With the growing interest in OA worldwide comes the increasing demand for training, knowledge development, and skills for the implementing of OA repositories and OA journals, the twin routes for making research results openly accessible.
The concept of an OA resource arose because much ‘spreading the word’ activity (currently at least) is carried out by a core set of individuals who are invited to travel to address audiences or carry out training activities on all continents. This is reasonably effective on the local level at which it operates, but is costly for both trainers/speakers and participants, and the one-size-fits-all approach that necessarily has to be adopted is not the most effective way of educating and informing. Thus the current model for disseminating reliable and authoritative information about Open Access is unsustainable, is not effective on the large scale and is overly-onerous on the individuals concerned. The information needs of the scholarly community worldwide can better be addressed by the provision of an authoritative and informative resource on Open Access, delivered in various formats that accommodate the needs of all constituencies.
One major problem that this resource will address is that OA and associated issues move fast, and data and information on Open Access quickly become out of date. It will be a major responsibility of this service to keep information updated and relevant to current developments. One example is that an almost-ongoing synopsis of the gathering evidence on OA impact advantage is needed, so that people have the latest snapshot, the arguments and links to the raw data whenever they need to access any of these for any advocacy they are doing.
There is also a need to gather everything together to make one port-of-call for OA information. At the moment, if people want to know about author addenda, for example, they probably refer to SPARC or Science Commons if they are familiar with them. But there are also specific examples of author addenda developed by individual universities and these would be very helpful if the information-seeker were a pro-rector trying to formulate one for his/her own establishment. The resource here would list all these as links and provide a short overarching discussion of the main issues so that anyone looking for help and examples of author addenda can be confident that s/he will find the way from there to all useful information on the topic.
There are other perspectives on it, too. The main one is that a small set of individual experts in the field frequently provide presentations/lectures or training workshops on aspects of Open Access to a specific community. These are usually effective as they stand, but then participants are left with little or no opportunity for follow-up as the trainers then return to their day jobs elsewhere. What is badly needed is a resource that can be referred to afterwards. If we use the analogy of university teaching, a lecture is given and then students are provided with a list of things to go and look up, read, work through or test, some of which have been prepared by the lecturer and the rest of which are links to what the lecturer considers to be true, accurate, authoritative information. The proposed resource will provide the equivalent of lecturer-created materials, accompanied by a list of, and links to, the other authoritative resources on each topic. It will also provide periodic, regular, online tutoring for people who wish to have this kind of support. We also envisage offering a one-week online tutoring facility three or four times a year. Participation would be free for people from developing countries and for a small charge for those from the developed world. This is for individuals who require a more supported approach to learning and using Open Access materials and concepts, and will be offered on specific areas for which there is most demand.
The other main point is about training-the-trainers: equipping additional people to carry out further training for new audiences – a kind of viral open education objective. The critical point here is that the resource will always be available and up to date, so that new trainers can always refer to it with confidence. It will also help to obviate the Chinese-whisper effect where strange myths take hold according to individual whims or preferences. The resource remains as the point of reference, with up to date data and cogent, evidence-based arguments.
The online content is intended to provide training and resources for anyone or institutions who wish to provide open access to their research publications. The objectives are:
• to increase the number of trainers and centres of expertise worldwide
• to expand the knowledge base of open access implementation
• to share resources and best practices
• to demonstrate and record successful outcomes of OA around the world
- Researchers: to be addressed as one constituency but taking into account the following:
- disciplinary differences in outputs and formats of those outputs
- disciplinary differences in methods of assessment
- differences in needs between researchers in different situations
- Librarians at research libraries
- Repository managers/ technical support staff (and would-be repository managers)
- Adminstrators (and policymakers)
- Research funders
- General Public
Key Characteristics of OASIS
• Open to any users
• Open to contributions from diverse practitioners
• Modular approach for content development to enable additions
• International cooperation
• Expert coordination and editorial team