Open Access Day registration closes Friday, call for shout-outs

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For immediate release
August 28, 2008

For more information, contact:
Jennifer McLennan
(202) 296-2296

Washington, DC – August 28, 2008 – SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), the Public Library of Science (PLoS), and Students for FreeCulture have jointly announced the first international Open Access Day. Building on the worldwide momentum toward Open Access to publicly funded research, Open Access Day will create a key opportunity for the higher education community and the general public to understand more clearly the opportunities of wider access and use of content.

Open Access Day will invite researchers, educators, librarians, students, and the public to participate in live, worldwide broadcasts of events. In North America, events will be held at 7:00 PM (Eastern) and 7:00 PM (Pacific) and feature appearances from:

Sir Richard Roberts, Ph.D., F.R.S.
Joint winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1993 for discovering split genes and RNA splicing, one of 26 Nobel Prize-winners to sign the Open Letter to U.S. Congress in support of taxpayer access to publicly funded research, and currently at New England Biolabs, USA. [7PM Eastern]

Philip E. Bourne, Ph.D. 
Philip E. Bourne is the Founding Editor-in-Chief of PLoS Computational Biology and the author of the popular PLoS Computational Biology Ten Simple Rules Series. He is Professor in the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of California San Diego, Associate Director of the RCSB Protein Data Bank, Senior Advisor to the San Diego Supercomputer Center, an Adjunct Professor at the Burnham Institute, and Co-Founder of SciVee. [7PM Pacific]

Librarians and student organizers are invited to host meetings around the broadcast. To see a list of participating campuses and to sign up, visit the Open Access Day Web site at Additional international events will be announced shortly.

The event will also mark the launch of the new “Voices of Open Access Video Series.” Key members of the research community, including a teacher, librarian, researcher, student, patient advocate, and a funder, will speak on why they are committed to Open Access.

“The momentum behind Open Access to research has been accelerating for some time now, even before the mandates at the U.S. National Institutes of Health and Harvard University,” said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC. “Events beyond the U.S. especially underscore the higher education community’s commitment to having the access they need. Open Access Day will provide a perfect way for folks to come together, consider, and celebrate the ramifications of the global shift we’re experiencing.”

“Open Access Day is a great opportunity to inform everyone on campus about the nature and importance of Open Access,” added Nelson Pavlosky, Co-Founder of Students for FreeCulture. “It’s really an issue that impacts everyone in the university, whether they are professors who publish, students who research, or librarians who purchase journal subscriptions. Students for FreeCulture looks forward to working with SPARC and PLoS to inform our peers, as well as faculty, staff and administration, about how Open Access can help bring publishing into the 21st Century.”

“Making full use of the Internet to share and reuse content without restriction is pushing scientific communication into the future,” said Peter Jerram, CEO of PLoS. “Open Access Day acknowledges the enormous progress that’s been made towards comprehensive access to research.  We are pleased to be partnering with the community on this special day. We would ask our supporters to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the commencement of our publishing activities in October by participating.”

Open Access Day was inspired by the National Day of Action on February 15, 2007, led by Students for FreeCulture with support from the Alliance for Taxpayer Access. This year, the same partners have joined forces with PLoS, the Open Access scientific and medical Web publisher. Open Access-supporting organizations are also invited to take part. For details, contact the organizers.

For details and to participate, visit


SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), with SPARC Europe and SPARC Japan, is an international alliance of more than 800 academic and research libraries working to create a more open system of scholarly communication. SPARC’s advocacy, educational and publisher partnership programs encourage expanded dissemination of research.  SPARC is a founder of the Alliance for Taxpayer Access, representing taxpayers, patients, physicians, researchers, and institutions that support open public access to taxpayer-funded research. SPARC is on the Web at

Students for FreeCulture (SFC) 
Students for FreeCulture is a diverse, non-partisan group of students and young people who are working to get their peers involved in the free culture movement. Launched in April 2004 at Swarthmore College, it has helped establish student groups at colleges and universities across the United States. Today, chapters exist at over 30 colleges, from Maine to California, with many more getting started around the world. Students for FreeCulture was founded by two Swarthmore students after they sued voting-machine manufacturer Diebold for abusing copyright law in 2003. Named after the book Free Culture by Stanford University law professor Lawrence Lessig, it is part of a growing movement, with roots in the free software/open source community, media activists, creative artists and writers, and civil libertarians. Groups with which it has collaborated include Creative Commons, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Knowledge, and Downhill Battle. Students for Free Culture is on the Web at

The Public Library of Science (PLoS) is a non-profit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource. PLoS publishes open access, peer-reviewed journals available online to anyone. PLoS celebrates their fifth anniversary on October 13, 2008. PLoS is on the Web at