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Established by SPARC and partners in the student community in 2008, International Open Access Week happened worldwide between 22 and 28 October 2018 with the theme :

Designing Equitable Foundations for Open Knowledge

The Office of Scholarly Communication prepared a packed programme to mark this year’s theme. On this page you can explore our:

OAWeek 2018 Announcements 

Monday: relaunching

Announcement of the relaunch of the website

There was no better way to begin International Open Access Week 2018 than by announcing the relaunch of our Open Access website!

Our aim is to make the compliance process less daunting - the new site is designed as a one stop shop for our research community, to help demystify the process of meeting funder OA requirements and making a manuscript REF eligible. Through the site, University of Cambridge researchers, librarians and support staff can upload manuscripts, ask the OA team for help, find information on paying for open access, and explore topics such as: ‘Is my journal compliant?’.

The Resources page shares presentation slides, advice documents, flyers and posters to help spread the word – we hope library and research support staff find these useful for communicating Open Access requirements for REF2021. 

Over to you, Cambridge: make us busy and start uploading your manuscripts at the time of acceptance!

Tuesday: community resource - why copyWRONG when you can copyRIGHT?!

Announcement: Make sure you copyRIGHT with our selection of copyright resources from around the web

We can’t have Open Access Week without mentioning copyright. We know that trying to explain copyright can be complicated and sometimes knowing where to start is the most helpful thing.

We have compiled a handy list of the best copyright resources on the web in one handy document. This list contains resources from both Cambridge and further afield and features everything from training session slides to videos so there should be something for everyone.

So now there is no excuse to copyWRONG when you can copyRIGHT!

Wednesday: creating a community resource with scholarly communication and research support vox pops

Announcement 'Make your voice heard with a research support vox pop'

Scholarly communication and research support is still a developing area in libraries and to be honest, not everyone is sure exactly what working in these roles is like!

We are aiming to help demystify the exiting world of scholarly communication for a new generation of staff to encourage them to think about a career in this area. Those of us in the OSC could go on and on about how great this sector is but we wanted to give others an opportunity to contribute and that’s where you come in.

If you work in the area of scholarly communication and research support in some capacity we would love it if you could share a short video or text interview with us. We will gather these together and share them on our website to show people what it’s really like to work in scholarly communication and research support. If you would like to contribute then you can upload your video or your answers to our questions here.

Thursday: share it, don't just shelve it - paying for University of Cambridge PhD theses to be digitised and made open access in Apollo

This morning we are celebrating #ThesisThursday and reflecting on the year that has passed since Professor Stephen Hawking made his e-thesis available - an event which not only crashed our repository but also caused a general increase in online engagement with e-Theses in other institutions. Our thesis project has seen massive steps forward in the ensuing months - read all about these in today's blogpost, Where are we now? Cambridge theses deposits one year in.

So we are delighted to announce that for the next 12 months we are renewing our commitment to pay for University of Cambridge PhD theses to be digitised and made open access in Apollo. With the generous support of the Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, we should reach 6000 theses in Apollo by Christmas - will your thesis be the 6000th?

To spread the word to Cambridge PhD alumni that they can make a digital version of their thesis open access at no cost to themselves, our talented colleague Clare Trowell, Marshall Librarian in the Faculty of Economics, has drawn our very own comic strip, 'Share it, don't just shelve it!' We hope it will soon brighten up noticeboards and display screens around the University, as well as featuring in alumni bulletins!

Comic strip 'Share it don't shelve it!' showing the advantages of making a PhD thesis open access

Friday: the Open Access year in numbers 

Sometimes we spend so much time just doing the work we don’t take a step back to reflect. But today, thanks to our indomitable team member Maria Angelaki, we are doing just that. To end our huge Open Access Week 2018 offerings* we are looking at the past Open Access year in numbers.


Since 1 January this year, we have dealt with 13,642 submissions, which includes 9,019 article deposits to Apollo. We have processed 332 invoices since 25 May 2018 alone. The average processing time we are managing for each invoice is 49 seconds.

Request a Copy

Between 30 September 2017 and 30 September 2018 we have had 4,247 Request a Copy requests. This includes 2,444 for theses and 1,667 for journal articles. And yes we are processing these all by hand.


