Despite countless policies and mandates promoting open access, as well as the development of tools and resources that facilitate it, and despite years of advocacy work, the majority of researchers are still not compelled to make their research outputs freely and publicly available.
But why not? Why is it that despite the citation advantage, ethical imperative, economic necessity, taxpayer responsibility, contribution to national development, educational benefit and, perhaps most importantly, the public's right to access to knowledge, are researchers not compelled to make their works publicly available?
After almost 10 years of going to countless of meetings, workshops, and conferences, there is one reason that comes up again and again for explaining many researchers’ hesitation towards adopting open practices: ‘being open’ is not explicitly rewarded in career progression.
Review, Promotion & Tenure Packets as a way to motivate academic behavioural change
To advance in their careers, university research faculty regularly submit review promotion and tenure (RPT) packets. In preparing these packets, all faculty, especially those at the early stages of their careers, rely on the guidelines and forms set out by their department or university. These guidelines and forms capture the stated values of a group of scholars, and in doing so establish the framework by which faculty need to demonstrate the value and impact of their work to the university and the broader scientific community.
As such, RPT guidelines and forms are a natural place to effect lasting change towards an opening of access to research. If faculty can begin to state their support for openness here, they will normalize `being open` (making research available in OA journals, creating open educational resources, making data openly available, or generally practicing open science), and will ensure that doing so is properly rewarded.
Unfortunately, changing the RPT process will not be straightforward. The guidelines and forms are not universal across institutions, faculties, or departments: they vary in the types of achievements and products that are asked for, the language used to describe these, the amount of space allocated for each, and the types of evidence that is solicited. This is why, with the support of the Open Society Foundations, we have chosen to study in great detail, and with an eye to supporting changes towards openness, the RPT processes of a broad range of universities (with a special focus on Canada and the United States).
We hope that our effort will offer valuable insight that can be put into action to redirect investment in academic research literature and educational resources into open, freely accessible forms by finding a way to bring about behavioral change in the career advancement process in universities.
We need you to contribute!
To succeed, however, we need your help in tracking down as many RPT guidelines and forms as possible. The help we need is simple: it could be as simple as a Google search, or short email to a faculty member that you know.
If you did not consider yourself an active part of the Open Access community yet, this is your opportunity to make a meaningful contribution. If you are already part of the community, then you know the potential impact of this work. Either way: Commit to taking action to help.
We've made contributing to the project as straightforward as possible by providing template e-mails and examples of what these forms and guidelines look like on our site. If you are curious about the project and just want to learn more, sign up here to receive updates.
This post was originally published on the OOO Canada Research Network blog.
Both Lauren Collister and Heather Coates have embraced the concept of open on their respective campuses. But after joining other early career academic professionals at OpenCon - one in 2014 and the other in 2015 - they were each inspired to do more.
The librarians, who both attended OpenCon thanks to institutional scholarships, learned practical skills and new approaches to advocate for Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data that have translated into real change at their universities.
Collister attended OpenCon 2014 in Washington DC, when she was working as an electronic publications associate in the library at the University of Pittsburgh.
“l had been to a lot of academic conferences, but this was much different,” says Collister. “OpenCon was more collaborative, more engaging and there were many more calls to action than any conference I had been at before.”
Collister said the advocacy day on Capitol Hill, in which she met with staff for her local Congressman, Rep. Mike Doyle, D-PA, was a powerful experience where she had to put her learning into action. “I had never made a call like that before,” says Collister. “I learned to make [my case] personal, relevant and to include real numbers and figures that mean something.”
After being at OpenCon, Collister said she returned to her 29,000-student campus with tools and a new focus to push for Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data. Last year, she moved into a new position as a scholarly communications librarian at Pitt, and channeled her experience from OpenCon in three ways on campus:
1. Providing advocacy training. Collister has held workshops and consulted with library colleagues individually about how to talk about the value of openness with faculty and administrators. With role playing and practice, she illustrated the importance of tailoring the message. “Librarians often think about things from a library’s perspective,” says Collister. “I try to teach them that it’s important to consider who you are taking to - if it’s an early career faculty member, a tenured faculty member or a department chair - to frame the conversation to be relevant to the interest of that audience.”
