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Outreach/Open scholarship

From Wikimania 2014 • London, United Kingdom

Open Access Community Liaison

Lawsonstu will serve as liaison between the open access and Wikimedia communities in preparation for Wikimania London. He will make sure that your ideas, comments, questions, suggestions and other forms of feedback reach the right people in the right time.

A message from the community liaison

"Open access publishing is about providing the output of research free at point of use. Under the traditional academic publishing model, which had remained largely unchanged for several hundred years, academics and researchers would do all the intellectual work of a journal - producing content, editing, and peer review - and then publishers would turn it into a print publication and distribute and sell it. The largest purchasers of these journals were academic libraries. In effect, this meant institutions were paying for research twice: once paying the researchers’ salaries and the cost of their work, and again to have access to the published results. The cost of journals has also been rising well above inflation for decades. When journals started publishing online as well as (or instead of) print people began to realise that the old publishing model was unsustainable, and a new model of open access publishing emerged.

I believe that open access is fundamental to allowing Wikipedia to reach its full potential. Being able to verify the information on Wikipedia by following references is intrinsic to its usefulness, and this is not possible if the original research that is referenced is locked behind a paywall.

In the last 12 months there has been a massive shift in policy from the UK's major research funders, RCUK and HEFCE, who are going to mandate that all research they fund must be open access (albeit with embargoes of varying lengths). This has been driven in part by the current government's interest in it, particularly the universities minister David Willets.

Some of the individuals who have made major contributions to get us to stage we're at now have already been approached and are interested in being involved in Wikimania."

Open access advocates

All of the people listed below have expressed an interest in being involved in Wikimania 2014.

  • Nick Shockey - Director, Right to Research Coalition; Director of Student Advocacy, SPARC
The R2R Coalition is a group of student associations campaigning for open access. Nick was on the Wikimania 2013 open access panel, and gave a well-received keynote at the Open Educational Resources conference 2013.
  • Melissa Hagemann - Senior Program Manager, Open Society Institute; Advisory Board Member, Wikimedia Foundation
Melissa manages projects on open access and OER (Open Educational Resources) for the Open Society Foundations.
  • Cameron Neylon - Director of Advocacy, PLOS
The Public Library of Science (PLoS) is an open access mega-journal founded in 2003. It's been one of the most important initiatives to show how open access can compete with traditional publishing in terms of quality and prestige. PLOS produces topic pages, the texts of which are then uploaded to Wikipedia.[1] Cameron has a long history of advocating both open access and open science, and also advocates Wikipedia as a platform for public engagement with research.
www.plos.org @CameronNeylon
  • Alma Swan - Director of Advocacy Programmes, SPARC Europe
Alma is one of the most knowledgeable people there is on open access policy. Has been involved in many different open access initiatives.
  • Rupert Gatti and Alessandra Tosi - Open Book Publishers
Academics who are the founders of Open Book Publishers, an open access monograph publishing company who are using Wikisource to host data to accompany one of their books.
  • Martin Eve - Co-founder, Open Library of Humanities
Martin is lecturer in Literature at the University of Lincoln and a co-founder of the Open Library of Humanities, a new mega-journal (yet to publish) modelled on PLOS but for humanities and social science research. Martin spoke at Wikimedia UK's conference in 2013.
www.openlibhums.org www.martineve.com @martin_eve @openlibhums
  • Joseph McArthur and David Carroll - OA Button
They're developing a browser-based tool to track every time someone is denied access to a scholarly article (explained in this blog post), and help people find open access versions instead. Are hoping to integrate this with Wikipedia somehow.
oabutton.wordpress.com/ @OA_Button


  1. Leung, Mei Yan, 2013. To Wikipedia and beyond – Topic Pages from PLOS Computational Biology. Available at: http://blogs.plos.org/plos/2013/03/to-wikipedia-and-beyond-topic-pages-from-plos-computational-biology-4/ Retrieved 20 September 2013.