Open Access Week 2011 in the Czech Republic (Report)
Open Access Week 2011 in the Czech Republic (Report)
Pavla Rygelová, VSB — Technical University of Ostrava, Central Library,

The awareness of open access is slowly rising in the Czech academic environment. Both green open access and gold open access have broken through thanks to Open Access Week, which has for the second time been organized by twelve Czech university libraries, the National Technical Library, and the Library of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, under the auspices of the Association of Libraries of Czech Universities. The event promotes the principles of open access and has several basic goals at a global level:

  • Raising awareness

  • Celebrating progress

  • Sharing experiences

  • Inspiring wider participation.

Raising Awareness of Open Access

The Czech academic libraries focused on the first target — raising awareness of open access and its advantages for scientific communication. They highlighted some key open access issues: the positive impact of open access on the citation rate of scientific articles; retention of an author’s copyright; greater possibility to influence the wide distribution of articles; quality of open access journals certified by impact factor; effortless availability of open access scientific outputs; an opportunity to break the monopoly position of commercial publishers, etc.

Means of Propagation

Similarly to last year, a wide spectrum of information channels and means of communication was used for promoting open access. Promotion leaflets, bookmarks, business cards, posters, badges and T-shirts with the open access logo were used for open access promotion. Other communication channels included PowerPoint presentations broadcasted on LCD screens placed in busy places within institutions, web pages, social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, and articles published in university magazines. In November 2011 Lucie Vycitalova (University of Pardubice) presented a comprehensive report[1] on Open Access Week during the conference ‘Bibliotheca academica in České Budĕjovice’. Some of the promotion materials are archived in the DSpace VSB-TUO repository.[2]

Lectures and Seminars

Quite a large number of lectures and seminars dedicated to open access were held throughout 2011. Most lectures and seminars were attended by librarians, e.g., the seminar ‘Open Access to Scientific Information in the EU and the Czech Republic’,[3] organized by the Technological Centre of the Academy of Sciences of the CR in cooperation with the Czech partner of the OpenAIRE project in October 2011, and Iva Buresova’s lecture (Library of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic) presented at the seminar on Copyright Law in April 2011.

During Open Access Week lectures and seminars were focused on the promotion of open access among students and academic staff. The National Technical Library and the Central Library of the Czech Technical University in Prague organized an Open Access seminar entitled ‘Open Your Mind’,[4] which brought representative figures of the open access movement to the Czech Republic.

Other university libraries organized lectures on a variety open access issues, such as the University of Pardubice: ‘...Make Your Science More Visible’; Masaryk University: ‘Open Access and the Institutional Repository’; the University of West Bohemia: ‘Open Access — New Trend in Scientific Communication’; University of Economics, Prague: ‘Open Access — Support Citation Impact’. The web site Open Access in the CR[5] provides a complete event list.

Web Site Open Access in the CR

The web site Open Access in the CR were created in 2010 as an information point for libraries involved in organizing the Open Access Week. This year we extended the structure and content of the pages to provide a more comprehensive information source about open access. The welcome page offers a basic definition of open access and its advantages, illustrated by a short animated video. The Open Access Week page offers a list of all libraries contributing to Open Access Week, a contact list and an event list. The web site includes the text of the Budapest Open Access Initiative, and which provides an opportunity to sign the Initiative as an individual supporter. The web site is linked to the Facebook page Open Access — CZ.[6]

The web site was mentioned as an example of activity at the national level in Heather Joseph and Jennifer McLennan’s webcast[7] dedicated to Open Access Week 2011. Some information was translated into English for other potential web visitors.

The web site highlights quotations from opinion-makers, people with authority in academic community — e.g., editors of open access journals and deans of faculties. We obtained an opinion from Jean-François Duchamp (Policy Officer, European Commission DG RTD.L.3 — Governance & Ethics) during his visit to the seminar Open Access to Scientific Information in the EU and the Czech Republic in the Technological Centre of the Academy of Sciences of the CR in October 2011.

Open Access Promotion in Public Media

The open access topic has also been taken up by public media. Librarians are systematically introducing open access to scientists, starting discussions with them and explaining the positive effects of open access on visibility and accessibility of scientific outputs. We asked professor Jaroslav Petr to give his opinion on open access and post it on his weblog. His post highlighted the open access issue for other information channels, including public TV. Subsequently, the editors of the programme ‘Milenium’ prepared an episode on open access. It was broadcasted almost immediately after Open Access Week, on 7 November 2011.

Open Access Policy Leaders

Open Access Week is an opportunity to harvest the fruits of previous investments made in promoting open access in scientific communications. In particular, the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Masaryk University, Tomas Bata University in Zlín and the University of Pardubice are evidence of these efforts.

Fig. 1

Open Access Week promotion materials presented at the Biblitheca academica conference in České Budĕjovice (photo Kateřina Daňková, VŠB-TUO).

Fig. 2

Organizators of Open Access Week. Left up: Lucie Vycitalova (University of Pardubice), Radka Ticha (University of West Bohemia), Jan Mach (University of Economics, Prague), Vera Pilecka (Czech Technical University in Prague), Barbara Simova (Brno University of Technology), left bottom: Pavla Rygelova (VSB-Technical University of Ostrava), Lenka Nemeckova (Czech Technical University in Prague), Iveta Fürstova (National Technical Library) (photo Kateřina Daňková, VŠB-TUO).

The Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic adopted an Open Access Policy[8] in September 2010, and the Rector of Masaryk University signed the Berlin Declaration in October 2010. Both institutions have taken further steps to implement open access. The Library of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic has designed a workflow for submitting and publishing scientific outputs in its own institutional repository, and Masaryk University has codified a mandate for self-archiving in a Rector’s Directive from January 2012.

Tomas Bata University in Zlín and the University of Pardubice show us how to promote open access from the bottom up. University libraries have taken the initiative and have introduced a vision of open access development in their institutions. Both university libraries have based their strategies on a) setting up an institutional repository for scientific outputs of academic staff and b) offering advanced services, which are built on excellent knowledge of open access issues and research reporting.

Technical solutions for open access to scientific publications will cooperate with current institutional systems for reporting on research results, such as ASEP (ASCR), OBD (TBU, UP), IS (MU). Systems for reporting research results are linked to institutional repositories to enable access to full-text scientific publications. Advanced services which libraries provide include: metadata control, including information from the SHERPA/RoMEO database, connecting to the Web of Science and Scopus databases, access rights control, etc.

Promotion of open access policies by institutions is a key activity for success of the open access movement, and therefore the seminar annually hosted by the Central Library of VŠB — Technical University of Ostrava, i.e., the 5th DSpace User Group Meeting (16th–17th May 2012) will be dedicated to this topic.

Acknowledgment and Outlook for this Year

Finally, it is necessary to express thanks to all library staff who try to raise awareness of open access in their institutions. Thanks to all who have organized seminars and lectures, and thanks to all speakers who have shared their experience with others. Many thanks to Lucie Vyčítalová (University of Pardubice), Lukáš Budínský (Tomas Bata University in Zlín), Iva Burešová (Library of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic), Lenka Nĕmečková and Vĕra Pilecká (Czech Technical University in Prague), thanks to Tereza Simandlová (National State Library) for administering the Facebook page Open Access CR, and thanks to Jan Mach (University of Economics, Prague) for administering the web site Open Access in the CR.

We hope that in 2012 a growing number of institutions will adopt an open access policy in such way that next year’s Open Access Week will again become a great celebration of open access success.

This report was submitted to the DSpace VŠB-TUO repository.