2. Ramping up publicity. A poster has been created on campus that lists concrete steps that anyone can do to make their work more open - basic strategies, Collister says, she learned at OpenCon, such as sharing research on social media and putting articles in the institutional repository. In the information packets that new hires receive, Collister is pushing to have materials added about open advocacy issues. Collister has also held copyright workshops for graduate students to help early career researchers become aware of the issue.
3. Enhancing Open Access Week. That personal connection made with Rep. Doyle’s office at OpenCon 2014 paid off this fall. The Congressman accepted an invitation from Collister to speak on campus as part of its Open Access Week celebration in late October. That week Collister also helped host a Wikipedia edit-a-thon using open access resources to make new pages.
The increased push is catching on, says Collister. Librarian meetings with leadership in the psychology and education departments have led both wanting to use alternative metrics in their annual reviews and promoting depositing work in the institutional repository.
The campus is becoming very interested in entrepreneurship and connecting with industry. “People are thinking about the impact of scholarly work and how it can be applied and used. We use that conversation to ask how their work can be impactful if people outside the university can’t get to it,” says Collister. “It’s really on their minds, and we are seeing a change and push in that direction, which is helping the long-time commitment that the library has had for Open Access really start spreading outward.”
Heather Coates, who works as a digital scholarship & data management librarian at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, has leveraged her experience at OpenCon 2015 in Brussels to promote open practices at her multi-campus institution. Her work focuses on helping faculty at the nearly 30,000-student school develop data management plans, supporting data sharing, teaching better data practices, offering research metrics services, and promoting the strategic dissemination of research including through open-access journals.
Meeting others at OpenCon helped Coates think more creatively about how to make scholarly work available to the largest possible audience and use technology to gather evidence to demonstrate that engagement.
“While I was dipping my toes into Open Science and Open Educational Resources world and I had been publishing in open-access journals, the broader ethos of the OpenCon community helped me to step back from the institutional context to get a bigger picture of how I can advocate to promote openness on our campus,” says Coates.
Coates says she liked how OpenCon focused on early career researchers and students. “They allow people who are the next generation to really voice their perspectives. That’s not something you are always able to do at the institution or professional society level,” says Coates. “It allows them the space to consider: How can I adopt practices I’m hearing others are doing and use that to support own career?”
What were some tangible things that Coates has done since OpenCon?
Sharing resources. Coates is trying to do more outreach and position the library as a place to support researchers looking for more open practices and tools. For example, she has been working with some social science researchers on campus interested in open science, speaking to the group about open data and data management practices. The faculty members want to broaden the impact of their research, and that of their students, and Coates in helping them tap into what’s available. “Because we are so large, faculty members don’t always know what resources are available to support their research. I try to serve as a navigator,” says Coates.
Raising awareness. Coates has helped expand open practices for research within the library and integrate Open Access, Open Data and Open Research into instruction to graduate students. She has a lot of one-on-one training with subject liaisons at the library and shared slides she developed to talk with students about the reasons to support more data sharing and open practices in research
Highlighting impact. There has been a push to share stories of how faculty and student have engaged in Open Access and highlight open publication. Coates has been developing examples of ways researchers can publish and gather metrics to demonstrate that the work is getting reused by communities. “A lot relates to supporting faculty for making a strong case for promotion and tenure,” she says. “We don’t tend to talk about Open Access as an end, but a means to end help them engage with their colleagues or engage with the community.”
Coates says OpenCon helped her figure out how to tell her story of engaging in open as a researcher and to advocate as someone who is practicing it herself. “I’ve learned to use my own experiences and those experiences of people I have consulted with to publish openly or gather alt metrics to help them understand how that translates back to their professional goals,” she says. “Sometimes people think Open Access is an extra step or a check box, but we try to make it clear OA is a way to achieve their goals.”
To stay updated on these issues, both Collister and Coates have participated in the monthly OpenCon Community Call for Early Career Librarians. Check out http://www.opencon2016.org/community_calls for information on the next call.
Every year, OpenCon is able to reach a wide number of people from around the world due to satellite events: local meetings about Open Access, Open Data, and Open Education that are held in partnership with our main global meeting. Satellite events are organized by incredible students, librarians, researchers, and advocates who volunteer their time to put these meetings together. Last month, we highlighted some of the people that are behind these awesome events. For November, we wanted to share a few more exciting events that will be happening soon - or have happened recently - on our blog!
