from you on any of these topics, or in terms of feedback on our new open access programme, Emerald Reach, which launched in September 2017.
Aimee Nixon – Head of Open Access, Emerald Publishing