OpenCon 2015 Details Announced!

For immediate release: April 7, 2015
Press Contact: Ranit Schmelzer: +1 202 538 1065,

Broad Coalition Announces 2nd Conference for Students & Early Career Academic Professionals on Open Access, Open Education and Open Data

opencon2015OpenCon 2015 to Take Place November 14-16 in Brussels, Belgium

WASHINGTON, DC — Today 11 organizations representing the next generation of scholars, researchers, and academic professionals announced OpenCon 2015: Empowering the Next Generation to Advance Open Access, Open Education and Open Data. Slated for November 14-16 in Brussels, Belgium, the event will bring together students and early career academic professionals from across the world to learn about the issues, develop critical skills, and return home ready to catalyze action toward a more open system for sharing the world’s information — from scholarly and scientific research, to educational materials, to digital data.

Hosted by the Right to Research Coalition and SPARC, OpenCon 2015 builds on the success of the first-ever OpenCon meeting last year which convened 115 students and early career academic professionals from 39 countries in Washington, DC.  More than 80% of these participants received full travel scholarships, provided by sponsorships from leading organizations, including the Max Planck Society, eLife, PLOS, and more than 20 universities.

“OpenCon 2015 will expand on a proven formula of bringing together the brightest young leaders across the Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data movements and connecting them with established leaders in each community,” said Nick Shockey, founding Director of the Right to Research Coalition. “OpenCon is equal parts conference and community.  The meeting in Brussels will serve as the centerpiece of a much larger network to foster initiatives and collaboration among the next generation across OpenCon’s three issue areas.”

OpenCon 2015’s three day program will begin with two days of conference-style keynotes, panels, and interactive workshops, drawing both on the expertise of leaders in the Open Access, Open Education and Open Data movements and the experience of participants who have already led successful projects.

The third day will take advantage of the location in Brussels by providing a half-day of advocacy training followed by the opportunity for in-person meetings with relevant policy makers, ranging from the European Parliament, European Commission, embassies, and key NGOs. Participants will leave with a deeper understanding of the conference’s three issue areas, stronger skills in organizing local and national projects, and connections with policymakers and prominent leaders across the three issue areas.

Speakers at OpenCon 2014 included the Deputy Assistant to the President of the United States for Legislative Affairs, the Chief Commons Officer of Sage Bionetworks, the Associate Director for Data Science for the U.S. National Institutes of Health, and more than 15 students and early career academic professionals leading successful initiatives. OpenCon 2015 will again feature leading experts.  Patrick Brown and Michael Eisen, two of the co-founders of PLOS, are confirmed for a joint keynote at the 2015 meeting.

“For the ‘open’ movements to succeed, we must invest in capacity building for the next generation of librarians, researchers, scholars, and educators,” said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC (The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition). “OpenCon is dedicated to creating and empowering a global network of young leaders across these issues, and we are eager to partner with others in the community to support and catalyze these efforts.”

OpenCon seeks to convene the most effective student and early career academic professional advocates—regardless of their ability to pay for travel costs. The majority of participants will receive full travel scholarships. Because of this, attendance is by application only, though limited sponsorship opportunities are available to guarantee a fully funded place at the conference.  Applications will open on June 1, 2015.

In 2014, more than 1,700 individuals from 125 countries applied to attend the inaugural OpenCon.

“As an organization that represents more than 11 million students across 39 European countries, the European Students’ Union is committed to advancing openness in research and education,” said Erin Nordal, Vice-Chairperson of the European Students’ Union (ESU). “ESU is excited to help organize OpenCon 2015 and ensure the next generation is at the forefront of the conversation around Open Access, Open Education and Open Data—in Europe and beyond.”