Between our two blog platforms, Unlocking Research and Open Research: Adventures from the frontline we have posted 40 blogs in 2018 alone. The Unlocking Research blog pages have had 18,000 users in the past 12 months. The blogs that received more than 1000 views were:


On Twitter the @CamOpenAccess Twitter handle  has 2,143 followers and @CamOpenData Twitter handle  has 1,820 followers.


Our web presences continue to grow – we announced the revamped Open Access website on Monday. The OSC webpages had 31,000 users over the past year. Interestingly over the whole year the fifth most visited web page is (2953 visits) In the last week, the most visited page (other than the home page) has been this one - - with 168 views!

But these numbers are dwarfed by the Research Data website with 62,000 users (twice as many!) over the past year. The most visited page in the past week (989 views) is and this is also the most viewed page in the past year with 40,336 visits in total. Data management guidance pages dominate the most visited pages on this site


Our theses remain incredibly popular with the total number of thesis downloads in the past year (01/10/10/17-30/09/18) is 790,162.

Unsurprisingly, given that the release of Stephen Hawking's Properties of expanding universes ‘broke the internet’ this time last year, it remains our highest downloaded item of all time. Discounting this slight statistical anomaly, the total download of remaining theses in this period is 288,661.

The next most downloaded theses in order are:

* Check out for announcements, links to blogs videos and fantastic events - #LearnSocOA18 and #ChangeTheWorldOA18)

We are tired! Time to knock off for the weekend.

OA Week 2018 Blog Posts from Unlocking Research

Monday: Cambridge Open Access spend 2013-2018 

In Monday's post for Unlocking Research, Dr Arthur Smith takes the long view on how our Open Access Team has helped Cambridge researchers meet their Open Access obligations over the past five years - a significantly costly business. 

Delving into the figures, this post explores the publishers that have received the most funds, the relative value they offer, and how far this is reflected in the journal metrics.

Since January 2016 expenditure has gradually been catching up on the available funds, and we are quickly reaching the point where expenditure will outstrip the available grants. How has this come about, and what are the implications - particularly where hybrid APCs are concerned?

Tuesday:Text and data mining services: an update

In our second blogpost for OA Week 2018, Dr Deborah Hansen looks back at 20 months of development around Text and Data Mining support in Cambridge.

In February 2017, a group University of Cambridge staff met to discuss “Text and Data Mining Services: What can Cambridge libraries offer?”. We report on the activities, events and initiatives we have been involved in since then to raise awareness, educate and tease out the issues around the low uptake of this research process.

Wednesday:What do you want and why do you want it? An update on Request a Copy 

Our third blogpost for OA Week 2018 explores our Request a Copy service: Dr Mélodie Garnier wonders what are people asking to see in the Apollo Repository and why? In the past year, 4,416 people from all over the world have requested copies of material in our repository - a 33% increase from the previous year. We challenge you to remain unmoved by some of the reasons given for requesting access to material - concrete examples of how open access can enable life-changing decisions.

Thursday: Where are we now? Cambridge theses deposits one year in 

Our fourth blogpost for Open Access Week 2018 celebrates #ThesisThursday. In Zoe Walker-Fagg reviews one year of compulsory e-theses deposits at the University of Cambridge. As we approach a staggering 6000 e-theses in the Apollo repository, what challenges have we addressed?

Friday: finishing the week on a bang with TWO offerings from Unlocking Research...

In their own words: working in scholarly communication

Last month we put out a call for people working in scholarly communication to record and send us their views on what it takes to work in this area. After a slow start, we're happy to share films and interviews created by Clair Castle, Natasha Feiner, Kate O’Neill, Claire Sewell and Sarah Stewart, who tell us the core tasks and favourite parts of their job, and what they need to do it that they didn't learn at Library School. Keep an eye on the blog for more interviews coming soon. Videos can be found on our playlist.

Blood: in short supply

Two years ago (almost to the day) we called out Blood for their misleading open access options that they offered to Research Council and Charity Open Access Fund (COAF) authors. Unfortunately, little has changed since then. However, over the last two years we’ve seen a dramatic decline in the number of papers being published in Blood by Medical Research Council (MRC), Wellcome Trust, Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and British Heart Foundation (BHF) researchers. The number of papers published in Blood that acknowledge these funders is now at its lowest point in over a decade. This post calls to those funded by Research Councils or one of the COAF members to please consider publishing elsewhere, and links to our open letter to the editor of Blood in the hope that they'll reconsider their open access options. Please join us by adding your name.

