The following is a blog post by Cedar Claire Middleton, institutional repository coordinator for the Office of Scholarly Communications. 

The first week of August, I was given the opportunity to attend FSCI: Force11 Scholarly Communications Institute. FSCI is a week-long program of coursework, group activities, and hands-on training around the latest trends in scholarly communication. This was my first time being involved with Force11 and FSCI. I learned a lot, not only in the classes we took, but from colleagues and how to navigate across UCLA: University of California Los Angeles.

I stayed in the Luskin Conference Center hotel, which was about a 10-minute walk to the DeNeve Commons and the Carnesale Commons where we met for classes and the plenaries. It was also about a 5-minute walk to the UCLA student union and the coffee shop I frequented for breakfast, Kerckhoff Coffee House. Doing so, instead of staying in the dorms, helped me navigate across campus and into Westwood; I tried to navigate a bit too much, and got lost a few times, but I was able to really appreciate the campus and why I was there. UCLA is so beautiful, and I enjoyed getting to walk around after classes and dinner, to enjoy the different building architecture, the sculpture garden and the different trees everywhere, especially the ones that look like they have wrinkles. On the last day, a colleague and I visited the campus botanical gardens. It was amazing!!

I enjoyed hearing from Juan Pablo Alperin from Vancouver, Canada, Osman Aldirdiri from Sudan, Africa, Miho Funamori from Tokyo, Japan, Ivonne Lujano Vilchis from Toluca, Mexico and many more. Hearing from these great colleagues I have learned that we are all working toward the same goal: having open access be more important regarding scholarly work and research availability. With the help of all my current and newfound colleagues we can make a bigger impact together. We want to share our own work, our colleagues’ work, and our students’ work across the world so it can be useful to those that cannot access research otherwise. If we continue to educate our faculty, staff and students about open access then it would be more likely to become a great alternative to traditional publishing. One great initiative is Plan S, which is making full and immediate open access to research a reality.

Having the knowledge that I do now will help me work towards helping our community better embrace open access and have a bigger impact in our community and the world. I want to share with our faculty, staff and students that open access can be a great way to showcase their work. One way would be to add their work in our repository or in an open access journal, which will help them in their future research as well as help others doing similar research. This gives their work a wider reach and more visibility.

I am making this my call to action: let’s all work on communication and education – faculty, staff, and students alike – so that everyone can understand that open access is a good thing. If you know about FSCI or Force11, I would love to talk more with you and learn of your experiences. If you want to talk more about Plan S, our repository or open access journals, please communicate with me and my colleagues. We are more than willing to share our experiences and help you navigate to open access.