Open Access Week

13th International Open Access Week will be held October 19-25, 2020. The theme of the week is "Open with Purpose: Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and Inclusion."


Openness can be a powerful tool for building more equitable systems of sharing knowledge. Rebuilding research and scholarship to be open by default presents a unique opportunity to construct a foundation that is fundamentally more equitable. Yet today, structural racism, discrimination, and exclusion are present and persistent in places where openness is a core value. As a global community, it is important to understand that the systems and spaces of the present are often built upon legacies of historic injustice and that addressing these inequities is a necessity.

We need to examine who these spaces and systems are designed for, who is missing, who is excluded by the business models we use, and whose interests are prioritized. As we work together to rebuild these structures, we need to commit to moving from conversations to concrete commitments and to hold one another accountable for making real progress.

Building on our discussions in 2018 (“Designing Equitable Foundations for Open Knowledge”) and 2019 (“Open for Whom? Equity in Open Knowledge”), 2020 marks the third consecutive year the theme for International Open Access Week will focus on the urgent need for action on equity and inclusion, underscoring the urgency of continuing to center this work.

International Open Access Week is a time for the wider community to coordinate in taking action to make openness the default for research and to ensure that equity is at the center of this work. This year's Open Access Week will be held from October 19th through the 25th; however, organizers are encouraged to host discussions and take action around this year's theme whenever is most suitable during the year and to adapt the theme and activities to their local context. This is especially true for this year with the varying levels of disruption due to COVID-19.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion must be consistently prioritized year-round and integrated into the fabric of the open community, from how our infrastructure is built to how we organize community discussions to the governance structures we use. International Open Access Week is an important opportunity to catalyze new conversations, create connections across and between communities that can facilitate this co-design, and advance progress to build more equitable foundations for opening knowledge—discussions and actions that need to be continued, year in and year out.

Participating in Open Access Week is a joint collaboration between the university libraries in Iceland as part of an international awakening on financing and publishing research.

Jack E. James, professor at the Department of Psychology, has researched open access for the past years but because of publishers demands his research is more often than not locked behind a paywall. The research did nonetheless take place within the academic community that funded it via the state budget –in order to create better and more sustainable knowledge for our communities as a whole. The state of academic publishing has caused a lot of people a lot of worry within the academic community but in general the current state is considered unfair to say the least.

But there are people that go further than worry, they take action and demonstrate the unfairness as an act of civil disobedience. Alexandra Elbakyan is one such person who runs one of if not the most popular database online, Sci-Hub, and constitutes a good part of James‘ research article where he also considers the ethical dilemma of on the one hand to decide to use Sci-Hub in your research when open access is hard to come by but Sci-Hub‘s impact on the open access movement is more or less unaccounted for in research on research:

Assuming, then, that the centuries-old ideal of maximizing access to scientific knowledge is in the public interest, the principle of fairness provides justification for consumers of scientific knowledge to consider the current state of academic publishing and to take stock of implied moral imperatives. Only then is each individual ethically equipped to decide what action, if any, is required to challenge current barriers to access. Some, even while believing that copyright transfer and access paywalls are unethical, may conclude that use of pirate OA, with its attendant contestable legality and morality, is not justified. Others, however, may take the opposite view, concluding that use of pirate OA is not merely justifiable as a form of civil disobedience but a moral imperative. In that instance, the act of civil disobedience is not aimed at breaching cyber security law or copyright law per se. Rather, electronic civil disobedience in that instance is an act of protest against perceived unfairness in current publishing arrangements that permit (indeed, encourage) transfer of copyright of public scientific knowledge to be monetized for profit.

James, J. E. (2020). Pirate open access as electronic civil disobedience: Is it ethical to breach the paywalls of monetized academic publishing? Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 1-5.

Documentary on open access: "Paywall: The Business of Scholarship". Jason Schmitt, producer and director, is a professor at Clackson University in Potsdam, NY.

Reykjavik University has an Open Access Policy.

Open Access is free public access to full-text published research articles that were payed for by public funding and the public has the right to access and read for free without having to pay for it again.

When publishing in open access several options are possible. Green Open Access is well known and involves allowing simultaneous publication in an open access institutional repository (e.g. Opin vísindi, Hirslan). If the copyright agreement permits the published article is submitted to the repository, if not the post-print (per reviewed) or pre-print (pre refereeing) is submitted.

SherpaRomeo provides information regarding publisher´s open access policies and self-archiving permissions in institutional repositories.


  • OA strategy of the Icelandic Centre for Research (Rannis)

  • OA strategy of the European Union.

  • Open access - H2020 Online manual - European Union

  • Plan S - Founders are Science Europe along with other stakeholders in research.

    “With effect from 2021, all scholarly publications on the results from research funded by public or private grants provided by national, regional and international research councils and funding bodies, must be published in Open Access Journals, on Open Access Platforms, or made immediately available through Open Access Repositories without embargo.” Principles and implementation of Plan S.

  • Coalition S - a coalition of national research funding organisations, with the support of the European Commission and the European Research Council (ERC). The Coalition has agreed to implement the principles of Plans S. All research funders; both private and public, interested to join the coalition are invited to do so.

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