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Letter to UGC on Impact Factors and DOAJ

Open-Access-1Dear Colleagues and Friends,

As you may be aware that the University Grants Commission (UGC) has set up a committee under the Chairmanship of Dr. V.S. Chauhan, Member, UGC and former Director, ICGEB (New Delhi) to prepare the list of journals in which authors should be publishing in-order to gain score for Academic Performance Indicators (API) system. It is reported that this attempt is being made to address the sub-standard publishing by the authors from colleges/universities. It is also mentioned in the news that they may use give weight-age to the journal’s Impact Factor. (Source: The Hindu)

On the other hand earlier in December 2012, The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) an initiated by the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) had put forth a recommendation that “the need to eliminate the use of journal-based metrics, such as Journal Impact Factors, in funding, appointment, and promotion considerations” and had asked the individuals and organizations to sign the DORA declaration.

This call was taken by the DBT/DST and may subscribing to the DORA had mentioned in their Open Access policy that they may not consider Impact Factors in career assessments, promotions or appointments (of individuals in research and academics),

It is proposed that as the DOAJ is improving in terms of quality and services, shall we approach UGC and request it to consider giving weight-age to the DOAJ Indexed Journals while recommending the List of Journals and giving points for publishing in DOAJ Indexed Journals?

If you agree that Open Access should be given weight-age in API Score and Impact Factors should not be used for assessment/appointments/promotions, then please send an email to Dr. V.S. Chauhan <virander[at]icgeb[dot]res[dot]in>

Cite this article as: Sridhar Gutam, "Letter to UGC on Impact Factors and DOAJ," in Open Access India, July 20, 2016, http://openaccessindia.org/letter-ugc-impact-factors-doaj/, accessed on December 11, 2017.

The “Balancing Act” of Copyright & Open Access

To understand the interplay between Copyright law and Open Access, it is essential to consider the justifications for Copyright law. Copyright law emerged out of the belief that there is a need to protect the Science and the Arts in order to encourage their progress. In fact, many countries mention this need for copyright in their constitution (such as the US constitution). The idea is that creators need to capitalize off their work, which would motivate them to keep producing work. They would have a ‘copyright’, which is several exclusive rights for the use and distribution of their work. But since art, science and literature enrich society, and therefore should be open to all eventually, copyrights are not permanent. Therefore, copyright law has described to be a balancing act between the rights of the creator and of the public. Issues debated upon within the context of Copyright law, such as the length of a Copyright, are essentially related to how open or closed the work should be.

However, copyright law is ‘one-size-fits-all’, which is supposed to cover everything from the latest blockbuster movie, to a cutting-edge paper on Genetic Engineering. And there lies the problem.

While making money from their creations is great for musicians, artists and writers, it’s altogether different for researchers. Musicians, artists and writers usually depend upon earning from their work for sustenance, but researchers are already funded by their government or institutions. The global GERD/GDP ratio (Gross Domestic Expenditure on R&D as a percentage of GDP) is 1.70% in 2013.  This means that USD 1.5 trillion are being spent worldwide on research- money that could be used to support a number of other services such as healthcare, education or pension. This massive funding means that researchers are often well-compensated for their work.

In any case, researchers make no money from sending their articles to journals. In fact, journals don’t pay their authors, peer reviewers or editors either. Then why do authors sell their work to journals? As Peter Suber puts it, “Scholars write journal articles for impact, not for money”. Scholars choose to publish their articles in high-profile journals because they want the most people to read it, and to benefit from it. This model used to work. But today, journals have become so expensive, that not even the most well-funded institutions can afford them. From 1986 to 2006, the average journal cost increased by 180% while the consumer price index rose by 84%. This means that the prices of journals have been growing at more than twice the rate of inflation. This is termed as the “serials crisis” as libraries were unable to manage their volume of subscriptions with the increasing costs of journals. Because of these prices, University libraries are buying half of the academic books that they did in the 1980s, which ultimately limits the number of  people that can access these journals. Very often, authors cannot even share their own work after publishing it in a journal.

Why does copyright law allow this situation to arise? It is because the copyright is transferred to publishers when articles are published. For an author of a novel, since they would negotiate a contract with royalty, this transfer enables them to make money, even though the copyright is transferred. Since researchers do not wish to earn from their articles, they usually transfer it to journals for free, along with the copyright. Being for-profit companies, who have a monopoly over articles since they have the copyright, publishers can be selective about what they publish, charge prohibitively high fees for access, and make the profit that was intended to benefit the author. However, this is changing through the Open Access movement.