OpenCon 2016 Oxford, hosted by Rachael Lammey
I work in Member & Community Outreach at Crossref - we work with lots of OA publishers and make metadata openly available (via our API and Open Funder Registry) for people to build on and use. I’m co-hosting with Josh Brown, Regional Director for Europe for ORCID whose core principals are around openness and community so it seemed a good fit! Oh, and we both love identifiers...
OpenCon Niamey, hosted by Hamissou Rhissa Achaffert
I am student at Abdou Moumouni University in Sociology and Anthropology Department of Niamey (Niger) where he is doing his Master. I am also a member of SOHA (Open Science in Haiti and Africa French speaking countries) - a project leading some training activities on open science. I am currently working on a project on creating a science shop at my university. I am interested in open science and the social responsibilities of researchers.
About 60 students attended OpenCon 2016 Niamey. The main objective was to discuss with participants on designing the national politics of open access by exploring the concept of cognitive injustice. Here is the summary of the income:
- Celebrating for the first time open access week in Niamey;
- Organizing and discovering open access movement in my university;
- Getting a group of students that are interested in opening research, data, and education;
- Sensitizing students about national open access stake;
- Promote open science practices and values among students;
- Collective work on thinking about the way to benefit with open science Niger.
To read more about OpenCon 2016 Niamey, click here.
OpenCon 2016 Ranchi, hosted by Sridhar Gutam
I am an agricultural research service scientist working as a plant physiologist and also convenor of the Open Access India community based at Ranchi. I was introduced to the concept of Open Access at the first national convention on free software in march 2007 at Hyderabad and since then I got involved in its advocacy first among my colleagues in the agricultural research service and then with all other researchers through the Open Access India network. I am convinced and strongly believe that only with free access to data, information and knowledge only we progress and build the future open world.
OpenCon 2016 Ranchi is the first satellite event that is taking place in Ranchi and is happening on the same day along with the global OpenCon. It will be a one-day event happening at the Ranchi University with the sessions on Open Access, Open Data and Open Education and also on the community movements happening in India and the world. Along with the local speakers, the outstation resource persons will also speak using the internet during the sessions. We are expecting to have about 50 or more students, research scholars and faculty members. The speakers while demonstrating and advocating Open Access, Open Data and Open Education, will also build a case for the establishment of institutional repositories at the universities, adoption of Open Access mandates and to consider alternate research assessment tools than impact factors. As we are also hoping that some of the faculty members who are on various editorial boards of the scholarly societies may also participate, we are having a special session on DOAJ. The OpenCon 2016 Ranchi is a sincere effort of the Open Access India community and the faculty of the Ranchi University. We are grateful to the Dean of Students Welfare and the Honorable Vice Chancellor of the Ranchi University for their kind facilitation.
To read more about OpenCon 2016 Ranchi, click here.
PechaKucha Night Liege, an OpenCon satellite event hosted by Damien Jacques
I am currently doing a PhD at the Catholic University of Louvain. I am a member of Focus Research, the Belgian research policy group. I also used to promote Open Access in the dedicated working group of EURODOC. I am proud to have taken part in the writing of “The academic, economic and societal impacts of Open Access: an evidence-based review” with a friendly bunch of people from last OpenCon. The experience was such a success that a new project on peer review is on-going here (everyone is welcome). The flowering of Open Science needs scientific community to increase their requirements to: “Work. Finish. Publish and... Release.”
We have decided to incorporate the OpenCon satellite in one of our PechaKucha Night that I am organizing with an amazing team from the non profit organization GOTORO (www.gotoro.be). A PechaKucha is a special format of presentation, invented in Japan and used in over 900 cities in the world, with 20 slides and 20 seconds per slides (20x20). This concept gives concise, dynamic and to-the-point presentations. This event is organized with the “Scité” network that represent all the french speaking Universities in Belgium. We have 12 confirmed speakers that will talk about a broad variety of subjects such as the impact of Open Access on animal testing, the role of citizen science in biodiversity monitoring, the value of Open Data for mapping in times of humanitarian crisis or why a crowdfunding campaign might be the adequate tool to perform independent research. Bernard Rentier the father of the well known OA Liège model will be one of ours. A walking dinner will take place after the conference during which the public will be able to meet the speakers.
