This week is Open Access Week, and this year’s theme is “Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and Inclusion.” This marks the third consecutive year that OA Week has called attention to the need for urgent action on diversity, equity, and inclusion in our open infrastructures, which seldom reflect the broad range of scholarly voices they are intended to support. For example, the increasing costs of open access article processing fees exclude authors from all but the best resourced institutions and communities, while earlier this year an African American scholar at a major research university faced opposition in promotion and tenure when publishing in an established OA journal in his field, and recent research by Philippe Vincent-Lamarre, Cassidy R. Sugimoto, Vincent Larivière shows an alarming decline in pre-prints submitted to open repositories by women researchers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the IUPUI Center for Digital Scholarship, we are putting our belief that open infrastructure should be diverse and inclusive into concrete action. A recent example of our efforts in this area includes the work of Mairelys Lemus-Rojas and the Scholarly Profiles as Service.To launch the service, this work has focussed on increasing the representation of IUPUI women faculty and their scholarship in Wikidata, the central data storage for services like Wikipedia. Increased representation of IUPUI women faculty and their scholarship in Wikidata means it is more likely that biographies about them will be created and that their scholarship will be cited in Wikipedia. Furthermore, better coverage of IUPUI’s women faculty and their scholarship in Wikidata allows them to leverage services like Scholia, which collates and displays their work and its impact.
Another example of our efforts to build equity and inclusion in open infrastructure includes our partnership with the IUPUI Office of Community Engagement to publish the open access journal ENGAGE!. This journal seeks true partnership through community-based participatory research and co-authorship with community members in the study of current issues and challenges facing urban communities. Unlike many open access journals that charge their authors a fee upon acceptance, ENGAGE! does not use article processing charges (APCs) and is freely available to all who wish to submit their work. Furthermore, ENGAGE! runs on the open source software Open Journal Systems (OJS), which supports more than 10,000 journals worldwide and is freely available to all.
Our commitment to open source software also includes annual contributions of time and resources to projects like DSpace, the world’s most used institutional repository software. DSpace is both developed and governed by an international community--at IUPUI it is the tool that supports our open access policy, electronic theses and dissertations, and the reports of organizations such as the Women’s Philanthropy Institute.
Meanwhile, our work to support faculty as they create dossiers for promotion and tenure is available to any IUPUI faculty member. We work with several other groups across the campus to address the specific challenges that minoritized and community-engaged faculty may face. We look forward to better serving these scholars in 2021.
As Open Access Week 2020 comes to a close, we will be looking at the work we’re doing and what we can do in the future to build equity and inclusion into open infrastructures that support research and teaching. Historically, many of our projects and work in this area have happened organically, bolstered by individual beliefs in diversity, equity, and inclusion. In the future, we will be more strategic about how our work builds structural equity and inclusion.