23 October marked the beginning of the tenth annual Open Access Week, a yearly initiative sponsored by SPARC*. This global coalition is dedicated to providing a broad public audience with free, immediate access to scholarly work in the belief that “research leads to breakthroughs, and communicating the results of research is what allows us to turn breakthroughs into better lives.”
Open Access Week features programing in locations throughout the world, as well as free online resources designed to highlight the impact of open access, promote new avenues for connection and collaboration among scholars, and imagine new possibilities for scholarship and research. Many universities in the United States and elsewhere are participating in this year’s Open Access Week, offering discussions, workshops, and events about how open access promises to challenge disciplinary boundaries, connect scholars from around the world, and make impactful knowledge available to communities beyond the university.
In the spirit of Open Access Week, the MLA invites contributions to CORE, a full-text, open repository of scholarly work designed to increase the public reach and social impact of humanities research. Many other digital initiatives and scholarly presses, including Lever Press and Open Humanities Press, have also made crucial efforts to expand the scope of their readership and to make scholarly work available online for free. This not only enables the important thinking generated by humanities researchers, teachers, and students to travel widely but also provides readers, writers, and publishers with an opportunity to experiment with new models of scholarly publishing. Together these initiatives will encourage us to rethink the ways that knowledge circulates in the world.