To read more about PechaKucha Night Liege, visit their website: www.pechakuchaliege.be
OpenCon 2016 Yaounde, hosted by Prudence Nkolo
I am a member of Projet SOHA and the EIFL-Open Access Programme Country Coordinator in Cameroon. I am the Coordinator of Open Access projects in Cameroon. I was selected as Young Leader of Cameroon by the French NGO “Libraries without borders” in partnership with “Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation” for my work and projects to advance Open issues in my country. Each year, i organized conference and workshop during Open Access Week in Cameroon to encourage researchers to publish their work in an Open Access publication.
OpenCon 2016 in Yaounde, the first Satellite Event in this place, takes as its theme “Which action for Open Access in Cameroon?” It took place during Open Access Week 2016 at Goethe Institut of Yaounde on October 29. Our final programme included a talk by Uwe Yung, Niclaire Prudence Nkolo, Sophie Dibounje Madiba, Florence Piron, Thomas Mboa Nkoudou, Amine Amoa Idriss and Bertrand-Michel Mahini. Our target audience was researchers of different universities and research centers in Cameroon. Open Access is no longer well known by researchers. We wanted to sensitize them about the advantages of Open Access. 56 persons have attended the event coming from different universities and ministries.
To read more about OpenCon 2016 Yaounde, click here.
OpenCon 2016 Lahore, hosted by Ehsaan Ahmed
I am an undergraduate medical student from Pakistan and the host of OpenCon 2016 Lahore. Since high school I had been interested in research as a need to quench my curiosities. I was interested in OpenCon, because it supports research by promoting the 3 “Open” concepts.
We wish to conduct future events as such to promote the concepts among professionals and students in the field!
To read more about OpenCon 2016 Lahore, click here.
See if there's an upcoming satellite event in your area: more of OpenCon's upcoming satellite events are listed here!
Don't see an event happening in your region? It's not too late to host an event yourself! Read more about what is involved with hosting an event here (register at the form of the bottom of the page if you're interested in hosting).
Or - with OpenCon 2016 approaching this weekend, why not consider organizing a watch party? This involves getting a few friends, peers, or colleagues together to watch content about Open issues as a group. Because OpenCon 2016 Live consists of two days jam-packed with talks about Open Access, Open Data and Open Education, it is a great opportunity to host a local, live-streaming watch party! If you are interested in hosting an OpenCon 2016 Live watch party, please click the button at the bottom of this page to set up your event on our site!
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to e-mail lorraine(at)sparcopen.org for more information.
A couple of weeks ago, we introduced you to OpenCon Live, a full slate of remote events surrounding the main OpenCon conference designed to connect you to the meeting. Thanks to your excellent feedback, we’re developing a set of events and ways to engage designed specifically for OpenCon Live participants. By popular demand, here are five ways that you can participate during OpenCon:
Returning from 2015:
Last year, our OpenCon Live page, complete with high quality webcast and Twitter stream, was a hit with our remote participants. This year it’ll be back, and better than ever.
Not on Twitter? Join us on Whatsapp
Twitter is the best place to experience the buzz of OpenCon. We recommend you sign up and follow #opencon if only for the conference. However, if you’d prefer not to use Twitter, we’ll add you to a Whatsapp group for the event. There is a hard limit on how many people we can add to a group, so please only sign up for this group if you don’t want to participate in the main online discussion through Twitter. Join that here.
Exclusive Presenter Q&A
New this year, we will be doing exclusive Q&A sessions with some of our presenters during the coffee breaks. We’ll collect your questions in a Google Doc and OpenCon Live host, Lauren Collister, will conduct the interview via Facebook Live.
Lunchtime Networking Hangouts
Conference lunches are a great time to connect with fellow conference attendees and make new connections. To bring that to OpenCon Live, we’ll be setting up hangout sessions for different groups during our lunch breaks. Join one that interests you and converse with OpenCon Live participants. Don’t worry, we’ll provide the venue and some questions to get the conversation going!
End of Day Community Calls
We love OpenCon community calls and want to bring them to the conference. At the end of each day of the conference, we’ll get together to discuss the highlights of that day’s conference. What were the greatest quotes of the day? What projects really excite you? What did you learn that you can put into practice? What can we look forward to for the next day? Join us to unwind and chat with your colleagues in OpenCon Live.
