Digital Scholarship@Leiden

On OA Week's Theme: Community

On OA Week's Theme: Community

What is Community at the University? How might publishing and Open Science help us realise a vision for Community?

International Open Access Week is here - a time to celebrate the work being done to publish research openly and consider what steps are still needed to reach our goals. Every year, OA Week organisers SPARC develop a stimulating theme to put critical issues into focus. For example, last year's theme was "Open For Climate Justice," which led to important reflections on the ways in which OA can share knowledge toward understanding, and hopefully alleviating, the crisis.

Here at Leiden University's Centre for Digital Scholarship, we think a lot about Open Access publishing, and ways in which OA can bring people together, so we are interested in this year's theme: Community Over Commercialisation. SPARC elaborates on the theme to ask some pointed questions.

This theme encourages a candid conversation about which approaches to open scholarship prioritize the best interests of the public and the academic community—and which do not... What options for using community-controlled infrastructure already exist that might better serve the interests of the research community and the public (such as preprint servers, repositories, and open publishing platforms)? How can we shift the default toward using these community-minded options?

Community is an increasingly important term in universities. And as such, it requires, perhaps, some fundamental reflection on what the term might mean in this context. And so we at the CDS are enthused by a recent publication from the Community Manager's Club, a professional association based in The Netherlands and Belgium. The publication, A Manifesto for Community Management at Research and Knowledge Organisations, outlines a definition for community and the activity of fostering its construction.

Research and Knowledge Organisations are impactful primarily through their capacity to bring people together. Therefore, Community is crucial to the generative function and success of Research and Knowledge Organisations.

The publication lays out a broad and inclusive understanding of community for universities, providing space to understand the ways in which Open Science goals and community might mutually benefit one another. We can see that Open Access publishing, which works to foster better lines of communication among people in regard to sharing research, is a possible generator of community.

A Community is a laterally structured organisation of people who share goals or engage in a collective activity. On a voluntary basis and through open participation, those people meet regularly and are governed by shared values, expectations, and codes of conduct. Within research institutions, Community ambitions are intrinsically tied to the exchange of knowledge, along with the development of their processes and forms. A commitment to learning underpins the formation of Community and necessitates a prioritisation of transparency and communication.

Read the full publication at How do you envision community at your organisation? How might Open Access support your ideas? The Centre for Digital Scholarship is open for conversation on this important topic.