Free and open access to knowledge for everyone, everywhere – this is the essence of Open Access. It enables equal access to information for all and thus the fair and transparent use of taxpayers' money as well as efficient research and innovation. At the same time, infrastructural obstacles, information gaps and reservations about Open Access continue to exist. On 28 September 2021, the free portal https://open-access.network launched, which now provides a wide range of services that focus on information, training and networking for all academics, Open Access newcomers and professionals. 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 for a total period of three years.
Central information, training and networking hub
Until now, initiatives and individuals active in the field of Open Access have not been connected sufficiently. For example, publishers keep scientific publications behind expensive paywalls, libraries lack the know-how necessary for creating new infrastructures and researchers keep holding on to old publication traditions. Now, the new internet portal open-access.network supports the transition to establishing a culture of open academic publishing by providing a central information, training and networking hub that benefits all parts of society.
"The information offered ranges from basic information about Open Access to funding, legal issues and current developments. In addition to that, the portal offers numerous training opportunities and 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 workshops and focus groups in which actors can come into direct contact with each other to exchange experiences on specific topics. The Open Access Forum (forum.open-access.network) in particular offers a platform for sustainable networking and, unlike social media for example, is also a freely accessible and sustainable place to store knowledge. The training programme ranges from workshops for Open Access advisors, to online seminars and instructional videos for beginners as well as (much) more advanced learners. The portal also has a "Helpdesk" where experts answer individual questions about Open Access via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone.
The current portal replaces an information platform that has existed since 2007, with content that has been comprehensively updated, revised and expanded by the project team. The new training and networking services are now available for researchers, publishers, librarians and anyone interested in Open Access. The website will continue to grow over the course of the next weeks and months.
The collaboration partners
The project is led by the Communication, Information and Media Centre (KIM) at the University of Konstanz. Additional partners in setting up this unique Open Access portal include: the Helmholtz Open Science Office in Potsdam, the Göttingen State and University Library (SUB), the Open Access Büro Berlin (OABB), the TIB - Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology in Hanover and Bielefeld University Library.
The portal and its resources will remain sustainable, even after the project ends. The participating institutions have committed themselves to the site's continued operation, and the Open Access community will also help keep the its content updated. Many authors from various academic disciplines have already contributed articles to the site.
- New open-access.network website launched on 28 September 2021: open-access.network
- Central information, training and networking hub to promote a culture of open academic publishing
- Funding of approximately 2.4 million euros from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
- Collaborative project led by the University of Konstanz with the Helmholtz Open Science Office in Potsdam, the Göttingen State and University Library (SUB), the Open Access Büro Berlin (OABB), the TIB - Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology in Hanover and the Bielefeld University Library