Introducing OpenCon Live’s co-host
We’ve already introduced you to Lauren Collister, one of our OpenCon Live hosts. This time we’re happy to announce our co-host, Osman Aldiriri!
"I'm Osman Aldirdiri, and I'll be co-hosting this year's OpenCon Live! I begun my journey with "Open" advocacy four years ago after attending this fascinating conference and getting connected with its exceptional network of supporters and advocates. Today, I am playing an active role in leading groups and organizations in the field like the Right to Research Coalition and the FORCE11 Scholarly Commons Working Group. I am also leading a national advocacy project for openness in Sudan which I was inspired to found following the event. I am sure OpenCon will be with a life changing experience for you as it was for me and I hope that we live up to your expectations in hosting the best event possible."
We’re still working on a few other surprises, so stay tuned! You can find these all on the OpenCon schedule, where you can also sign up to attend.
Last year, OpenCon was able to reach 1500 people from all around the world because of satellite events: local meetings about Open Access, Open Data, and Open Education that are held in partnership with our main global meeting. These events would not be possible without the hard work of our various volunteer hosts. So this year, we want to highlight some of the amazing work that’s been happening to make local discussion, progress, and education about Open issues happen in different continents. We’ll be profiling some of this year’s satellite events (past and upcoming) every month on our blog, as well as the awesome OpenCon community members who are dedicating their time to making this happen.
OpenCon 2016 Campinas, hosted by Andreiwid Corrêa and his team
“I’m an early career professor at Federal Institute of Sao Paulo. My interest in Open issues came 4 years ago when I started my Ph.D. in Open Data. Since then, the interaction with Open community brought a lot of opportunities to advance other Open areas such as Open Education. OpenCon was one of these opportunities! As a professor I encourage my students to think about Open causes and how they can change our lives through the power of collaboration. As a result, I have seen good projects showing up that make the community stronger.”
"OpenCon 2016 Campinas is our satellite event that takes place on October 21. We will run it before the main conference in combination with our National Science and Technology Week. It will be a one-day event focused on Open Education. We have 9 confirmed speakers across a total of 12 activities including a keynote, seminars, workshops and panels exposure. In the early afternoon, we start the event with an informal and relaxed talk about fiction. In the following there are 2 sessions of 3 simultaneous activities each where attendees can choose to take part of. By the end of sessions there are panels exposure where students can show their in-progress works related to Open causes. We’ll start the evening with a keynote about Open Education with a specialist recognized by UNESCO. Afterwards, there is another session with 3 simultaneous activities. We close the event with the awarding of the best panels. OpenCon 2016 Campinas is an effort of a team with 11 people that started in early July. We also count on a number of students that will help on the day of the event. We expect over 200 participants to attend."
To RSVP, read more about OpenCon 2016, or access the program, click here.
OpenCon 2016 Boston, hosted by Anna Newman
“I’m the Open Access Specialist at the Boston University Libraries in Boston, MA, USA. I first became interested in Open issues in library school, and I strongly believe that libraries have a vital role to play in the democratization of access to knowledge.”
“OpenCon 2016 Boston takes as its theme “open in action” (also the theme of this year’s Open Access Week). The event will include a talk by a member of the project team from Open Data to Open Knowledge, Boston’s Knight Foundation-funded initiative to make open government data an accessible public resource; a discussion of information justice; and lightning talks on tools for and approaches to open research, including an introduction to ORCID, how to make your work available in an institutional repository, an open research case study, and an overview of open access mandates for grants.”
To read more about OpenCon 2016 Boston, click here.
OpenCon 2016 Bamenda, hosted by Fon Noel
“I love to call myself a techprenuer: I am enthusiastic about technology and open source. I run a joke website while also developing for a software startup I co-founded. I am personally engaged with the open movement because I want to promote education in Africa, since the philosophy is about making sure everyone in the world has access to high quality educational experiences.”
