OA Weeks Past, But Not Forgotten


Open Access Week (OA) is a moment close to our hearts at PLOS. PLOS is a proud co-founder of OA Week. In 2008, PLOS alumnus Donna Okubo helped organize an OA day, along with SPARC representatives and students for a free culture. Building on the success of this event, the group decided to extend OA Day to a full week the following year. OA Week is also a kind of unofficial anniversary, which coincides with the first issues of our first magazines: PLOS Biology in October 2003, and OLP Medicine in October 2004 (+ MTN PLOS in October 2007, and PLOS Global Public Health in October 2021).

The Open movement has grown and changed a lot over the past 14 years. Through it all, PLOS has remained at the forefront of Open, illustrating the themes of each celebration almost as if they were tailor-made just for us. Let’s take a look at highlights from those past celebrations and look at where we think the Open movement is headed next.

OA Week 2009

The first week OA!

Following the success of OA Day in 2008, in 2009 Open Access Directory, PLOS, SPARC, Students for Free Culture, eIFL (Electronic Information for Libraries) and OASIS came together to organize the very first OA Week! At the time, PLOS was only eight years old. PLOS ONE had has just been awarded the ALPSP Publishing Innovation Award. OLP Medicine had just published the PRISMA guidelines for writing systematic reviews. Everyone still thought we were crazy.

OA Week 2012

The first OA week with a theme—Open by default

Fast forward a few years to 2012, Open Access was moving into the mainstream. PLOS ONE had published more than 40,000 articles. Universities like Harvard, UCSF, University of Oslo and others have implemented new open access guidelines and policies. The scholarly publishing establishment in North America and Europe had begun to realize that Open was here to stay, and new journals began to proliferate. of nature Scientific reports was a year old. PLOS alumni founded new OA journals eLife and PeerJ. At PLOS, even though our Open Data policy was still almost two years away, our advocacy team was already there to advocate for the next phase of the Open movement: free and open data.

OA Week 2014

Theme—Open Generation

The theme for 2014, Generation Open, celebrated the growing enthusiasm for open access and began to envision what comes after just ‘access’. For PLOS, the answer at this point was data. The PLOS Open Data Policy officially went into effect in March 2014, requiring that all data underlying the findings of a research article be made public upon publication, either as a Supplementary Information File (SI ), or in a data repository. The measure was designed to support reproducibility, demonstrate credibility, and enable future meta-analyses. This new policy marked the beginning of PLOS’s shift in focus towards open science.

OA Week 2015

Theme—Open to collaboration

Research is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary and complex, and as a result, researchers are collaborating more, not in a traditional hierarchical laboratory structure, but within a team, with equal partners addressing different aspects of the work. In 2015, PLOS took two important steps to represent authorship in a way that more accurately reflects the realities of scientific contributions: ORCID, a unique identifier that differentiates researchers from one another, and CRediT taxonomy, which describes contributions of each author under study. in detail.

OA Week 2017

Theme—Open in order of…

OA Week 2017 was all about how openness supports and advances the research goals and values— not just the opening for the opening. PLOS was ready to help facilitate, with options such as direct transfers from bioRxiv to PLOS journal submission systems, hyperlinks from article methods sections to publicly publish protocols on protocols.io, the ability to publish more early with uncorrected page proofs, and more.

OA Week 2019

Theme—Open for whom? Equity in Open Knowledge

2019 was the year of the examiner at PLOS. We have implemented an optional and opt-in peer review history. In this model, journals decide whether or not to sign reviews, while authors decide whether to publish their decision letters (including peer reviews) and author responses, giving four possible degrees of openness in peer review. We’ve also enabled ORCID for peer reviewers, making it easy for reviewers to claim credit for review work and without disclosing their identity.

OA Week 2020 and 2021

Themes—Open with Purpose: Acting to Strengthen Structural Equity and Inclusion and How We Open Knowledge Matters: Creating Structural Equity

Over the next several years, OA Week continued to focus its attention on fairness in science and science communication. In 2020, PLOS made progress on both fronts, with the introduction of a new transgender author renaming policy and our public commitment to implement DEI standards in the operation of our journals. PLOS Global Public Health, our new journal grounded in the principles of global inclusion, has been warmly received. We have also introduced a new non-APC posting template option named and designed for Global Equity.

Just weeks before OA Week 2021, PLOS won the ALPSP Award for Innovation in Publishing, for our Community Action Publishing Model, a funding model designed to eliminate author fees for open-source journals. access and create a more equitable open access publishing system. Also in 2021, PLOS introduced its Global Research Inclusion Policy, developed in collaboration with researchers and aimed at preventing practices known as “parachute” or “neocolonial” research, in which scientists move to conducting research in underfunded communities, relying on local experts without acknowledging their contributions.

OA Week 2022 (we’re still here!)

Theme—Open for Climate Justice

OA Week 2022 examines the climate crisis, an area that has been a particular focus for PLOS over the past few years. In 2021, we announced that PLOS would add to its portfolio for the first time in over 10 years, with a particular focus on environmental research. Earlier this year, three of our brand new journals—PLOS Sustainability and Transformation, Water PLOSand PLOS Climate— proudly published their first articles. Each new release is, of course, fully Open Access, fully machine-readable and supported by Open Data, with CRediT and ORCID integration. Additionally, each author had access to open science tools such as preprints, published peer review history, and more.

Where does open science go next?

We would like more data. In particular, we would like to get a quantitative overview of the levels and trends of adoption of open science practices, the differences between fields and regions, the impact of the solutions we have created with our communities and the barriers to adoption. This is why we are implementing Open Scientific Indicators, in partnership with DataSeer.


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