Authors were compelled to publish with conventional publishers before the information technology age, but digitization of research has made it almost cost-free to transfer research. It is probably best explained by the Budapest Open Access Initiative “An old tradition and a new technology have converged to make possible an unprecedented public good. The old tradition is the willingness of scientists and scholars to publish the fruits of their research in scholarly journals without payment. . . . The new technology is the internet”. This is what has fueled the growth of Open Access, a better way for researchers to share their work. With Open Access, the original aim of research to reach the widest possible audience is being met.

The Open Access movement does not thwart copyrights, but allows a person to choose the kind of copyright they want, from a variety of types, and therefore have the freedom to share to differing extents. The growth of this movement has allowed the scientific community to share their work in the manner that they wish to rather than be obliged to transfer a standard-length and standard-protection copyright. So even if copyright law is not the best fit for researchers, it’s being adapted in creative ways all over the world, to make it compatible with the aims of scientific research.

References:

  • “The “Wild West” of Academic Publishing” By Craig Lambert

Harvard Magazine, JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2015. Available online at this link.

  • “Open Access” By Peter Suber

MIT Press 2012. Available online at this link.

This blog was originally posted on the WSIS KC Community Website.

India’s New IPR Policy

The Indian government published the National Intellectual Rights Policy in May 2016. The policy has been formulated keeping in mind that there is a lack of awareness with regard to the obtaining of Intellectual Property Rights in India. The aim of India’s IPR policy is to promote the “knowledge economy”, which the policy defines as “an economy that creates, disseminates and uses knowledge to enhance its growth and development.” This is a goal complementary to Open Access, which aims to effectuate openness in obtaining, publishing and processing research, in order to create a knowledge based society. IPR could be perceived as a restriction on open access because it allows those who invent and innovate to have exclusive rights to the usage of that invention. However, IPR is necessary to encourage creativity and innovation, by allowing inventors to earn from their inventions, but the existing legal regime could be tweaked in order to support Open Access. More information about IPR and the alternatives to the existing IPR regime is here. India’s policy is framed in order to increase the prevalence of IPR. There is even a provision for the creation of special courts for IPR enforcement, which would encourage the usage of IPR.

However, some aspects of the policy could be improved upon to have better social impact. For example, one of the objectives of India’s IPR policy is to “Get value for IPRs through commercialization”. This objective states that value and economic reward for IP holders is obtained is through commercialization of IPR. While commercialized rights do protect investors, it is important to recognize that commercialization sometimes means lack of access to information. For example, say an IP holder sells her rights to a large corporation, then this means that they would not be in charge of their own rights. Therefore, a researcher may not have the legal right to share his work even though he may wish to see his research be utilized by others worldwide. The IPR policy does not prevent this utilization, of course, but a blanket promotion of commercialization may inadvertently discourage open access. To illustrate, to encourage commercialization would effectively discourage the usage of APF or repository system of sharing research. The policy also aims to commercialize even publically funded research, infact suggest that R&D institutions should reward researchers on the basis of IPR creation. This may not meet the policy’s aims, as IPR driven research is not always socially beneficial research. Moreover, publicly-funded research is slowly moving into the field of Open Access all around the world. For example, the EU recently announced that all publically funded research should be OA by 2020. Infact, the principles of this policy might not be directly aligned with the goals of the Indian government as well. Prime Minister Modi has expressed the ideas India ruling the 21st century, calling it the ‘era of knowledge’. Various institutions in India, such as the Department of Science and Technology have applied an open access policy across their departments. In 2012, India released the “National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy”, which tries to improve data management through open access. Such positive steps are benefitting Indian scientists and researchers.

The strengthening of the IPR system in India could be improved by taking into consideration the larger societal requirement of sharing of research. An IPR system is beneficial for the holistic development of knowledge, but it is not enough. Research and innovation is complementary and complex, and greater protection for the innovator is not always the best approach. This is the most apparent in the sciences, since research is often expensive and time consuming. In developing countries, sparse resources would be wasted in situations where two laboratories may produce duplicative research. A system which would implement IPR without compromising Open Access would serve the interests of the nation better, and truly make India a knowledge producer.

This blog was originally posted on the WSIS KC Blog. 

