DARIAH’s highlights for the Open Access Week 2020

Beyond any doubt, 2020 marked an extraordinary year in the development of Open Access.  Back in 2016, when Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner Carlos Moedas put forward the Competitiveness Council’s bold agenda that all scientific papers should be freely available by 2020, nobody expected that this promise would eventually be weighed against the brutal reality check of the pandemic. 

Special flavours of Open Access in 2020 

COVID-19 has clearly highlighted both the ease and the difficulty of Open Access.  On the one hand, the importance of free and remote access to knowledge, data and libraries has never been more obvious.  We saw research teams in all disciplinary areas entering brand new, unprecedented levels of collaboration. Likewise, librarian and infrastructure developer communities made incredible, sometimes even bold efforts to rethink the brick and mortar concept of the library into the digital and remote, and support citizens (including also researchers) who can no longer (or could never) access library or university buildings. [1]  On the other hand, the pandemic also shed light on some illnesses in the development of Open Access. Charging £5000+ annually for unlimited access for a single textbook (imagine the implications of this in remote teaching settings) is just one, not even too outstanding example that showcases how paywalls still guard essential information. Academic and non-academic communities are still extremely exposed to business models of big publishing houses. Although we saw efforts from big publishers to temporarily open up parts of their holdings that they deemed to be relevant for COVID-19 research, such gestures rather served as reminders of how much societies have to continually rely on publishers to decide which crisis they deem worthy of a temporary free collection, which materials and disciplinary areas to include in these collections and which social groups’ needs are worthy to look after. [2] As Sam Moore points out in his blog post, COVID-19 and the Future of Open Access, such phenomena clearly show us that without stronger academic governance, Open Access can easily be hijacked by big, corporate players, masking themselves as champions of the paradigm shift while in fact only reinforcing their own hegemonic position and research institution’s dependence on them. 

With these thoughts and mixed feelings in mind, I believe that the Open Access Week of 2020 is best celebrated through concrete and immediate actions. Below you can find a brief selection of events, resources and tools from DARIAH and beyond that help scholarly communities to gain back control over scholarly communication infrastructure. They  also help us to take concrete, feasible steps (smaller or bigger alike) towards a more inclusive and equitable knowledge production.

DARIAH and Open Access Week 2020: Highlights to follow

To appropriately acknowledge and reward all types of digital scholarly outputs, we need publicly maintained information management systems that are inclusive with a range of content types (books and other traditional units of publication but also research data, software) etc. The OpenAIRE Research Community Getaway built for DARIAH brings together publications and a broad range of research data (digital critical editions, plain text, audiovisual data, raw data, encoded documents, software applications, source images etc.) that are hosted by DARIAH services such as NAKALA and TextGrid or had been developed in collaboration with DARIAH. Join us for the public release. You can learn more about the webinar here and register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_J6045kA1TeqXD4yYY_Zq3g 

  • Innovations in scholarly communication through the lenses of a Digital Humanities workshop at the DARIAH Annual Event 2020, Wednesday, 28th of October, 14:00 CET 

As a slight extension of the Open Access week, you are warmly invited to join us on the 28th of October at 14:00 to  the ‘Innovations in scholarly communication through the lenses of Digital Humanities workshop’ organised in the context of the DARIAH Virtual Annual Event 2020, where we are going to bring together and test a selection of innovative scholarly writing and peer review practices and tools. You can register  here and read more about the workshop here: https://dariah-ae-2020.sciencesconf.org/309583

  • Consultation on the digitization of Cultural Heritage

Improving access to cultural heritage data is one of the major data management challenges in the field of arts and humanities. In a brand new position paper on  Cultural Heritage Data from a Humanities Research Perspective, we brought together insights regarding why rich, digital Cultural Heritage data is a precondition of Arts and Humanities research and what are the key priority actions to facilitate the​ digital transformation in Cultural Heritage Institutions (CHIs)​ and to break down the knowledge silos that currently dominate the exchange and cooperation between Arts and Humanities researchers and the Cultural Heritage sector. Soon we are going to open up a survey  to solicit your feedback to this position paper. 

  • Recording of the ‘GDPR and the DARIAH ELDAH Consent Form Wizard webinar

Navigating through the ethical and legal complexities of arts and humanities scholarship is one of the most challenging areas of the open research culture. If you missed the DARIAH ELDAH Working Group webinar in which they present the newly launched GDPR Consent Form Wizard tool, you can watch the recording here: https://www.sshopencloud.eu/putting-data-protection-practice-gdpr-and-dariah-eldah-consent-form-wizard-0

  • OpenMethods Spotlights: Showcasing people and epistemic reflections on Digital Humanities tools and methods 

Reflecting the epistemic markedness of our research methods and tools is a core practice towards a more open and more transparent research culture. With this idea in mind, last week we launched OpenMethods Spotlights, a series of posts showcasing people and epistemic reflections behind Digital Humanities tools and methods. Spotlights are brief interviews of the creator(s) of the blogs or tools that are highlighted on OpenMethods to humanize and contextualize them.You can read the first instance here: https://openmethods.dariah.eu/2020/10/13/openmethods-spotlights-1-interview-with-hilde-de-weerdt-about-markus/ You can nominate people/tools for future episodes here:https://openmethods.dariah.eu/submit-a-content/ 

…and beyond: 

If you are hungry for more, you can find a whole cadre of workshops, talks, or thematic coffee breaks in the Open Access Week calendar of the Open Access Books Network, including a Q&A with Open Book Publishers, a presentation of the Open Access Books Toolkit (soon to be featured on this blog), or a free-flow conversation about Open Access books.

The Open Access Week is a good opportunity to reflect on our own practices, to test and anchor open practices in our own research or publication realities. Don’t forget, through the DARIAH Helpdesk, you can directly turn to us with your questions and challenges regarding all things open.

[1] In addition to the remote access and scanning on demand services that libraries put in place in response to COVID-19, it is worth to highlight here at least two nonprofit digital libraries that opened up access to millions of digital books in response to COVID-19: The Hathi Trust and the Internet Archive

[2] Here you can take a look at the analysis of Bianca Kramer about whether these temporarily opened COVID collections – the portion of them that are made available on PubMed – are truly open in terms of licensing and permanence. https://github.com/bmkramer/COVID19-PMC-collections 

Cite this article as: Erzsébet Tóth-Czifra, "DARIAH’s highlights for the Open Access Week 2020," in DARIAH Open, 19/10/2020, https://dariahopen.hypotheses.org/924.


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