AOASG Inaugural Forum an Open Access Success

The Australian Open Access Support group is committed to raising awareness of and knowledge about open access.

2014 saw AOASG launch a new forum which brought together researchers from a range of disciplines to discuss the benefits and challenges of sharing their work through making it open access and communicating it through social media.

More than 50 people came together on the morning of November the 5th.

The event started with an inspiring recorded talk by Dr Erin McKiernan, a neurophysiologist from Mexico, on open access for the early career researcher. She covered what open access is, how to promote and embrace it and why. Her advice on how to debunk many of the myths about open access that get tossed out as road blocks for the ECR was inspirational. (The recording is available here:

Tom Cochrane, AOASG’s patron and Emeritus Professor at QUT, then reflected on the major open access current issues. He discussed the new business relationships and models that may be needed, including regarding copyright and licencing of research information; delved into the effect of funder and government mandates on the big publishers and examined again, as Erin had done earlier, who exactly does not have access to non-open access publications?

Dr Adrian Burton from the Australian National Data Service gave a very comprehensive over view of the comparisons between open access to publications and open data. Many of the funder and government mandates apply equally to the data from research as they do to the traditional article outputs. He noted that while the motivation to comply with these mandates are aligned between the institution and the researchers to make all outputs of research as open as possible, there are some fundamental differences that need not be in conflict. His slides can be found at

Attendees were inspired by a superb discussion by the members of the researcher panel. Prof Andrew Heathcote and  A/Prof Stephen Chalup, University of Newcastle; A/Prof Katrina Schlunke, University of Technology, Sydney;  Prof Laurie Buys and Dr Gillian Lawson, Queensland University of Technology gave a great range of insights. These eminent researchers seemed to relish the chance to explain to the audience their, and their fellow researchers support for open access. Wide ranging discussion included the motivations for selecting publishers, how they determine which research will be open access and which will not, and suggestions to the library community on how they can make the researchers life easier when they have to comply with the open access conditions of their funding agreements. They discussed barriers researchers face when trying to publish, not just open access articles but their data as well. Judging from the comments from around the room the audience were given lots to think about and many things to consider implementing when they returned to their home institutions.

It is clear that researchers need more information and guidance on open access publishing. The AOASG members will consider next steps at the planning day in January 2015.

Thanks to the Australian Catholic University for providing the wonderful venue and to the Australian National Data Services for the excellent lunch.


Forum slides: AOASG – Nov5th 2014

Erin McKeirnan’s presentation

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