An ‘Open Access in action’ experience

This year’s International Open Access Week theme was “Open in Action”. The week (October 24 – 30, 2016) held a plethora of events, talks and other initiatives that presented, discussed and challenged various aspects from Open Access (OA) in academic publishing and scholarly communication, ranging from current trends, best practices and future prospects.


figure 1. Open Science matrix (courtesy LIBER)

In fact, Open Access is just one of the many interrelated instances of Open Science or of Knowledge Commons that form a dense web of concepts, tools and practices (figure 1). It may be helpful, I would suggest,  to consider Open Access, as another example of a “boundary object” in digital scholarship. A boundary object can be explained as an object or notion “both plastic enough to adapt to local needs and constraints of the several parties employing them, yet robust enough to maintain a common identity across sites”.[1] Another example of a boundary object is ‘research infrastructure’[2] (although OA is also an infrastructure-related concept). It follows that Open Access can mean many different things for various social groups, from universities, governments, research funders, research libraries to researchers; it is naively realistic in its very rationale and at the same time extremely complex in its implementation.