nickshockeyRecognition and awareness of how the next generation of scholars are transforming scholarly communication is well underway. Nick Shockey highlights OpenCon, a conference to take place in November aimed at mobilising support around open access, open educational resources and open data amongst early career researchers. Funding has been made available to cover travel to attend the conference in Washington DC but the deadline is Monday, 25th August.

Last November, seventy five students and early career researchers from thirty five countries gathered in Berlin to advance campaigns led by the next generation for an open system of academic publishing.  The results of their collective effort since have been extraordinary.

In the wake of the meeting, national-level campaigns were launched in Tanzania, Nigeria, and Nepal, with the latter two establishing chapters in nearly all of the medical schools in each country. Students helped to pass open-access policies at institutions such as the University of Cape Town and to integrate Open Access into the orientation for students at places like the University of Hong Kong.  A student-led project called the Open Access Button that launched at the meeting has since mapped over 9,000 individual collisions with paywalls and been covered in Scientific American and the Guardian.

From helping to found Open Access Week in 2007 to now, the next generation of researchers has played an ever-increasing role in transforming scholarly communication.  This year’s Open Access Week will celebrate these efforts with the theme Generation Open, and this Fall, the Right to Research Coalition and SPARC will launch OpenCon, a new conference to support, connect, and catalyze student and early career researcher-led projects across Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data.  The meeting will be held on November 15-17 in Washington, DC.

University_of_Virginia_School_of_Law,_LibraryImage credit: University of Virginia School of Law, Library CC BY-SA Mmw3v – Own work

OpenCon will bring together leading young advocates with experts at the forefront of the conference’s three program areas, including

  • Philip Bourne: Associate Director for Data Science US National Institutes of Health;
  • Heather Joseph: Executive Director of SPARC;
  • Peter Murray-Rust: Reader in Molecular Informatics at the University of Cambridge; Shuttleworth Fellow;
  • Victoria Stodden: Assistant Professor of Statistics, Columbia University; and,
  • John Wilbanks: Chief Commons Office, Sage Bionetworks.

Because students and early career researchers often lack access to travel funding, the full cost of attendance for the majority of participants will be covered by travel scholarships provided through the generous support of sponsor organizations, including the Max Planck Society, eLife, Overleaf by writeLaTeX, and many individual universities.

Applications to attend OpenCon are open now and will remain open until midnight PDT on Monday, August 25th.  All students and early career researchers with an interest in Open Access, Open Education and Open Data are encouraged to apply at  The application includes the ability to apply for a travel scholarship.

For those unable to attend in person, the conference sessions of OpenCon 2014 will be live webcast at  OpenCon also has an open call for partners to host satellite events that mix programming from the main conference with local presentations to bring the energy of an in-person meeting to other cities around the world.  If you’re interested in learning more about hosting a satellite event or watch party, you can find more information at

Note: This article gives the views of the authors, and not the position of the Impact of Social Science blog, nor of the London School of Economics. Please review our Comments Policy if you have any concerns on posting a comment below.

About the Author

Nick Shockey is the Director of the Right to Research Coalition, an international alliance of 77 student organizations — collectively representing nearly seven million students in over 100 countries — that seek to promote Open Access through advocacy and education.  The Right to Research Coalition is an initiative of SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition.  You can learn more about the Right to Research Coalition at

Print Friendly, PDF & Email