Next steps for Open Access India: Becoming a Scholarly Society for Open Access

RegisteredTM.svgSince July 2011, the Open Access India as a community of practice is advocating for open access to public funded research through various social media platforms especially via Facebook and Twitter. However to reach the unreached it had launched its public access website and to work more for Open Access, Open Data and Open Education, it had made partnerships with other agencies and organizations working for the openness.

To take forward the movement of open access in India and to increase the momentum, it needs to get registered as scholarly society and it is now working for it.

Anyone having interests and are committed for Open Access in India are invited to be part of it. The draft MoA and the form for submitting the details can be accessed here and here respectively. The young researchers, students who may get involved as Ambassador can submit their details here.

Familiarizing Open Source Seed Concept in India

OpenSourceSeedsThe GNU/Linux, the Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) movements around the globe and Creative Commons had influenced people to share their creations openly and freely. The BiOS is such kind of initiative which is sharing all its biological innovations openly. Now the same concept of sharing the biological materials openly for public good.

In Agriculture, the seed is the fundamental input and access to quality seed is becoming restricted to people by financially, technically and legally. To overcome this, the Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI) was formed and it aims to free the seed. The OSSI had pledged to make the seed free and is permitting the buyers/consumers to use in any ways they want but asks them not to restrict the others use with patents or by any other legal means.

In order to familiarize/popularize the philosophy of Open Source Seed/Free the Seed concept, the Open Access India and IndiaSeeds.in jointly took an attempt to seeds which are almost free of any legal IPR rights. For this as a test crop, Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) has been selected and the excess seeds which were purchased from a farmer by name Undavalli Trimurthulu in West Godavari, Andhra Pradesh for cultivation are being distributed to people for general cultivation or for research purpose.

These Qunioa seeds are being sent to the recipients under Open Source Seeds MTA (material transfer agreement) incorporating the text adopted from The OSSI Pledge. The MTA says “You have the freedom to use these Open Source Seeds in anyway you choose, In return, you pledge not to restrict other’s use of these seeds or their derivatives by patents or other means, and to include this Open Source Seeds MTA with any transfer of these seeds or their derivatives. If anyone are interested to join the OSSI or share their seeds through The OSSI Pledge in India, they may contact Open Access India, IndiaSeeds.in or the OSSI collaborator in India, the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture.

Open Agricultural Educational Resources in India: Present Status and Way Forward

imagesThe Open Educational Resources are now gaining momentum and so are the Open Agricultural Educational Resources (OAERs). In India, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) took initiative in developing e-courses for undergraduate agriculture students in collaboration with State Agricultural Universities (SAUs). When the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are becoming popular among the students of other disciplines and digitally born materials are increasing in numbers, the authors of this paper attempted to explore the present status of the OAERs in India and what is the way forward for it in the National Agricultural Research System (NARS). When searched on the Internet, it was found that the Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute (IASRI) and National Academy of Agricultural Research Management (NAARM), constitute establishments of the ICAR are helping to build e-courses on to Moodle platform and are involved in the capacity development among the Agriculture teachers. The other institutions like The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, IIT Bombay, Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Calcutta, Common Wealth of Learning (COL) are also now developing Agriculture MOOCs. These institutions in collaboration with SAUs are developing courses which are like classroom teaching involving audio, visuals and also live interactions and finally assessment and certification. When the usage of digitally born teaching aids is increasing by the teaching faculty in the SAUs, and there is a growing tendency among the faculties to share the materials over the Internet as evident from the posts on social media, it is possible for the easy share and exchange of the materials by depositing the same in repositories of OAERs. This would help in the development of a common portal which can harvest the materials deposited and catalogue them for easy access, use, re-use for learning and teaching purposes. The authors have also looked at the licensing of these MOOCs or OAERs. While the National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NROER), ePG Pathshala, e-UG Pathshala are being developed by the Ministry of Human Resources Development are being shared with Creative Commons Attribution – ShareAlike. The Agriculture MOOCs does not state any machine readable licensing mechanism which will make the crawlers or bots to search and harvest the materials for use and re-use without technical and legal restrictions. They, however state that the content is free to use for educational and non-commercial purposes. Therefore, the authors propose that the way forward is to establish repositories by the publicly funded institutions involved in teaching for depositing and sharing the content developed by their respective faculty. And the establishment of a portal called ‘Agriculture Commons’ which can harvest the contents from the established repositories with a suitable Creative Commons license.

