international open access week
Wednesday, 25 October 2023

Open Access Week is here, and it is the perfect time to shine a light on the University of Limerick's unwavering commitment to Open Access (OA). At UL, the library is not just a place for books and quiet study; it's a hub of innovation and progress in the world of open research. The library has taken a leadership role in supporting open access to research, knowledge, and information through several key initiatives. 

Open Access Repository

In 2022, UL library launched its newly updated Institutional Repository. Over 11,000 individual research works by UL authors are available on the Research Repository, collected since the launch of the original repository in 2008. By providing a platform for researchers to share their work openly, the library contributes to the global OA movement, making valuable research readily available to a broader audience. 

Open Access publisher agreements 

Open Access publisher agreements or transformative agreements are contracts negotiated between institutions and publishers that transform the business model underlying scholarly publishing towards a fully open access model. They represent a further shift away from a subscription-only model to one which covers both subscription payments (the “read” element of the agreement) and article processing charges (the “publish” element). 

The library as members of the IReL consortium manage 24 of these agreements on behalf of UL. These agreements greatly open up the OA opportunities for UL researchers at no cost to the individual researcher.  

Support for Open Journal and Book publishing 

As part of our commitment to a diverse and sustainable scholarly publishing system the library has supported key OA journal and book publishers such as Knowledge Unlatched and the Open Library of the Humanities. Through our IReL membership we have supported  Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics (SCOAP3), the world’s largest disciplinary OA initiative. Also, through IRel we support the following SCOSS-endorsed initiatives: 

  • Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) 
  • Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) & OAPEN  
  • Sherpa Romeo 

These infrastructures are key to libraries and their users and are crucial to maintaining a diverse scholarly communications landscape. 

Training and Advocacy 

UL library recognises the importance of empowering its academic community with the knowledge and tools needed to embrace OA principles. Through workshops, training sessions, and active advocacy, the library is creating a culture of openness, collaboration, and transparency.  

Collaborations and Partnerships 

Collaboration is key to driving change. The library actively collaborates with like-minded organisations and global initiatives like Plan S and COARA which seek to accelerate the transition to OA publishing and collectively promote open research practices. 

As we celebrate Open Access Week, we acknowledge the involvement of library staff in a number of national projects focused on implementing Ireland’s National Action Plan for Open Research. These include TROPIC, National Open Access Monitor, National Open Access Repositories, PublishOA. UL library’s research data manager Armin Straube is leading iFrame, a project to create a National Research Data Management Framework. 

In a world that increasingly recognizes the importance of open knowledge, UL library continues to lead the way, championing the values of accessibility, collaboration, and transparency.