"This is the first time an OpenCon satellite event will be held in Bamenda, and the concepts behind the program are new to many people here. Because of this, OpenCon 2016 Bamenda will focus on introducing what Open Access, Open Education, Open Data and even Open Source is all about. Our confirmed program so far includes a talk by Awa Kinason Mokom, who will be speaking about “What is Openness? (in technology)”, and we will also be holding a session on how to contribute to the Open movement."
To read more about OpenCon 2016 Bamenda, click here.
OpenCon 2016 Chandigarh, organized by Sailesh Patnaik
“I’m a student from KIIT university (Mechanical Engineering) Bhubaneswar. I am a long term contributor to Wikipedia/Wikimedia movement and contributing to it from 2012 (When I was in Grade 10). During my journey in the Wikipedia movement I got to know about the Open source, Open Access, Open data and Open Knowledge movement and I started volunteering for it. Lack of awareness about the movement in my province encouraged me to participate in the Open movement. After attending OpenCon Kolkata, I started participating in this movement at a large level. Now, I am an ambassador to Open Access India and helping to spread awareness about the movement and forming Open Access India as a registered society.”
"The idea for OpenCon 2016 Chandigrah started when Malayalam Wikimedian Kavya Manohar planned to present a talk about Open Con during Wiki Conference India on August 6: a national conference for Wikimedians to discuss challenges and best practices for Wikimedia and the Open movement. Kavya is an Open source enthusiast from Kerela and she has done a lot of activity in Open Knowledge movement. Our aim was to introduce the global Open Access movement to the Wikimedians.
16 people attended our event, which covered a number of topics, including: Open Access in India and why research and educational resources should be as open as possible, the role of Open Access in research discourse in Wikipedia, and the importance of - and process behind creating - Open Journals in Wikiversity. Hashive (Wikimedia Bangladesh), a long term Wikipedia volunteer and administrator to Bengali Wikipedia and Open enthusiast from Bangladesh, spoke about the Open movement in Bangladesh and how they are planning to form Open Access chapter in Bangladesh and bringing some Government websites into CC license. Maria (Wikimedia Foundation) spoke about the collaboration of Wikimedians and Open Access, the Open Access Editathon happening in collaboration with Wikipedia during Open Access Week, as well as the The Wikipedia Library, where Wikimedians and Open enthusiasts can work collaboratively.
After the event we shared these outcome with Sridhar, a convener of Open Access India. With the help of OAI we will run The Wikipedia Library, and 1Lib1ref project to help various Indic language Wikipedias."
To read more about OpenCon 2016 Chandigarh, and access the program, click here.
See if there's an upcoming satellite event in your area: more of OpenCon's upcoming satellite events are listed here!
Don't see an event happening in your region? It's not too late to host an event yourself! Read more about what is involved with hosting an event here (register at the form of the bottom of the page if you're interested in hosting), and if you have any questions, don't hesitate to e-mail lorraine(at)sparcopen.org for more information.
Hello! My name is Lauren Collister and I’m thrilled to tell you that I’m going to be the host of OpenCon 2016 Live. I bet you already have questions, including the following:
What is OpenCon Live?
OpenCon Live is a full slate of remote events surrounding the OpenCon conference designed to connect you to the conference. People attending OpenCon 2016 in person are expected to learn, build their network, and take action - and we want to enable the same for remote participants. We’re planning to have interactive keynote watching sessions, exclusive Q&A sessions with presenters, collaborative blog posts, and more. Join us for a few hours, or a few days, from wherever you are to become an expert in Open Access, Open Data, and Open Education, build your network, and help advance progress. Read more and RSVP for OpenCon Live.
Why are you posting on this blog way before OpenCon?
We want to hear from you about how you’d like to engage with OpenCon. We have a huge virtual community and we have some ideas about how to bring OpenCon to that community, but this is all about you. Please check out this short survey and let us know the kinds of events you’d be likely to participate in (or not) and share with us your vision for your OpenCon Live experience.
You can also tweet at us @open_con or using the hashtag #opencon to ask questions or share your thoughts at any time.
Who are you, anyway?
That depends on what hat I’m wearing! I am a scholar in the field of Linguistics - I’m either known for writing a dissertation about World of Warcraft or writing pop linguistics articles about emoji and text messaging. Professionally, I’m the Scholarly Communications Librarian at the University of Pittsburgh where I advocate for and facilitate open access, consult on copyright, help faculty and students share their work, and a bunch of other stuff. I’m an OpenCon 2014 alum and I’ve been having fun hosting the OpenCon Early Career Librarian Community Call for the past few months. The OpenCon organizers thought I could use more fun in my life, so I get to be the OpenCon Live host for this year’s conference.