Cite this article as: Sabita Mondal, "Open Agricultural Educational Resources in India: Present Status and Way Forward," in Open Access India, December 24, 2015, http://openaccessindia.org/744-2/, accessed on December 11, 2017.

Announcing Open Access India Kolkata Meetup

oaikolThe first ever face to face meetup of the Open Access India community members are going to take place at Kolkata on December 18, 2015 during which the future programme of the community would be discussed. Therefore, it is requested that all the community members of the Open Access India and other like minded people who have interests in Open Access, Open Data and Open Education to join us in the meetup at Salt Lake area of Kolkata on Dec. 18, 2015 at 5:30 PM (IST).

It is also planned to air the meetup online via Google Hangouts and tweet & post on Twitter (@OpenAccessIndia) and Facebook with #oaindia #meetup

For RSVP and latest updates on the Meetup please see event page on Facebook and register on Eventbrite

For more, please visit OpenAccessIndia.Org

OA India Member gets featured as Friends of Agro-Know

gutamThe Agro-Know publishes Friends of Agro-Know series of interviews with people that it wants to work with or had already worked with them. As part of the Open Access Week, this time in its series, our member, Dr. Sridhar Gutam is featured because of active involvement in the field of open access to research outcomes and data.

You may read the full interview post here.

In this interview, he opined that the researchers can themselves solve the availability and accessibility issues of publicly funded research outputs when they get themselves aware about the need for ‘Openness’ and the joy of ‘Sharing’ the outputs by practicing self-archiving in Open Repositories. He further added that the Open Access India community by pledging its support for the global and local initiates on Open Access, Open Data and Open Education, would like to work for the development of a National Open Access Policy for India and wish to build Community Open Access Repository for India in which everyone irrespective of institutional affiliation can deposit and share their works freely.

You may read the full interview post here.

Open Definition in Hindi मुक्त की परिभाषा

Open Definition in Hindi ( मुक्त की परिभाषा) is published at http://opendefinition.org/od/2.0/hi/. This translation work is done by Dr. K. Srivally, MANAGE, Hyderabad

वर्शन 2.0

मुक्त की परिभाषा ‘ओपेन’ के अर्थ को ज्ञान, संपुष्ट आम जनता जिनमें से कोई भी इसमें भाग ले सकता है और अंतर परिचालन किया को उच्चतम सीमा तक बढ़ाए।

सारांश:  ज्ञान सबके लिए खुला है कोई भी उसे प्राप्त कर सकता है, उपयोग एवं बदल सकता है और साथ ही उसका आदान प्रदान भी उद्गम और खुलेपन की उपायों के अनुसार ही देख सकते है।*

ओपेन सोर्स Open Source Definition की परिभाषा में जैसे बताया गया है सॉफ्टवेयर के संबंध में ‘ओपेन’ के अर्थ के साथ इसका अर्थ साम्यता रखता है और अंग्रेजी ‘फ्री’ और ‘लिबर’ ‘शब्दों के समानार्थी ‘शब्द है जो कि फ्री कलचरल वक्र्स Definition of Free Cultural Works की परिभाषा में है। प्रारंभ में ओपेन की परिभाषा ओपेन सोर्स की परिभाषा से उत्पन्न हुआ है, जिसकी कुप्पत्ति डेबियन फ्री सॉफ्टवेयर निर्देश सूत्रों Debian Free Software Guidelines से हुआ है।

‘वर्क’ शब्द का उपयोग अंतरित की जाने वाली ज्ञान या विषय का भाग होगा।

लाइसेन्स शब्द का अर्थ उन न्यायिक स्थितियों जिसके तहत कार्य को उपलब्ध कराया जाता है। जहा¡ कोई लाइसेन्स नहीं दिया जाता जिसे कार्य को नियंत्रित करने वाली न्यायिक स्थितियों के रूप में समझा जा सकता (उदाहरण की कॉपी रईट या पब्लिक डोमेईन)

1. मुक्त कार्य

किसी भी मुक्त कार्य को अपने वितरण में निम्नलिखित आव’यकताओं की पूर्ती करनी चाहिए।

1.1 मुक्त लाइसेन्स

किसी भी कार्य मुक्त लाइसेन्स के तहत उपलब्ध होना चाहिए (जैसे धारा-2 में परिभाषित किया गया है) यदि कार्य के साथ कोई अतिरिक्त शब्द जुड़ा हुआ है (जैसे उपयोग की शर्ते, या लाइसेन्स प्रदायक द्वारा आयोजित पेटेंट), तो उसे लाइसेन्स के प्रतिकूल नहीं होना चाहिए।

