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It is important to create open research environments for discussions on openness to be effective

“It is important to create open research environments for discussions on openness to be effective”
Jiří Marek
Name: Jiří Marek
Position: Ph.D student in Environmental Engineering & Open Access Co-ordinator
Expertise: Chemistry, Technology of Environmental Protection
Institution: Brno University of Technology, Faculty of Chemistry & Rectorate, Central Library
Country: Czech Republic
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ORCID ID: 0000-0003-2132-762X

An interview with Jiří Marek on 10 December 2015

What got you originally interested in Open Access (OA)?

My interest in Open Access started whilst studying for my bachelor degree. I was studying both at the Faculty of Law at Masaryk University and at the Faculty of Chemistry at Brno University of Technology. Whilst choosing the topic of my bachelor dissertation at the Faculty of Law, my supervisor Judr. Matěj Myška, Ph.D. (current Legal Lead for Creative Commons Czech Republic) inspired me to make use of my studies in the research area of chemistry to work on the Open Access topic. One year after graduating at the Faculty of Law (2013), I was invited to help develop the Open Access policy for Brno University of Technology.
Philosophically, I believe that Open Access is a starting point towards building the Information Society.

What is your hope or vision for more OA to research?

I hope that researchers and other academic staff, including Master and PhD students, will publish more OA and adopt new publishing model(s) more easily as a result of constructive discussion with academics and through the implementation and development of tools. By tools I mean those that enable and support new ways of publishing such as metrics, the visualisation of research impact, interuniversity processes supporting OA publishing.

What OA activities are you involved in?

I am one of three founding members of the OA Policy team at Brno University of Technology. We have written a brochure about OA for our university, have made several presentations and have facilitated several workshops on the topic.
I am active in OA as:
– An Open Access Coordinator at Brno University of Technology
– An editor of a new book that summarises the status quo of OA in the Czech Republic
– A member of the Creative Commons Czech Republic Team
– A first-year Ph.D. student at Brno University of Technology where I also explain OA to my peers
– A promoter of OA at all sorts of opportunities with peers, friends and others outside academia.
I tweet about OA when I can.

Can Open Access have a positive effect on research careers?

I am really convinced that OA can have a positive effect on research careers. OA can also provide for more efficient research.

“Reduce the time in summarising information from months to perhaps weeks.”

I am specifically referring to fields where essential empirical data can be extracted from articles to better understand the research problem, e.g. in the waste water research area. Here, OA-published articles can be harvested using text and data-mining software to effectively reduce the time in summarising information from months to perhaps weeks. It is this, in my view that is really one of the best benefits that Open Access can provide to researchers.


What can scholars and/or administration do to promote openness to research?

It is important to create an open environment within departments, faculties and universities as a whole for discussions on openness to be effective. It is only in such environments where collaboration and sharing between colleagues is the norm that OA policy can be effectively implemented.

What are the main challenges for more Open Access, in your opinion?

In my opinion, key obstacles lie in the lack of a national Open Access policy and the need for reviewing and modifying the Czech National R&D Evaluation Policy and Criteria (or in Czech), to a certain extent.

“See Open Access as a pillar of a modern Information Society.”

In the Czech Republic, the infrastructure is ready, but some form of official statement from the government on the topic is still missing. For this reason, many researchers have the perception that Open Access is merely yet another extra administrative task to add to their already busy schedules. The challenge here is to change their opinion, and for them to see Open Access as a pillar of a modern Information Society. I do see strong potential in OA take-up, however, amongst new, young Ph.D. students or researchers, like myself, as they are open to new ideas.


What still needs to be done to provide more Open Access to research?

In the Czech Republic, we need a national policy statement about Open Access. Furthermore, we need to further develop the soft infrastructure, e.g. education in copyright law for researchers, or education in more user experience design for repository management staff.
In the OA community we need more insight into the diverse needs of researchers from different fields to be able to successfully meet their expectations in the new software or services that service institutions provide. In fact, I think that the dialogue about OA is generally held between librarians, policy makers and publishers, rather than with researchers, and hardly ever with the readers of OA articles outside academia and the research community. This needs to change.

Copyright: Jan Skupa, Brno University of Technology University. Creative Commons CC-BY Licence.

Tags: Creative Commons, Master, OA policy, OA policy development, Open Access, PhD, TDM, advocacy, benefits, career development, collaboration, copyright, discourse, discussion, editor, education, efficiency, evaluation policy, ideas, implementation, information society, infrastructure, metrics, national, national policy, obstacles, open environment, openness, peers, publishing models, research assessment, research data, research evaluation, services, sharing, software, text and data mining, time, tool development, tools, user experience design, visualisation

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