I look forward to getting to know you before and during OpenCon. Say hello by tweeting me @parnopaeus!
With the OpenCon application period over, you might be wondering how you can contribute to making a more open future. One concrete way to do this is to host an OpenCon satellite event. Satellite events are held in partnership with the main global meeting, and typically combine content, themes and ideas from the main meeting with local talks or activities. Anyone is eligible to host a satellite event, and the events themselves can be any size, in any place, at any time! Hosting a satellite is a great way to catalyze local progress on Open Access, Open Data, and Open Education, while also being part of a global discussion on open issues.
Satellite events are the largest part of OpenCon. Last year, amazing people from across the globe hosted 30 satellite events in 20 different countries, reaching 1500 participants in total.
OpenCon 2015 Satellite events in Berlin (left) and Faisalabad (right).
Growing our OpenCon Satellite Community
When we made our first call for hosts in 2014, we had no idea if satellite events would work. Since then, satellite events have become a critical part to building our global community. This year, we want the fight for a more open future to reach even more communities and even more people. We asked ourselves how we could grow our satellite program in four key areas:
Scale: How can we see more satellite events and more participants, in more countries for 2016?
Ease: How can we make the satellite planning process as easy as possible for hosts?
Impact: How can satellite attendees can get the most out of participating?
Catalyse: How can satellite events build community and catalyze progress on Open issues in the long term?
To do this, we are developing some exciting improvements to the support we provide to satellite hosts. Here’s a preview of what to expect in the coming months.
“Off the Shelf” Programming
In past years, OpenCon satellite hosts have often combined content from the main event (e.g. online streams of keynote talks) with local speakers or activities. We realize that not everyone has the time or resources to design their own satellite program, so we’re currently working behind the scenes to create user-friendly, “off-the-shelf” satellite event agendas that hosts will have the option of using. In addition to these ready-made agendas, we’ll be providing hand-outs about Open issues that hosts can distribute at events, as well as releasing guides to hosting unconferences and preparing for institutional-level advocacy days.
Event Promotion Support
We know that finding people to attend your event can sometimes be difficult. This year, we’ll do everything we can to help events reach as many potential attendees as possible. We’ll be keeping track of OpenCon 2016 applicants who live in regions where satellite events are happening, so we can notify them about local opportunities to participate. We’re creating a wider selection of customizable promotional materials. We’ll also be offering website integration with Facebook Events and Eventbrite to help hosts leverage social media to promote their events.
In the next month, we’ll be working to revamp our fundraising resources so that they include templates for budgets, improved step-by-step fundraising guidelines, as well as suggestions on how to organize successful events that can also operate on low cost.
Guidelines for Catalyzing Change
OpenCon satellite events are a great way for people in your local community to learn about Open issues, but they also have the potential to be more! We’ll be providing hosts with tips on how to use their OpenCon satellite event to build strong communities, where participants can work together catalyze institutional or regional-level progress on Open issues in the months that follow.
Travel Scholarships for Satellite Hosts
Hosts make up an integral part of our community. We want to recognize this, and the hard work that goes into planning satellite events—which is why at least two 2016 satellite event hosts will be awarded travel scholarships to attend OpenCon 2017, upon successful completion and reporting of their satellite event.
Interested in hosting a satellite event or learning more?
1. Join our OpenCon Satellite Community Call! We're inviting anyone interested in hosting a satellite event this year to join the call and hear from past hosts, discuss their concerns, and start the process of organizing. If people find the call useful, we’ll be happy to expand this to a regular monthly OpenCon community call!
Our Satellite Community Call will be on Wednesday July 27, 2016 (12pm EDT / 5pm BST / 6pm CEST / 4pm UCT) and anyone is welcome to join. You can RSVP for the call here, and if you can’t make it, you can access the call agenda and notes here.
2. Head to our website to read more about the process for hosts. The bottom of the page also includes a form to register your interest. We’d love to see even more OpenCon satellite events happen this year, and hope that you’ll consider helping grow our community in this way!