Information Now: Open Access and the Public Good
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Every year, the international academic and research community dedicates a week in October to discuss, debate, and learn more about Open Access. Open Access in the academic sense refers to the free, immediate, and online access to the results of scholarly research, primarily academic, peer-reviewed journal articles. In the United States, the movement in support of Open Access has, in the last decade, been growing dramatically. Because of this growing interest in Open Access, a group of academic librarians from the Georgia Tech library, Wendy Hagenmaier (Digital Collections Archivist), Fred Rascoe (Scholarly Communication Librarian), and Lizzy Rolando (Research Data Librarian), got together to talk to folks in the thick of it, to try and unravel some of the different concerns and benefits of Open Access. But we didn’t just want to talk about Open Access for journal articles – we wanted to examine more broadly what it means to be “open”, what is open information, and what relationship open information has to the public good. In this podcast, we talk with different people who have seen and experienced open information and open access in practice. In the first act, Dan Cohen from the DPLA speaks about efforts to expand public access to archival and library collections. In the second, we’ll hear an argument from Christine George about why things sometimes need to be closed, if we want them to be open in the future. Third, Kari Watkins speaks about specific example of when a government agency decided, against legitimate concerns, to make transit data open, and why it worked for them. Fourth, Peter Suber from Harvard University will give us the background on the Open Access movement, some myths that have been dispelled, and why it is important for academic researchers to take the leap to make their research openly accessible. And finally, we’ll hear from Michael Chang, a researcher who did take that leap and helped start an Open Access journal, and why he sees openness in research as his obligation.