This year, an expanded emphasis will be placed on building the community around OpenCon and on satellite events. OpenCon satellite events are independently hosted meetings that mix content from the main conference with live presenters to localize the discussion and bring the energy of an in-person OpenCon event to a larger audience.  In 2014, OpenCon satellite events reached hundreds of students and early career academic professionals in nine countries across five continents.  A call for partners to host satellite events has now opened and is available at

OpenCon 2015 is organized by the Right to Research Coalition, SPARC, and a committee of student and early career researcher organizations from around the world. A variety of sponsorship opportunities are available and will be critical to ensuring that dedicated students and early career academic professionals across the globe are able to attend. For more information, see

Applications for OpenCon 2015 will open on June 1st. For more information about the conference and to sign up for updates, visit  You can follow OpenCon on Twitter at @Open_Con or using the hashtag #opencon.


The Right to Research Coalition is an international alliance of graduate and undergraduate student organizations, which collectively represent nearly 7 million students in over 100 countries around the world, that advocate for and educate students about open methods of scholarly publishing.  The Right to Research Coalition is a project of SPARC.

SPARC®, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, is an international alliance of academic and research libraries working to correct imbalances in the scholarly publishing system.  Developed by the Association of Research Libraries, SPARC has become a catalyst for change.  Its pragmatic focus is to stimulate the emergence of new scholarly communication models that expand the dissemination of scholarly research and reduce financial pressures on libraries.  More information can be found at and on Twitter @SPARC_NA.

Contact Information for Organizing Committee Members

Belgian Medical Students’ Association
Koen Demaegd, National Officer on Research Exchange
nore [at] belgianmsa [dot] com

Slobodan Radicev, governing board member
slobodan.radicev [at] euroscience [dot] org

The European Students’ Union
Erin Nordal, Vice-Chairperson
Erin [at] esu-online [dot] org

The International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA)
Ivana Di Salvo, Liaison officer for
Research and Medical Associations [at] ifmsa [dot] org

Arslan Inayat, National President IFMSA Pakistan*
arslan201 [at] hotmail [dot] com

Max Planck PhDnet
Prateek Mahalwar, Spokesperson
prateek.mahalwar [at]

The Open Access Button
Joseph McArthur, Co-lead
Joe [at] righttoresearch [dot] com

Open Knowledge
Jonathan Gray, Director of Policy and Research
jonathan [dot] gray [at] okfn [dot] org

Open Library of Humanities
Martin Paul Eve, Co-Director
martin [dot] eve [at] openlibhums [dot] org

National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (NAGPS)
Kristofferson Culmer, President & CEO
president [at] nagps [dot] org

Siyavula Education
Megan Beckett, Instructional Designer and Open Education Advocate
megan [at] siyavula [dot] com

Meredith Niles
Post-doctoral research fellow, Harvard University*
Assistant Professor, University of Vermont (August 2015)*
meredith_niles [at] hks [dot] harvard [edu]

Iara Vidal Pereira de Souza
PhD student, Brazilian Institute of Information in Science and Technology / Federal University of Rio de Janeiro*
iaravidalps [at] gmail [dot] com

Erin McKiernan
Postdoctoral fellow, Wilfrid Laurier University*
emck31 [at] gmail [dot] com

* Institutions are for affiliation purposes only


2015 International Open Access Week Theme: “Open for Collaboration”

Open_Access_logo_PLoS.svgThe SPARC (The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) today (4th March 2015) had announced that the theme for this year’s 8th International Open Access Week will be “Open for Collaboration.”

The theme highlights the ways in which collaboration both inspires and advances the Open Access movement—from the partnerships behind launching initiatives such as PLOS and ImpactStory, to the working relationships the community has established with policymakers that have delivered Open Access policies around the world.   The theme also emphasizes the ways in which Open Access enables new avenues for collaboration between scholars by making research available to any potential collaborator, anywhere, any time.

Established by SPARC in 2008, International Open Access Week provides an opportunity for the academic and research community to continue to learn about the benefits of Open Access, to share what they’ve learned with colleagues, and to help inspire wider participation in helping to make Open Access the norm in scholarship and research.  This year’s Open Access Week will be held from October 19th through the 25th.

