The International Open Access Week 2020 at Chemnitz University of Technology – a summary

This year’s “International Open Access Week” (IOAW), which took place from 19 October to 25 October 2020, was centred around the motto “Open with Purpose: Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and Inclusion”, which emphasised the political and social implications of Open Science and focused on the philosophy behind the term “Openness” as a set of values.

On the other hand, IOAW 2020 was also held under the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has been challenging the global community and turning people’s lives and work upside down since the beginning of this year.

Both aspects were the focus of the IOAW 2020 organized by the Open Science Team of the Chemnitz University Library. Together with renowned experts and our library patrons, we were not only able to discuss the opportunities for creating inclusion and justice through Open Science, but also the relevance of Open Science in times of a pandemic. The full range of topics related to Openness was explored in exciting lectures, lively Q&A sessions, an engaging Open Science forum, and numerous interactions on our social media channels. The kick off for our IOAW activities was on Monday, 19.10., with a mini symposium.

In the first presentation of the symposium, Prof. Dr. Meike Breuer, Professor of “Specialized Didactics in Sports and Physical Education” and Director of the Centre for Teacher Training at Chemnitz University of Technology, gave an exciting insight into the perception and experience of Open Access publishing in the humanities. Prof. Breuer weighed up positive aspects (e.g. improved access to knowledge through OA) and existing hurdles (e.g. a bias in favour of STM disciplines in the negotiation of Big DEALs), addressed unexploited potentials ( funding for Open Access monographs) and pleaded for the general support of Open Access for all stakeholders.

The second presentation was given by Prof. Dr. Frank J. Müller from the University of Bremen, who spoke about the opportunities that Open Educational Resources (OER), freely accessible teaching materials that can be used by anyone, offer for the provision of inclusive access to higher learning and why such materials represent added value for all academic disciplines.

Prof. Müller particularly addressed the question of maximizing the re-use of self-created, high-quality educational content. In addition to the theoretical discussion of the relevance of barrier-free access and Universal Design for inclusion and access for all, he also addressed practical questions about the proper CC licenses and how to apply for funding.

In the third presentation, Dirk Pieper, Deputy Director of Bielefeld University Library and acting head of the National Open Access Contact Point OA2020-DE, spoke about the transformation of the scientific publishing system towards Open Access and the current stage of this process in Germany. In addition to figures and statistics to illustrate what has been achieved so far, he also reported on the work of the Contact Point, offered an overview of funding agencies involved (DFG; BMBF) and infrastructure projects that are accompanying this process (e.g. Open Access Monitor; OpenAPC) and spoke about some recent Open Access business models that are intended to drive the transformation forward (“Subscribe to Open“). An outlook on future tasks (e.g. an all-German Open Access strategy) concluded the presentation.

(You can find the slides of Dirk Pieper’s presentation here).

Dr. Stefan Schmeja, who has a doctorate in astrophysics and is an Open Science expert at the German National Library of Science and Technology (TIB) in Hannover, finally posed the question of the relevance of Open Science using the example of the information situation during a pandemic in the last presentation of the symposium. He spoke about the need in the medical field for the fastest possible, unhindered access to the latest research, and he spanned the arch beyond the field of medicine. Dr. Schmeja illustrated how resources that are not hidden behind paywalls make it particularly obvious in times of home office and limited library access what opportunities Open Access publications offer for science and why free access does not mean Open Access. Using the examples of preprints, Open Peer Review and Open Data, he explained why Open Science in its entirety stands for progress, transparency and inclusion and why it is a tool that should not be underestimated when it comes to mastering the great tasks of the future.

(You can find the slides of Dr. Schmeja’s presentation here).

Finally, on Wednesday, October 21, the Open Science team hosted a virtual consultancy session under the motto “Talk to us: Let’s discuss Open Science”. From 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. the team was prepared to answer all questions concerning Open Science in an online forum. In addition to questions about the financing of Open Access fees through the Publication Fund, the big questions were also addressed and lively discussions took place: What added value does the work of prestigious publishers provide for a publication beyond their household name and a high impact? Does the gain in reputation justify particularly high Open Access fees? Are the scientific quality and visibility of Open Access publications that deliberately and consistently evade the constraints of the traditional publishing system lower or is their distribution even greater because they are not behind expensive paywalls and are given the greatest possible reach and subsequent use through Creative Commons licenses? These and other questions were vividly discussed by the participants. The desire for further events of this kind, e.g. panel discussions on the topic, was emphasized and included in the list of suggestions for the IOAW 2021.

Various blog posts on the University Library’s new consulting services, on Open Access publishing, on the importance of Open Educational Resources and on Open Software concluded the programme for “International Open Access Week” 2020.

The Open Science Team at Chemnitz University Library would like to thank all participants and speakers for a very successful “International Open Access Week”. We would especially like to thank all those who found the time to visit our virtual events, listen to the lectures, ask questions, participate in discussions, read our blog posts and use our social media services.

Feedback, suggestions, questions (e.g. also for content on IOAW 2021) are always welcome. Please contact us personally or at:

The Open Science Team is:
Carolin Ahnert (Open Educational Ressources)
Ute Blumtritt (Open Access; Copyright, Creative Commons)
Anja Hähle (Open Source)
Martina Jackenkroll (Open Data; Research Data)
Christian Schmidt (Open Access; Copyright; Creative Commons)