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Open Access: Student

Subject Guide


You have a right to be able to access all the scholarly research and journal articles you need in order to conduct your own research and form your own theories and arguments. But journal subscriptions, particularly in science, technology, and medicine, are expensive--some costing more than $20,000 per year. Universities are often unable to provide students with all the materials they may need. Open Access changes this closed, subscription access model by opening high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarly research not just to students, but to the entire world--online, for free.

Open Access makes your job as a student easier, advances research, and promotes sharing knowledge for the public good. It can provide better visibility for your own scholarship as well. By publishing your work in OA journals or making it accessible online, you participate in the open sharing of information.

The principle of Open Access is spreading to other forms of communication as well. More resources are becoming available online to provide everyone with free access to music, photographs, artwork, and other creative forms of media, encouraging greater sharing of information and cultural exchange worldwide.

To get involved in the OA Movement as a student, you can use OA research and materials, share your own work, join organizations, and talk to your librarians, professors, and administrators at Mason to help encourage and support our OA initiatives.

Students - SPARKY Awards

The SPARKY Awards, sponsored by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, is a student contest to promote the open exchange of information.

Create your own video to demonstrate the value of information sharing as you see it. The Internet gives new meaning to the notion that, by sharing ideas, we building a better understanding of the world around us. If you use YouTube, Wikipedia, exchange gaming tips online or have a blog, you understand the value of sharing information, ideas and knowledge. Sharing can also be a vital tool in addressing complex problems that challenge society - like disease, hunger, global warming, and economic disparity. The sharing of ideas gives us ways to discover, collaborate and create in unprecedented ways.

The SPARKY Awards challenge you to illustrate, in a short video presentation, what you see as the value of sharing information. Use your imagination to suggest what good comes from bringing down barriers to the free exchange of information.

Four winning entries will be recognized in the following categories: Best Animation, Best Speech, Best Remix, People's Choice.

For more details, guidelines and information, check out the SPARKY Awards site for more details about how you can win an iPad or iPhone.

Check out the 2011 Award Winners:

Best Live Action: Produced by Joshua Goodman, University of Pretoria

Best Animation: Produced by Nico Carver, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Best Speech: Produced by Paula Seligson, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

Students - Initiatives

Learn more about what students around the world are doing to support and promote Open Access, and how you can get involved.

Student Statement on the Right to Research

Released in May, 2009, the Student Statement on the Right to Research calls on students, researchers, universities, and governments to open access to scholarly information. The current signatories represent more than 5 million students from the United States, Canada, and around the world, and this number continues to grow.

The statement is endorsed by the American Medical Student Association, the Student PIRGs, Students for Free Culture, Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, the California Institute of Technology Graduate Student Council, the Trinity University Association of Student Representatives, and other student organizations.

Open University Campaign

The Open University Campaign, Students for Free Culture's latest initiative, is working to ensure that universities are best configured to create, share, and discover academic research and scholarship. The project consists of: 1) creating a framework to measure key indicators of openness; 2) conducting research into university policies and assigning "openness" scores; 3) dissemination of findings and advocacy for more openness.