By Freya Yost, 2014 ACRL-NY Symposium Scholarship Recipient
The Open Access Symposium, held at Baruch College on December 5th 2014, was an inspiring forum with open-access enthusiasts from both in and outside the library. The lineup of speakers was particularly well curated, professionally diverse, and the presentations covered themes and challenges of implementing,doing, and teaching open access. The first speaker, Brett Bobley, Chief Information Officer for the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), discussed open research and his organization’s data management requirement for grant applicants. For librarians, his talk was especially heartening, as he emphasized the importance—and possibly the key to success—of involving the library in research proposals.
One of the most important concepts that I learned at the conference, was that open access—in fact, all “open movements”, including open data and open knowledge, are immediately relevant in all fields of research. Micah Vandegrift’s presentation seemed to tie the day together, as he underlined the importance of a scholarly communication initiative in every library, and called on librarians and administrators to be activists of open access. Integral to Vandegrift’s presentation, was the necessity of programs that actually do open access, and how to integrate them into the research life cycle. Additionally, the presentations by Stephanie Davis-Kahn and Jill Emery focused on empowering undergraduates to publish open access. Like many attendees, they praised the model of shared-membership consortia for open access services.
I was happy to meet librarians and information professionals from diverse institutions and fields; all of whom felt open access was a fundamental component of their work. The conference confirmed that whatever kind of librarian I turn out to be, open access will be an increasingly important element of my job.
Freya Yost is currently in the last semester of a two-year graduate program in Information and Library Science at Pratt Institute. She is a full-time Intern at the United Nations and is interested in government libraries and international librarianship.