Gaudeamus Igitur – Post Iucundam Iuventutem, Open Access?

“Gaudeamus” – let us rejoice, but when? “Iuvenes dum sumus,” – while we are young. And after a pleasant youth? “Nos habebit humus,” – the soil will have us. Were you ever frightened by that “academia” hymn and the snatching death that it describes?

Leaving Hogwarts

Harry and Ron

After leaving Uni, we are to become real wizards, with the death-eaters at our heels.

Do universities prepare their students for the post-academic life? Or is there really nothing to learn after the academy? It is your turn really, after you leave university, to become a real “wizard” and to fend off the “death-eaters” who may eliminate you. It is not all that “harrypotterish”.

We’re students – the next generation of scholars.
We believe that science should be open, for everyone to learn.
We’re changing the way that research is disseminated.
We are Open Students.

These are the words that form the statement for the students who support open access to research, the Open Students. They are the scientists of the future with scientific research accelerated, tools developing rapidly, petabytes of data circulating the web. They are also the ones who want to learn forever, and thus, perhaps, live forever? In spite of that terrifying “Gaudeamus”. The ongoing Sparky Awards are organized by SPARC in order to challenge students to express their view on Open Access and to explain why it is important for them, in a two-minute video. “Students are uniquely positioned to advance Open Access. Through their publishing, copyright, and policy choices, students – along with faculty and administrators – can make Open Access to institutional research outputs and wider access to the whole scholarly record a reality – today,” they report at SPARC.

The Digital Natives

Nick Shockey in his presentation video labels his generation as “the digital natives”, those who have grown up in a digital world of abundance, rather than scarcity. For them, there is more to learn than the academy can offer, and even more is to be made (as) openly accessible (as possible). Nick Shockey is a director at the Right to Research Coalition which represented over 5.5 million students in its first year. The Individual Statement on The Right to Research is available online on their website, to sign and to endorse. In the statement, students call upon universities, government and research funders, and finally, researchers themselves to support Open Access. Some of the main reasons listed are:

  • Open Access improves the educational experience
  • Open Access democratizes access to research
  • Open Access advances research
  • Open Access improves the visibility and impact of scholarship

In addition, Open Access could prolongate the educational experience. With open courses available online, such as those available at MIT or Harvard, anyone is invited to become a student once again, or perhaps, for the first time. “Vivat Academia!,” for this ensures a “learning-long” life.

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One Response to Gaudeamus Igitur – Post Iucundam Iuventutem, Open Access?

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