OA Week 2018 Videos: My thesis, open access and me

This week we are looking forward to #ThesisThursday and celebrating University of Cambridge digital PhD theses that have been made open access in our repository, Apollo. Our series of short films, My thesis, open access and me explores experiences of submitting a digital PhD thesis. Five doctoral graduates and candidates tell us why they uploaded their thesis and any expectations and concerns they had.   


We hear from Dr Sarah Foley, a postdoctoral researcher in the Centre for Family Research, University of Cambridge. She submitted her PhD thesis Emerging parental sensitivity: the transition to parenthood through the lens of family systems theory in 2018, and it is now available in Apollo.  

Sarah was required by her funder, the ESRC, to make her PhD research open access. She discusses her hopes that someone will be able to cite her study in their own doctoral work, and her discovery that the rate of people viewing her thesis increased significantly following a media interview about her research earlier in the year.

You can also watch the film on the University of Cambridge Streaming Media Service site.


Emily Dourish is a Deputy Keeper of Rare Books & Early Manuscripts at Cambridge University Library. She submitted her PhD thesis Patronage and Politics at Barking Abbey, c.950-c.1200 in 2004. A copy of Emily's thesis was made onto microfilm for the British Library and subsequently digitized with the generous support of the Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin. This digital version was uploaded to the Apollo Repository in 2018 as part of a project between the British Library and the University of Cambridge Office of Scholarly Communication, and Emily chose to make it open access.

She discusses the process of making her thesis available digitally even though she did not submit an electronic version at the time she completed her PhD, and tells us why she is recommending this route to other Cambridge alumni.

You can also watch the film on the University of Cambridge Streaming Media Service site.


Sebastian Haines is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Earth Sciences. He completed his Physics PhD, Pressure Tuned Magnetism in d- and f-Electron Materials in 2012, and it is available in the Apollo repository.

One of the reasons Sebastian made his thesis open access was to help new PhD students joining his research group. He discusses the process of choosing access levels and licenses, and reflects on the implications of sharing his thesis as he pursues an academic career. 

You can also watch the film on the University of Cambridge Streaming Media Service site.


Currently a postdoctoral researcher in the Autism Research Centre, University of Cambridge, Varun Warrier submitted his PhD thesis The Genetics of Autism and Related Traits in 2018. It is available in the Apollo Repository.

Varun discusses his reasons for sharing his PhD research, highlighting that 'because I work on autism, I wanted my research to be publicly available to researchers, autistic individuals and other stakeholders like government agencies and charities that work in the field'. 

You can also watch the film on the University of Cambridge Streaming Media Service site.


Nikita Hari is a PhD candidate in the Department of Engineering and submitted her PhD thesis for examination in 2018, on 'Gallium Nitride Power Electronics using Machine Learning'. In 2017, the Board of Graduate Studies consulted with graduate students on plans to introduce the requirement to submit an electronic version of a PhD thesis to the University's repository, Apollo, in addition to a hard copy. As Vice-President of the Graduate Union, Nikita was part of these discussions. 

She discusses her experience of choosing an initial embargo for her thesis, and advises her fellow PhD students to inform themselves about open access requirements and any copyright issues well in advance of the time of submission, which is already potentially stressful.     

You can also watch the film on the University of Cambridge Streaming Media Service site.

OAWeek 2018 Events


Learned Societies in the Open era: finding a way forward

Tuesday 23 October, 6-7:30pm 

Mill Lane Lecture Room 1, 8 Mill Lane, Cambridge, CB2 1RX

This event was live-tweeted from @CamOpenAccess #LearnSocOA18 - read the live-tweets on Wakelet.

Cartoon map of a redesigned system of research and publishing, emphasizing collaboration, openness, creativity and multidisciplinary efforts.

Some learned societies are increasingly dependent on publishing revenues, yet as open access becomes the new normal, researchers and librarians alike are questioning expensive subscription and publishing deals.  

The Office of Scholarly Communication presents a panel debate for Open Access Week 2018 and Cambridge Festival of Ideas 2018. Join representatives from learned societies in the arts and sciences, including the Royal Society, the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Royal Historical Society, in conversation with their members within the University of Cambridge to ask ‘what is a learned society in the 21st century?’ How can the societies sustain their place in the academic landscape and answer the challenges created by open access requirements? 

