Open Access Week 2021

Happy Open Access Week!

A logo for Internatiional Open Access Week 2021 with the caption "It Matters How We Open Knowledge: Building Structural Equity"

Each year during the last week of October scholars, schools, individuals, and organizations bring awareness to the importance of making scholarly information free of charge, free of copyright restrictions, and easy to access by anyone. Learn more about open access by reading Peter Suber’s “A Very Brief Introduction to Open Access.” Open Access Week is intended to address challenges faced when scholars and publishers seal information away behind paywalls or affiliations. Open access (OA) is more than a method of publishing scholarship, it is also a way of thinking about and a framework for how scholarly publication should ideally be generated. It is the goal of OA supporters that all scholarly work be freely available in some form.

Each year the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) selects a theme on which to focus; this year’s theme is “It Matters How We Open Knowledge: Building Structural Equity.” Too often, voices are left out of critical conversations in scholarship. Simply, anyone without access to the internet has a more difficult time participating in open access than those of us privileged with internet access. Similar to last year’s theme, “Open with Purpose: Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and Inclusion,” this year focuses on addressing the inequality faced by knowledge creators outside traditional academia. You can read more on the official Open Access Week blog post. As we move toward the goal of making all scholarly work openly accessible in some form, there is a critical need to ensure that people who are traditionally marginalized are included (in meaningful ways) in the implementation of this goal. Open access means nothing if it isn’t open for everyone.

The DePaul University Library supports open access by maintaining the university’s institutional repository, Via Sapientiae. On Via, you can find open access resources created by DePaul faculty, staff, students, colleges, schools, departments, programs, and institutes including the following:

DePaul Journal for Social Justice, published by the DePaul University College of Law, includes articles that range from discussing the treatment of transgender women in prison, to racism and police violence in Chicago, to the effect of race on the law school experience, and more.” 

Stories of Immigration, published by DePaul’s Center for Access and Attainment. This collection explores issues of immigration, migration, and education through oral history. The participants, mostly first generation international college-bound students, interviewed their parents about what it was like to move from a different country.

Articles and theses written by members of the DePaul community in Via include: “The Telling is Political & Intentional: Resistance Through Testimonio for Latinas in Higher Education” by Fabiola Rosiles, “Organizational Barriers to Inclusion: Perspectives from the Recreation Professional” by Dan K. Hibbler, and “Understanding Empowerment, Informal Education, and Access to Decision-Making in a Community Organization” by Maurya Delaney.

If you’re interested in learning more about open access, we encourage you to visit the DePaul University Library’s open access guide available at

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