Open Access Week 2018 – Designing Equitable Foundations for Open Knowledge

International Open Access Week 2018’s Theme poses the question, “Is Open Access truly open?” Emory’s new strategic framework, “One Emory: Engaged for Impact,” challenges the university to find new ways to “unleash Emory and Atlanta’s shared future to mobilize change for the world.” Both, in tandem, invite us to consider global impact and equality as a foundation for designing Open Access services and infrastructure.

How does Open Access promote global impact and change?

Open Access helps level the playing field between the developed and developing countries by allowing everyone the same access to scholarship. Untapped scientific minds could be one paywalled article away from significant scientific breakthrough. Emory measures the global impact of our open access institutional repositories, by ensuring that faculty, staff, and student scholarship is freely accessible, permanently preserved, and widely disseminated to a broad global audience.

What is Emory doing to build equitable foundations for open knowledge?

Emory Libraries maintain three open access repositories to ensure equitable access to the scholarship we produce.

OpenEmory, Emory’s open access repository for faculty scholarship, was visited by users from 149 different countries in the past year. From 2017-2018, over 3,200 new works were added to the repository and there were over 1.4 million downloads of material in OpenEmory.

All Emory students, who produce a thesis or dissertation, are required to submit their work through Emory’s Electronic Theses and Dissertations, an open access repository for student scholarship. From 2017-2018, 800 new works were added to ETDs, increasing our total number of works to over 7,000. Student’s scholarship reached over 204 countries from 2016 to 2017.

Dataverse is our open data repository, offered through a partnership between Emory and the Odum Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In widespread use globally, Dataverse is an open source application for data sharing, and all datasets are made available at no cost to depositors or users. In 2017-18, five new datasets were published in the Emory Dataverse, and data files were downloaded 25 times.

Now that many institutions are adopting open practices, the question is no longer how do we promote open knowledge, but instead how do we ensure open knowledge is accessible to anyone with an internet connection? As we embark on the new strategic framework, Emory will continue to consider ways to advance student and faculty scholarship for global impact and change while promoting our ongoing Open Access commitments.

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