The “Open for Collaboration” theme will also explore how cooperation between stakeholder communities helps to set the default to open for scholarly communication.  At a broader level, the theme will provide an opportunity for Open Access supporters to consider working with those in similar, allied movements for Open Data and Open Education to advance common goals more quickly.

“The energy that’s generated when smart, committed people work together on issues they care deeply about is palpable,” said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC.  “This year’s Open Access Week gives us the opportunity to highlight examples of that energy in action – and to create opportunities for new partnerships to be forged.”

Last year’s “Generation Open” theme addressed the important role students and early career researchers play within the Open Access movement, and coordinated efforts between librarians and the students on their campuses have proven to be effective in advancing the conversation around Open Access at universities around the world.

International Open Access Week is a distributed, community-driven week of awareness for opening up scholarly communication, celebrated by institutions and organizations across the world.  For more information about International Open Access Week, please visit


SPARC®, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, is an international alliance of academic and research libraries working to correct imbalances in the scholarly publishing system.  Developed by the Association of Research Libraries, SPARC has become a catalyst for change.  Its pragmatic focus is to stimulate the emergence of new scholarly communication models that expand the dissemination of scholarly research and reduce financial pressures on libraries.  More information can be found at Connect with us on Twitter at @SPARC_NA.

For more information, contact:

Nick Shockey on (202) 296-2296 at


India’s Top Scientific Departments Announces OA Policy

Open-Access-1The two top most scientific departments in India, the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and Department of Science and Technology (DST) under the Ministry of Science and Technology had announced jointly the Open Access Policy on 12th December 2014.

The departments are of the opinion that as the funds for research on science and technology are public funds, therefore, the “information and knowledge generated through the use of these funds are made publicly available as son as possible”. However it adds a foot note that information sharing is subject to the “Indian law and IP policies of respective funding agencies and institutions where the research is performed” and the institutions are encouraged to seek IP protection to the research outputs.

The policy states that the departments believe that by the distribution of the research publications freely “is the most effective way of ensuring that the research it funds can be accessed, read and built upon” and  “free, open and digital access of scientific research will ensure percolation of cutting edge research at a rapid pace into higher education curricula, thereby raising the standard of technical and scientific education in the country

As per the policy, all the research articles’s final accepted manuscripts (post-prints) resulting from the DBT/DST funds received from the fiscal year 2012-13 onwards are required to be deposited either in their respective institutional repositories or in the Ministry’s central repositories ( and and the harvester ( would harvest the full-text and metadata of the publications.

The highlight of the DBT/DST Open Access policy is that while it recognizes “the right of researchers to publish their work in journals of their choice”, it states that “the intrinsic merit of the work, and not the title of the journal in which an author’s work is published, should be considered in making future funding decisions” and the DBT and DST do not recommend the use of journal impact factors either as a surrogate measure of the quality of individual research articles, to assess an individual scientist’s contributions, or in hiring,promotion, or funding decisions“.

This above statements by DBT/DST shows that the departments are in agreement to the The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) which “intends to halt the practice of correlating the journal impact factor to the merits of a specific scientist’s contributions“.

The Open Access India community is welcomes this Open Access policy and hopes that this step towards Open Access to public funded research would lead to development and adoption of National Open Access Mandate in India and also the policy adds into it all the research outputs (not limited to articles) and shares them freely for the public good.

Introducing Open Access India Ambassadors

The first two proud Ambassadors of the Open Access India are Ms. Sri Amudha S., a full time PhD candidate in Dept. of Library and Information Science, Pondicherry University.  and Mr. Sandeep Rawal, a PhD Scholar, Department of AgronomyCCS Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar.

To take forward the Open Access movement in India and to build the momentum by involving all the stakeholders, the Open Access India had followed the foot steps of OKFN‘s Ambassador Scheme and the Max Planck Society‘s Open Access Ambassadors, and had given call for the Open Access India Ambassador Scheme. By this scheme, the Community would have a network of volunteers in India for advocating Open Access, Open Data and Open Education. More on how to apply Ambassador, please see the post and fill out the form here.

