AUAS interview: Why open access is important for applied sciences

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Research conducted at AUAS generates knowledge products and research data that should seamlessly integrate into education, research, professional practice, and society at large. Open access publishing, which is increasingly finding its place at universities of applied sciences, plays a pivotal role. What exactly is open access, and why is it of such significance? We had the pleasure of conversing with Anne Marie Meijer during Open Access Week to explore these questions.

Anne Marie Meijer supports researchers in open access publishing, registration, and dissemination of articles, apps, datasets, and other products of applied research.

What is open access publishing, and how does it contribute to knowledge accessibility and innovative research?

"Traditionally, readers access publications through costly journal subscriptions. Without access to these subscriptions, you encounter a paywall and often need to pay a substantial fee to read an article. In open access, research funders cover the publication costs, eliminating the paywall. This makes knowledge freely accessible to anyone with an internet connection, regardless of location or financial situation.

This facilitates better and faster knowledge dissemination, which has proven crucial in urgent issues like the COVID-19 pandemic. Open access also promotes collaboration among researchers by providing easier access to each other's work, leading to more interdisciplinary research and innovation."

What are the major challenges in making applied research open access?

"In addition to challenges in open access in general, there are specific obstacles to making applied research open access. For example, it is often published in specialised journals that may not always support open access publishing.

Moreover, applied research often involves collaboration with external partners such as businesses, non-profit organizations, or government agencies. These partners must also be convinced of the importance of open access. Research may contain sensitive information, raising questions about intellectual property and copyright. Concerns may also exist regarding the evaluation and peer review of open access publications. Finally, funding can be a challenge because extra resources are needed to cover publication costs."

How does AUAS ensure research is discoverable and accessible?

"A new development is the introduction of the publication platform for applied research, 'Publinova.' The platform is currently being further developed in collaboration with multiple universities of applied sciences and researchers and is expected to be more widely available in 2024.

Within higher professional education, open access publishing is gaining ground. The AUAS is increasingly focusing on the importance of open science. For example, there are 'Open Science Coffee Meet-ups' that anyone interested can join."

What support do you offer to researchers in (open access) publishing, and how can they reach out to you?

"I provide advice and presentations on open-access publishing and open science principles to researchers and support staff. I also support researchers in registering their results and other products in AUAS databases and beyond. Researchers with questions about open access publishing can reach out to me, and I will help them find a solution.

If you submit a question about (open access) publishing through the AUAS Library Contact Form, you will be directed to me. Alternatively, you can send an email directly to [email protected]."

This article was first published on 24 October by AUAS. 

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