April 19, 2018


This feature article is part of our Open Access in Action series, sponsored by Dove Press, which tracks the evolution of important open access (OA) issues through a library lens by presenting regular original articles, video interviews, news, and perspectives. To learn more about how librarians like you are driving practice across the lifestyle of open access, be sure to visit Open Access in Action.


Open Access: It’s All About People!

manola_eloy_600wEveryone is talking about Open Access and Open Science. Scientists and organizations see it as a way to speed up, improve quality, and more effectively reward research activities, while funders and ministries see it as a means to optimize cost of science and leverage innovation.

Open Access has been around for more than a decade, with many implementations around the world. Funded by the European Commission, OpenAIRE is a key European infrastructure whose mission is to foster the social and technical links that enable Open Science in Europe and beyond.

Working in a diverse and ever changing scholarly communication environment for the past six years, we have have been convinced that Open Science needs pragmatic, participatory infrastructures to work. The diverse and culturally varied research communities will accept no “one-size-fits-all” solutions. While some see variety and diversity as insurmountable barriers, for OpenAIRE, they are the foundation stones upon which we build.

Key to OpenAIRE is understanding and supporting the users, providers and consumers of the scholarly communication ecosystem at their research places. For this reason we operate a unique network of people in all 33 European countries, the National Open Access Desks (NOADs). NOADs (in several cases library organizations) are representatives on the ground who understand the local issues and are able to reach out with relevant messages in the local language. They engage and support ministries, institutions, publishers and curators of data and researchers alike, breaking down geographical and thematic boundaries by transferring best practices from one country to the other.

Research is a global effort but support is local. With a positive look into the future of open scholarship our key messages for the Open In Action week are:

Libraries acting locally are key for global open scholarship: Libraries provide on-site support and services to researchers and they are therefore key in the adoption of open science practices.  Whether it is about publications or data, guiding and helping on how and where to publish or deposit  any research product and at which phase, or offering services (repositories, journal or book publishing services, etc.) for the management and accessibility of  research results, libraries are in the frontline of today’s open science  supporting services. Together with the research communities, they are shaping the future developments in open scholarship. By supporting open science, libraries are assuming new and central roles and exploring opportunities, while helping the organizations and communities they serve to resume greater control on future scholarship.

So, prepare yourself and your library, learn new skills (research data management, text and data mining, legal support), make your case, be innovative and proactive.


Strength in the network: Local initiatives and services are important, but they only can fulfill all their potential if they are not siloed but connected with similar ones, at national, regional and global levels. Being part of national networks and initiatives like OpenAIRE in Europe, La Referencia in Latin America, and SHARE in the US, and actively participating in global organizations like COAR (Confederation of Open Access Repositories) allows libraries to share, align and validate practices, leveraging and promoting the impact of the local work at a wider scale. Participate and learn how synergies, small steps, collaborative work and simple services can take you a long way.

As a final statement we invite you to celebrate with us the Open Access week by choosing one or more webinars on open science topics at https://www.openaire.eu/openaire-celebrates-open-access-week-16

Open Access In Action

Natalia Manola & Eloy Rodrigues About Natalia Manola & Eloy Rodrigues

Natalia Manola is the managing director of OpenAIRE, Athena Research & Innovation Centre, Greece; Eloy Rodrigues is chief of executive board of COAR , University of Minho Library, Portugal