FORCE11 2017: Open in Action

I just returned from three days immersed in presentations and discussions of insightful, useful, and smart projects all focused on ways to make the results of research and scholarship open. What a great way to spend Open Access Week 2017, at the FORCE11 Research Communication and e-Scholarship Conference in Berlin, the home of the 2003 Berlin Declaration of Open Access in the Sciences and Humanities!  

The theme of FORCE11 2017 was Changing the Culture, and open source for open access was the foundational principle and approach at play throughout the meeting.  Contributing greatly to the spirit of energetic sharing of ideas from across the globe, FORCE11 sponsors several Fellowships, so we benefited from early career Travel Fellows as well as experienced speakers from locations such as Taiwan, Kenya, the Republic of the Congo, India, Colombia, Canada, and the UK.  They presented their work and their scholarly environments formally and through the many conversations throughout the conference.  Many of the presentations are available. 

Topics included:

A special part of the meeting was hearing about ways organizations in the Berlin and Brandenberg area organize to further open access. 

The theme of Open Access Week 2017 is “Open in Order to…”.  Why making the results of research openly available matters was amply illustrated by Lucy Patterson, an organizer of DIY science events.  She gave examples of the negative impacts on society of corporations owning the output of research and the ways DIY science gets around those barriers, which included lack of access to insulin in refugee camps, the skyrocketing costs of EipPens, and the lack of accurate local environmental data.  

After all this excitement about projects and ideas with potentially positive impacts on the dissemination of knowledge, the closing keynote by Diego Gomez of Colombia, who was charged with a criminal act for sharing a scholarly work, provoked a challenge to us all.  A  senior faculty member in the audience said we need to ask everyone in the research and scholarly enterprise simply “Why DON’T you publish open access?”.



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