Posts Tagged ‘open access week’

The blog post, ‘The Scientists encouraging online piracy with a secret codeword’ featured on the BBC this week has raised a number of pertinent points about access to research, and the restrictions imposed under current publishing models. The post discusses how researchers are harnessing social media to locate and illegally distribute copyrighted materials, which may be part of paid subscriptions. As the article states, this approach plays upon the well-known ‘I can haz’ meme, placing the issues of open access firmly within modern social culture. Similarly, the post below was recently spotted on the popular FML website, again highlighting that the issues surrounding open access are becoming embedded in popular culture, and are becoming a source of casual amusement.

FML OA image

However, in spite of the cute cat references the distribution, or pirating of articles in this way poses many legal and moral questions. In contrast, initiatives such as the Open Access Button help users to locate free, and legal, copies of papers via repositories, authors websites and ultimately by contacting the author of each paper. The OA Button is run by student volunteers and is not an ideal solution to such a large problem, but it does emphasise and promote the need to make papers and research available as open access in a fair way, rather than subversively bypassing publishers.

We may hope that the introduction of HEFCE’s open access policy for the next REF in April 2016  may increase the number of articles which are available via open access. Unfortunately this seems to be far more of the ‘stick’ approach, rather than the ‘carrot’ – and many people may not fully understand the positive implications that open access can have when it becomes a mandatory requirement for UK HE institutions.

The publicity that the BBC’s blog has achieved has helped to show that open access remains a key concern among researchers and that they are willing to adopt potentially unethical methods in order to access pay-walled materials.

By making your research available via the SRI Open Access Repository you ensure that your research can be accessed by anyone in a free and legal way.

For open access support please contact sriopenaccess@surrey.ac.uk or consult our updated Open Access webpages www.surrey.ac.uk/library/research/openaccess


The Scientists encouraging online piracy with a secret codeword, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-trending-34572462 [accessed 21/10/2015]

FML http://www.fmylife.com/ [accessed 11/10/2015]

‘About Us’, Open Access Button, https://openaccessbutton.org/about#how [accessed 21/10/2015]

HEFCE policy http://www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/year/2014/201407/ [accessed 21/10/2015]


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The Open Access team (SRI) have arranged a number of events 19 – 25 October to mark International Open Access Week and 10 years of Open Access being supported at Surrey. Staff are invited to attend these events to celebrate the University’s successes, to gain insight to recent policy changes, and to ask about all things Open Access.

Introductory Talk with Professor Michael Kearney, Vice-Chancellor
Tuesday 20 October, 12 -1pm in 40AA03

  • What Open Access means For You and the University – Professor Michael Kearney, Vice-Chancellor
  • How the Library has been Supporting Open Access – Caroline Rock, Director of Library and Learning Support Services
  • HEFCE Open Access Requirements for REF – Jennifer McCafferty, Research and Enterprise Support

The Open Access team (SRI) will also be available to discuss any queries staff may have regarding Open Access.

If you would like to attend the talk, please email sriopenaccess@surrey.ac.uk so the team can get an idea of numbers.

Drop-in Sessions

During the week, the Open Access team will also be running drop-in sessions for each of the faculties:

  • FHMS – Wednesday 21 October, Duke of Kent Foyer, 11am – 1pm.
  • FASS – Thursday 22 October, Entrance of Lakeside Coffee Shop, 11am – 1pm.
  • FEPS – Friday 23 October, 13BB04, 11am – 1pm.

No need to register for these sessions, just turn up!

The Open Access team look forward to seeing you there.

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