Free Access to Knowledge

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Free and open access to knowledge for everyone, everywhere - that is Open Access. Open Access enables equal access to information for all and thus the fair and transparent use of taxpayers' money as well as efficient research and innovation. However, there are still infrastructural obstacles, information gaps and reservations about Open Access. Starting today, 28 September 2021, all academics, Open access newcomers and professionals will find a wide range of services that focus on information, training and networking free of charge at https://open-access.network. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has been funding the open-access.network project since December 2019 with around 2.4 million euros and will continue to do so for a total period of three years.

Centralized information, training and networking offering
Existing initiatives and committed actors in the field of Open Access have so far been insufficiently networked. For example, publishers keep scientific publications behind expensive paywalls, libraries lack the know-how necessary for creating new infrastructures, and academics cling to old publication habits. The new internet portal open-access.network closes this gap in the transition to an open academic publication culture with its centralized information, training and networking offer, from which all parts of society can benefit.

"The information offered ranges from basic information on Open Access to funding, legal issues and current developments. In addition to that, the portal offers numerous training opportunities and a space for networking," says project coordinator Dr. Anja Oberländer from the Communication, Information, Media Centre (KIM) at the University of Konstanz.

A place for sustainable networking
The various networking opportunities include thematic workshops and focus groups in which actors can come into direct contact with each other to exchange experiences. The Open Access Forum (forum.open-access.network) in particular offers space for sustainable networking and, unlike social media for example, is also a freely accessible and sustainable store of knowledge. The training offers range from workshops for OA advisors to online seminars and instructional videos for both beginners and (much) more advanced learners. The portal also offers a "Helpdesk": here, experts answer individual enquiries on the topic of OA by e-mail (help(at)open-access.network) or telephone.

The new portal replaces the information platform that has existed since 2007, the contents of which have been comprehensively updated, revised and expanded by the project staff. With the additional offerings in the area of training and networking, the portal offers comprehensive services for researchers, publishers, librarians and all interested parties. In the coming weeks and months, the offer will be further expanded.

The cooperation partnership
The project is led by the Communication, Information and Media Centre (KIM) at the University of Konstanz. In addition, the Helmholtz Open Science Office in Potsdam, the State and University Library of Lower Saxony (SUB) in Göttingen, the Open Access Bureau Berlin (OABB), the TIB - Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology in Hanover and Bielefeld University Library are involved in setting up this unique Open Access portal.

After the end of the project duration, the portal will continue to be operated on a sustainable basis: The participating institutions have committed themselves to taking over the ongoing operation - in addition to that, the OA community is to help shape the content maintenance of the site. Many authors from various academic disciplines have already been involved in writing subject-specific content for the site.


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