New website for Open Access India

To reach out to the world beyond Facebook, the new website has been set up. This website would now be officially launched in early 2015 when the Open Access India community of practice would be formally registered as body.

The community is now part of GODAN “an initiative that seeks to support global efforts to make agricultural and nutritional data available, accessible, and usable for unrestricted use worldwide” and had committed itself to work for Open Access, Open Data and Open Education in India.

The future plans form the community is – first formal registration by forming working group and bylaws and then call for membership and formation of executive committee by election.

Call for Participation: OpenCon 2014 Delhi Satellite Event at CSSP, JNU, India, on 25 Nov 2014

OpenCon 2014 Delhi Satellite Event

Date: November 25, 2014, at 14:00 – 17:00

Venue: Room No. 227, CSSP, SSS-1 Building, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi – 110067, India

Registration Fee: Nil

Theme: Open Science, Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data

OpenCon 2014 is the student and early career researcher conference on Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data held during November 2014 at Washington, DC. It was organized by the Right to Research Coalition, SPARC (The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), and an Organizing Committee of students and early career researchers from around the world.

The meeting had convened students and early career researchers from around the world who serve as a powerful catalyst for projects led by the next generation of scholars and researchers to advance OpenCon’s three focus areas—Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data.

OpenCon 2014 Delhi Satellite event is being held in partnership with the main conference (more on OpenCon 2014 here). As it is important to allow more of those interested to participate, this satellite event is being organized locally to reflect the fact that the conversation around these issues can be very different depending on where they’re had.

OpenCon 2014 Delhi will feature leading speakers from across the Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data movements, including a combination of live speakers and videos from the OpenCon 2014 Washington event.

The talks will be interspersed with interactive group discussions themed around the session topic.

Format of the event

OpenCon 2014 Delhi is a half-day event hosted at Centre for Studies in Science Policy (CSSP), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) by Open Access India in collaboration and support with CSSP, JNU Central Library and Rock Your Paper.

14:00 – 14:15 : Arrival and registration

14:15 – 14:20 : Welcome and Introduction

14:20 – 15:00 : Session 1: Open Access – talks and video session (#227, CSSP)

15:00 – 15:15 : Coffee Break

15:15 – 15:45 : Session 1 group discussions (#227, CSSP)

15:45 – 16:00 : Session 2: Open Education & Open Data – talks and video session (#227, CSSP)

16:00 – 16:15 : Coffee Break

16:15 – 16:45 : Session 2 group discussions (#227, CSSP)

16:45 – 17:00 : Summary and end of day

To secure your place please register for a free ticket – and we look forward to seeing you on the 25th Nov. 2014!

About OpenCon 2014 (Washington main event)

OpenCon 2014 is the student and early career researcher conference on Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data being held on November 15-17, 2014 in Washington, DC. It is organized by the Right to Research Coalition, SPARC (The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), and an Organizing Committee of students and early career researchers from around the world.

The meeting will convene students and early career researchers from around the world and serve as a powerful catalyst for projects led by the next generation of scholars and researchers to advance OpenCon’s three focus areas—Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data.

See the OpenCon2014 website for more details.

Paperity. Keep on top of recent discoveries and never hit a paywall

With the beginning of the new academic year, the first multidisciplinary aggregator of Open Access journals and papers has been launched. Paperity will connect authors with readers, boost dissemination of new discoveries and consolidate academia around open literature.

Right now, Paperity includes over 160,000 articles from 2,000 scholarly journals and growing. The goal of the team is to cover 100% of Open Access literature in 3 years from now. In order to achieve this, Paperity utilizes an original technology for article indexing, designed by Marcin Wojnarski, a data geek from Poland and a medalist of the International Mathematical Olympiad. This technology indexes only true peer-reviewed scholarly papers and filters out irrelevant entries, like student assignments or drafts that easily make it into other aggregators and search engines.

