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This observation was written by Caroline Winter, with thanks to Inba Kehoe for her feedback and contributions.

At a glance:

TitleInternational Open Access Week 2021
Publication Daten/a
Keywordsopen access, INKE partner activities, scholarly communication

The 14th annual International Open Access Week runs from October 25–31, 2021, and this year’s theme is “It Matters How We Open Knowledge: Building Structural Equity.” This theme was chosen to align with the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science (see “UNESCO’s Recommendation on Open Science”), which “powerfully articulates and centers the importance of equity in pursuing a future for scholarship that is open by default” (Fandel 2021).

Open Access Week is organized by SPARC, a global organization that advocates for open access, open education, and open data. It began in 2008 as a single-day event and has since transformed into a week-long celebration with global reach. The organizers emphasize that OA advocacy happens year round, however, as should the advancement of diversity, equity and inclusion:

“International Open Access Week is an important opportunity to catalyze new conversations, create connections across and between communities that can facilitate this co-design, and advance progress to build more equitable foundations for opening knowledge—discussions and actions that need to be continued, year in and year out.” (Fandel)

Tweets about International Open Access Week can be found at #OAweek.

OA Week 2021 and the INKE Partnership

SPARC organizes Open Access Week in consultation with an international advisory board that includes INKE Partnership members Lise Brin, Program Officer with the Canadian Association of Research Libraires (CARL), and Juan Pablo Alperin, Associate Director of Research with the Public Knowledge Project (PKP) at Simon Fraser University (SFU).

SFU Libraries is offering a workshop for graduate students about publishing online, and their online portal includes links to materials from past years’ Open Access Week celebrations, including a link to the film Paywall: the Business of Scholarship (see “The Film Paywall: The Business of Scholarship), a keynote presentation by Jessie Loyer from 2019 called Can we Decolonize Open?, and a panel discussion from 2018 called Open But Not Free: Invisible Labour in Open Scholarship.

CARL is hosting a series of webinars about its collaboration with OpenAIRE, a European open scholarship infrastructure initiative, which focuses on integrating and identifying Canadian content. The first webinar, to be held on October 26, is Looking for a Needle in a Haystack: Increasing the International Visibility of Canadian Research through the CARL-OpenAIRE Collaboration.

The University of Windsor’s Leddy Library is hosting the online event on October 26 featuring INKE Partners Érudit and PKP: Open Access Publishing and Coalition Publica: Perspectives from Érudit, the Library, and a Journal Editor.

The Electronic Textual Cultures Lab (ETCL) and the University of Victoria Libraries are hosting an online talk by UVic’s 2021–22 Honorary Resident Wikipedian, Nastasia Herold, with Thérèse Ottawa, on Ethics and Responsibilities of Open Access and its Realization in the Atikamekw First Nation’s Wikipedia. The talk will be held on Wednesday, October 27 and is free and open to all.

In Australia, Open Access Australasia, one of INKE’s partners in the Canadian–Australian Partnership for Open Scholarship (CAPOS), is hosting a series of online events to celebrate OA Week:

Canadian and International OA Week Events of Interest

In Canada, the University of British Columbia (UBC) Library is presenting a series of OA Week events:

The UBC Library is also hosting several events in November as part of its Open Scholarship in Practice series:

In the UK, the British Library is holding an online Open and Engaged 2021 conference on October 25 as part of OA Week, Understanding the Impact of Open in the Arts and Humanities Beyond the University.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), held in Glasgow, is hosting an Open Access Virtual Book Showcase featuring more than 150 books related to sustainability and climate change, available from October 28–November 22.

International Open Access Week and Open Scholarship

Open Access is an important component of open scholarship and forms part of SPARC’s Open Agenda, which also includes Open Data and Open Education. As an international event that raises awareness about open access and the Open movement more broadly and an opportunity to celebrate its successes, International Open Access Week is an important annual milestone for open scholarship.

Works Cited

Fandel, Lese. 2021. “2021 Open Access Week Theme to be ‘It Matters How We Open Knowledge: Building Structural Equity.’” International Open Access Week, 12 August 2021,

Shockey, Nick. “Open Access Week Advisory Committee.” International Open Access Week, 25 May 2018,