Event Recap

Webinar: Open Access Research (Switzer Foundation Webinar Series)

Fellow(s): Meredith Niles

Originally broadcast: March 4, 2015

In this webinar we explore how open access works, what opportunities there are to make academic publications more open, and the resources that are available to assist scientists and researchers to make their work more open.

The Switzer Foundation is committed to funding scientists, researchers, and projects that have an applied focus, and through the work of its Fellows, helping foster diverse partnerships with stakeholders across the environmental spectrum.  Peer-reviewed publications are often an important and necessary product of the work of many Switzer Fellows and remain one of the core components of academic research.  However, these publications are often outside the reach of the individuals outside of academia with whom we work. 

Making research more publicly available is possible through “open access”, an initiative that is multi-faceted and aims to make peer-reviewed publications more freely accessible.  Open access can mean a variety of things including publishing in an open access journal, sharing your work through pre-print servers, or posting your article after publication.  Yet, there is broad misunderstanding about what it takes to make your work more open, the implications of doing so both legally and for an academic career, and the availability of resources to help cover any financial costs associated with open access work. 

The webinar was led by Meredith Niles, 2013 Switzer Fellow, who is currently a post-doctorate at Harvard University in the sustainability science program.  Meredith has worked for years on open access advocacy and publishing issues.  She has a number of achievements in this space, including being part of the coalition that recently passed the first ever state-level open access policy in California that makes publicly-funded public health research available for free after one year of publication.  Meredith has also lobbied at the federal level for policies to make US government funded research more publicly available.  In 2014, she was appointed to the board of directors of the Public Library of Science (PLOS), an open access publisher most known for PLOS ONE, the world’s largest science publication.  Most recently, Meredith was awarded the Next Generation Leadership Award at the OpenCon conference in November 2014 for her efforts to pass open access policies and promote early career researchers to publish open access.

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