The amount of scholarly literature has grown enormously in the last decades. Successful dissemination became a big issue. New tools are needed to help readers access vast amounts of literature dispersed all over the web and to help authors reach their target audience.

Moreover, research today has become interdisciplinary. The most ground-breaking discoveries tend to happen on the crossroads of different disciplines. Scholars need broad access to literature from many fields, also from outside of their core research area. This is the reason why Paperity covers all subjects, from Sciences, Technology, Medicine, through Social Sciences, to Humanities and Arts.

There are lots of great articles out there which report new significant findings, yet attract no attention, only because they are hard to find. No more than top 10% of research institutions have good access to scholarly communication channels and can share their findings efficiently. The remaining 90%, especially authors from developing countries and early-career researchers, start from a much lower stand and often stay unnoticed despite high quality of their work – says Wojnarski. He adds that it is not by accident that Paperity partners with the EU Contest for Young Scientists, the biggest science fair in Europe. With the help of Paperity, the Contest will improve dissemination of discoveries authored by its participants – top young talents from all over the continent.

Sharing Your Work in Open Access

The scholarly research when read and commented by peers would enable creation of new knowledge. This knowledge when collaboratively sourced, reviewed and applied would develop new technologies for the public good. In this process, the scholars or researchers would get recognition, appreciation and citation by peers and promotions at work place. However, in the life cycle of knowledge creation and development of public good technologies, there is a considerable time lag and has issues about accessibility. Though the scholarly research is available, it is not accessible to everyone. Nevertheless, with the advent of new web 2.0 technologies, and licensing terms, all the researchers can now be able to sharing their scholarly research among peers globally in real-time and pave way for building upon their work for knowledge creation and technology development. Traditionally, the research work is first read at the scholarly conferences and is made available as conference proceedings and then the outcomes are published in the peer-reviewed journals. In this process, the work is evaluated by the peer review process for its credibility and upon publication as an article in a journal; the work gets sanctity and endorsement. This module shall discuss about the ways and means of sharing the scholarly research globally via the World Wide Web and answer a few questions viz., Where to publish? How to choose a suitable journal? What is the journal publication process? In addition, how to share the published work?

Click here to download the resource book.

Apply to Attend OpenCon 2014

OpenConApply to Attend OpenCon 2014

OpenCon 2014 is the student and early career researcher conference on Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data and will be held on November 15-17, 2014 in Washington, DC. It is organized by the Right to Research Coalition, SPARC (The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), and an Organizing Committee of students and early career researchers from around the world.

Submit the form < to apply to attend OpenCon 2014. Applications will remain open until August 25th at 23:59 PDT. Acceptance decisions are made by our Organizing Committee of students and early career researchers, and accepted applicants will be notified by September 12th.

Why is there an application process for OpenCon 2014? Who is eligible to apply to attend OpenCon? Have other questions about OpenCon? View participant FAQ <>.


Call for Comments on Proposed OA Policy for DBT and DST, Government of India

open-accessThe Department of Biotechnology and Department of Science & Technology, Government of India had published its proposed Open Access Policy draft on its website and had invited comments and suggestions. See here for the policy draft. You may send your comments/suggestions latest by 25th July, 2014 to

The draft policy mandates the fund grantees to deposit the final manuscripts resulting from the research projects funded by them. It is not clear from the policy draft if the data is also required to be deposited. Though there is a separated policy on ‘Open Data’ by the DST i.e. National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy (NSDAP), there is no mention of it in the draft policy may be because the ‘Data’ referred to in the NSDAP is not of research data.

The policy draft mandates to deposit the manuscripts within a week of acceptance in their respective Institutional Repositories or with the proposed DBT-DST repository. Currently in India there are about 100 repositories as per ROAR.

The best part of the policy is that it had specified who own the copyright of the research work and the manuscript. It has also added the Copyright Addendum.

We have a similar kind of OA policies from CSIR and ICAR.

We all should congratulate the team who had prepared the policy draft and lets send the suggestions/comments for further improvement of the policy and its implementation.