As the transition to a system for sharing knowledge that is open by default accelerates, the question “open for whom?” is essential—both to consider and to act upon. Whose interests are being prioritized in the actions we take and in the platforms that we support? Whose voices are excluded? Are underrepresented groups included as full partners from the beginning? Are we supporting not only open access but also equitable participation in research communication? These questions will determine the extent to which emerging open systems for research will address inequities in the current system or replicate and reinforce them.
This year’s theme will build on the groundwork laid last year when discussions focused on “Designing Equitable Foundations for Open Knowledge.” The 2018 theme highlighted the importance of making a central commitment to equity as we transition toward new systems for sharing knowledge, and the past twelve months have only seen the pace of that transition increase. Because of this, the Open Access Week Advisory Committee decided it was important to focus on equity again in 2019—to deepen our conversations about being inclusive by design and to turn those conversations into action.
We find ourselves at a critical moment. The decisions we make now—individually and collectively—will fundamentally shape the future for many years to come. As open becomes the default, all stakeholders must be intentional about designing these new, open systems to ensure that they are inclusive, equitable, and truly serve the needs of a diverse global community. Asking ourselves and our partners “open for whom?” will help ensure that considerations of equity become and remain central in this period of transition.