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What makes a good champion?

This page lists what SPARC Europe member library staff who have been involved in the Europe’s Open Access Champions project believe are some of the things behind what has made their champions go beyond what they could have done in the area of Open Access.

What makes a good champion? What are his/her beliefs, skills, abilities and characteristics? Our partners tell you here.

A good champion is

  • someone who understands what Open Access / Open Science is both as a reader and a publisher,
  • an established researcher helps,
  • often a researcher who convinces his/her peers of OA,
  • a person who advocates the concepts of Open Access (and Open Science) in their local research communities,
  • an OA expert and contact person,
  • a pioneer in open thinking,
  • enthusiastic and interested in things “new”
  • and convinced that OA is the better way for scientific communication.

A good champion believes

  • in the importance of the Open Access cause,
  • in spreading the Open Access message,
  • in the benefits of sharing their scholarly outputs openly with others,
  • in the impact of value in all research outputs, and not just in journals – perhaps even valuing papers higher than journal articles.

A good champion sets an example

  • by having a strong publication list and publishing his/her work Open Access where possible,
  • by seeing Open Access as a normal part of his/her daily work
  • and by depositing his/her work in the institutional repository.

A good champion has

  • the ability to navigate the complex discussion on Open Access and scholarly communication with clarity,
  • the desire to promote Open Access within the institution and help others promote it,
  • the drive to push for the institution to embed Open Access,
  • the ability to discern facts from myths,
  • the courage to go against the establishment,
  • the skill to be able to talk as equals with a range of researchers, managers or administrators from junior to senior / positive to hostile,
  • the ability to discuss an emotive topic,
  • has a clearly defined researcher profile (ORCID).

A good champions acts by

  • openly sharing his/her experiences with others,
  • engaging in discourse and debate,
  • keeping others involved and on track,
  • engaging and supporting reliable peers to relay political action on the ground,
  • consistently advocating for unrestricted access to knowledge,
  • promoting the idea that being more open will make openness easier for everyone,
  • working on several levels to make headway: as a researcher, as a university president, or collectively to mobilise the institution, as well as an individual,
  • strengthening the idea of OA within the community of young researchers, supporting them in adopting Open Access and helping them integrate OA practices in their daily workflows,
  • recognising the important role that libraries can have in promoting Open Access and taking action to provide them with active roles, e.g. managing institutional repositories,
  • not considering journal-based metrics in hiring, promotion or funding decisions.


Click here to read more about how to get champions involved or how to get keep your champions engaged and informed or  .


What other characteristics make a good champion? Please share your thoughts in the box below.

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