PhD Comics: “Open Access Explained!”

We have reached a critical moment in scholarly communication — particularly in Canada. With the Canadian dollar lower than it has been in years, librarians in the great white north are struggling to stretch their budgets to continue subscribing to already-pricey American electronic resources such as journals and databases.

These skyrocketing prices highlight the importance of Open Access now more than ever. For the uninitiated, Open Access refers to “the free, immediate, online access to the results of scholarly research, and the right to use and re-use those results as you need”, and it is one of the most popular solutions to our current struggle with prohibitively expensive and inaccessible scholarly communication.

The Open Access movement has its roots in the Open Society Conference held in Budapest in December of 2001, and it picked up enough momentum to celebrate its first international Open Access Day on October 14, 2008, followed by the first international Open Access Week the next year. The practice of hosting Open Access Week events and programs in the last full week of October continues through to today, and academic libraries are increasingly trying to promote Open Access to their patrons throughout the entire year.

I have been scanning the websites of academic libraries at Canadian and American institutions with an enrollment of roughly 1,000-2,000 students to see how they are communicating Open Access and other scholarly communication issues to their patrons, and I thought I would share some of my findings on this blog.

Stay tuned for upcoming posts about small academic libraries’ efforts to promote awareness of Open Access!


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