We are delighted to welcome the following people to the discussion:

  • Richard Fisher, Royal Historical Society
  • Professor Jonathan Goodman, Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge
  • Dr Catherine Hills, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge & Cambridge Antiquarian Society
  • Dr Danny Kingsley, Deputy Director, Cambridge University Library, Scholarly Communication and Research Services 
  • Professor Jeremy Sanders, Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge
  • Stuart Taylor, Royal Society
  • Professor Alexandra Walsham, Faculty of History, University of Cambridge
  • Emma Wilson, Royal Society of Chemistry


Scholarly Communication Update Webinar

Wednesday 24 October, 12:00–12:45pm

This webinar will outline some of the key changes in the world of scholarly communication and research support over the last year including the launch of Plan S, the breakdown of negotiations between Elsevier and universities in Europe and the current copyright lawsuits against ResearchGate. A recording will be made available after the webinar so please register as normal even if you cannot attend live.

Please register  


Is Open Research really changing the world?

Thursday 25 October, 6-7:30pm

Mill Lane Lecture Room 1, 8 Mill Lane, Cambridge, CB2 1RX

This event was live-tweeted from @CamOpenAccess #ChangeTheWorldOA18 - read the live-tweets on Wakelet.

Watch the full recording below.

Much research claims to benefit communities globally but are research outputs really available to everyone, even if they are made open access? We'll take a world tour with Dr Nilam Ashram-McGrath, Phil Weir, Dr Rafael Mitchell and Dr Alexandra Freeman to discover what is possible when researchers and governments make their research outputs available openly. What kind of impact do they have outside the academy – and outside the global north? What more can we do to make these outputs useful to innovators and to those researching outside the academic sector?

We welcome our speakers from Cambridge and beyond:

  • Dr Nilam Ashra-McGrath, COMDIS Health Service Delivery Research Programme, University of Leeds

  • Dr Rafael Mitchell, REAL Centre, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge

  • Dr Phil Weir, Flax & Teal, winner of the 2016 Northern Ireland Open Data challenge

  • Dr Alexandra Freeman, Executive Director, Winton Centre for Risk & Evidence Communication, Centre for Mathematical Sciences, University of Cambridge   


You may remember that in OA Week 2017 we announced that a certain Cambridge thesis about expanding universes had been made open access in our university’s repository, Apollo. The impact on the scholarly communication sector was so huge that this year universities nationwide will be taking part in #thesisthursday – an online celebration of everything to do with open access PhD theses in honour of the day that Stephen Hawking’s thesis broke the internet! Join @CamOpenAccess on Twitter on Thursday 25 October to find out how our Digital Theses project has gone from strength to strength since then, and share your own stories and thoughts on making digital PhD theses open access.      


Paywall the Movie: a lunchtime screening for Open Access Week 2018

Friday 26 October, 12-2pm 

Milstein Room, Cambridge University Library

 The business of Scholarship with Open Access logo'

Jason Schmitt's film, Paywall: the Business of Scholarship, was released this month, with a trailer featuring faces familiar from the world of academic publishing alongside Alexandra Elbakyan, the scientist behind Sci-Hub. Schmitt's documentary questions the rationale behind the $25.2 billion a year that flows into for-profit academic publishers, and examines the 35-40% profit margin associated with Elsevier - a margin greater than that of some of the most profitable tech companies.

Controversial? You bet! Bring along your lunch, enjoy some popcorn, and stay after the film to discuss the issues raised. 

The film will start at 12.15pm and runs for 65 minutes - please arrive at 12 noon to unpack your lunch with the lights on!


Missed this showing? You can watch this film online - it is free to stream and download, for private or public use, under a CC BY 4.0 license.

Other opportunities

Throughout OA Week, PLOS and PreReview are teaming up to live-stream Preprint Journal Clubs, to bring together scientists from around the world to discuss and review an actual preprint. You can join any of the sessions - find out more and register on the PLOS Blog.

Neuroscience: Monday, October 22, 9am PDT / 12pm EDT / 5pm GMT+1

Bioinformatics: Tuesday, October 23, 9am PDT / 12pm EDT / 5pm GMT+1

Ecology: Wednesday, October 24, 9am PDT / 12pm EDT / 5pm GMT+1

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