1.2 अभिगम

कार्य सकल के रूप में उपलब्ध होना चाहिए और जहा¡ तक हो सके एक बार से अधिक पुन: सृजन दर से अधिक न हो और इंटरनेट के माध्यम से नि:शुल्क डाउनलोड करने योग्य हो तो अच्छा होगा। लाइसेन्स अनुपालन के लिए आव’यक कोई अतिरिक्त सूचना (जैसे आरोपण आव’यकताओं के साथ अनुपालन हेतु आव’यक योगदानकर्ताओं के नाम) भी कार्य के साथ संलग्न होने चाहिए।

1.3 मुक्त रूप रेखा

कोई भी कार्य सुविधा जनक एवं परिवर्तनशील रूप में दिया जाए ताकि लाइसेन्स दिए गए अधिकारों के नि”पादन में कोई अनाव’यक तकनीकी अड़चन न हो। विशेष्ता:, सूचना मशीन पर पठन योग्य, अधिक मात्रा में उपलब्ध तथा मुक्त रूपरेखा मे प्रदान किया जाए (अर्थात मुक्त रूप में उपलब्ध प्रकाशिता विनिर्देशों की रूप रेखा में हो जो उपयोग करने पर किसी आर्थिक या अन्य प्रतिबंध न लगते हो) या न्यूनत: किसी एक मुक्त/खुला स्रोत सॉफ्टवेयर टूल से उपयोग किया जा सकता है।

2. मुक्त लाइसेन्स

निम्न शर्तो को पूरा करने वाला लाइसेन्स ‘मुक्त’ माना जाएगा।

2.1 आव’यक अनुमति

लाइसेन्स को अपरिवर्तनीय रूप से निम्नलिखित को अनुमति देनी चाहिए।

2.1.1 उपयोग

किसी भी लाइसेन्स को लाइसेन्स धारक कार्य को मुक्त रूप से उपयोग करने की अनुमति देनी चाहिए।

2.1.2 पुन: विवरण

विभिन्न स्रोतों के कार्यो से तैयार किए गए संकलन का भाग या स्वत: तैयार संकलन, बिक्री सहित, लाइसेन्स कार्य को पुन: वितरित करने हेतु लाइसेन्स अनुमति देनी चाहिए।

2.1.3 परिवर्तन

लाइसेन्स को लाइसेन्स धारी कार्यों के व्युत्पादों को तैयार करने की अनुमति देनी चाहिए और ऐसे व्युत्पादों का विवरण मूल लाइसेन्स धारी कार्यो के नियमों के तहत करने की अनुमति देनी चाहिए।

2.1.4 अलगाव

लाइसेन्स को किसी भी कार्य के भाग का मुक्त उपयोग, वितरण करने की सहमति देनी चाहिए या कार्य के किसी और भाग से अलग परिवर्तन या कार्यों के संकलन जिनमें कार्य मुलत: वितरित किए जा चुके हैं को अनुमति देनी चाहिए। मूल लाइसेन्स के नियमों के भीतर किसी वितरण का किसी कार्य के भाग को प्राप्त करने वाले सभी पार्टियों को वही अधिकार होने चाहिए जो कि संयोग से मूल कार्य में दिए गए है।

2.1.5 संकलन

लाइसेन्स को अन्य विशेष कार्यो सहित वितरित हाने के लिए इन अन्य कार्यों पर प्रतिबंध लगाए बिना लाइसेन्स कार्य को अनुमति देन चाहिए।

2.1.6 गैर-भेदभाव

लाइसेन्स को किसी भी व्यक्ति या समूह के विपरीत भेद भाव व्यक्त नहीं करना चाहिए।

2.1.7 प्रचार

किसी कार्य के साथ संलग्न अधिकार बिना किसी अतिरिक्त कानूनी नियमों की स्वीकृति के उन सभी के लिए लागू होने चाहिए जिन्हे वे पुन: वितरित किए गए हैं।

2.1.8 किसी भी उद्दे’य के लिए लागू करना

किसी भी विशेष प्रयास के क्षेत्र में कार्य का उपयोग करने के लिए लाइसेन्स किसी पर प्रतिबंध नहीं लगाना चाहिए।

2.1.9 बिना किसी शुल्क:

लाइसेन्स को अपने शर्तो के भाग के रूप में कोई शुल्क, रॉयल्टी या अन्य कोई मुआवजा या मैट्रिक परिश्रमिक नहीं लगाना चाहिए।

2.2 स्वीकार्य शर्तो

लाइसेन्स को निम्न स्वीकार्य योग्य शर्तो के अलावा दिए गए धारा 2.1 में सीमाओं, अनिश्चितता या आव’यक अनुमतियों को घटाना नहीं चाहिए।

2.2.1 संबंध

लाइसेन्स को कार्य के वितरण में योगदान कर्ता के संबंध, धारको, प्रायोजकों तथा सृजकों के अधिकारों को साम्मिलित करने की आवा’यकता होगी जब तक कि ऐसे निर्देश कष्टदायक नहीं हैं।

2.2.2 प्रामाणिकता

लाइसेन्स के लिए लाइसेन्स धारी कार्य में किए गए परिवर्तनों को मूल कार्य से अलग नामित करने या संस्करण संख्या डालने या किए गए परिवर्तनों को इंगित करने की आवश्यकता है।

2.2.3 समान अधिकार

लाइसेन्स के लिए लाइसेन्स धारी कार्य की प्रतिया¡ या उससे उत्पन्न कार्यों की आवश्यकता है ताकि मूल के समान्तर लाइसेन्स के अधीन रख सके।

2.2.4 सूचना

लाइसेन्स को कॉपीराईट सूचनाओं तथा लाइसेन्स की पहचान को धारण करने की आव’यकता है।

2.2.5 श्रोत

लाइसेन्स के लिए परिवर्तित कार्यों के अगले परिवर्तनों हेतु आवश्यक रूप रेखा में उपलब्ध कराने की आव’यकता है।

2.2.6 तकनीकी प्रतिबंध निषेध:

लाइसेन्स यदि तकनीकी सीमाएं प्रतिबंध लगाते हैं तो कार्य के वितरण को निषेध करता है या अधिकार प्रदान करता है।

2.2.7 गैर आक्रमकता:

लाइसेन्स को परिवर्तन करने वालों के लिए लाइसेन्स द्वारा अनुमति प्राप्त अधिकारों के उपयोग करने के लिए आव’यक सार्वजनिक अतिरिक्त अनुमति (उदाहरणार्थ पेटेन्ट लाइसेन्स) देने की आवश्यकता है। लाइसेन्स स्वीकृति अधिकार के उपयोग के संबंध में लाइसेन्स प्रदान करने वालों का अतिक्रमण नहीं करने पर भी अनुमति निषेध कर सकता है।

अनुवादक: डॉ कस्तूरी श्रीवल्ली, राष्ट्रीय कृषि विस्तार प्रबंध संस्थान (मैनेज), हैदराबाद, भारत। ksrivally@manage.gov.in

OpenCon 2015 Applications are Open!

Applications to attend OpenCon 2015 on November 14-16 in Brussels, Belgium are now open! The application is available on the OpenCon website at opencon2015.org/attend and includes the opportunity to apply for a travel scholarship to cover the cost of travel and accommodations. Applications will close on June 22nd at 11:59pm PDT.

OpenCon seeks to bring together the most capable, motivated students and early career academic professionals from around the world to advance Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data—regardless of their ability to cover travel costs.  In 2014, more than 80% of attendees received support.  Due to this, attendance at OpenCon is by application only.

Students and early career academic professionals of all experience levels are encouraged to apply.  We want to support those who have ideas for new projects and initiatives in addition to those who are already leading them.  The most important thing is an interest in advancing Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data and a commitment to taking action. We also hope to use applications to connect applicants with opportunities for collaboration, local events in your area, and scholarship opportunities to attend other relevant conferences.

OpenCon is equal parts conference and community.  The meeting in Brussels serves as the centerpiece of a much larger network to foster initiatives and collaboration among the next generation across OpenCon’s issue areas.  Become an active part of the community by joining our discussion list, tuning in for our monthly community calls and webcasts, or hosting an OpenCon satellite event in your community.

Apply now, and join the OpenCon community today!

About OpenCon:

Hosted by the Right to Research Coalition and SPARC, OpenCon 2015 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.  OpenCon 2015 will be held on November 14-16 in Brussels, Belgium.

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.

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.

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, and the program will be announced in the coming months.