01 Oct 2007

Free research resource launched

With the cost of journals rising and a drive to make information accessible to everyone, The Open University is making its research available free of charge through the Open Research Online initiative, which was officially launched last Thursday (27 September).

More than 181,000 people worldwide have already taken advantage of the online information bank and logged on to download published research by OU academics. With research posted ranging from “The Anti Zombie Argument” to “Geometry in Cambridge 1863-1940”, the content reflects the wide-ranging research interests of the University’s staff.

Posting articles that are normally only available via paid-for journals, Open Research Online is opening up information to everyone and so far people from over 150 countries, including Nepal, Madagascar and Papua New Guinea, have accessed the information free of charge. It is the third largest University online Institutional Repository in the UK.

One geophysics researcher from South Africa said: “Thank you for making your papers available on your University web site, it has made it so much easier for me. My University hasn’t subscribed to that journal and I would have had to pay.”

Nicky Whitsed, Director of Library Services, said: “The Open Research Online initiative takes down the barriers that funding creates and truly opens up research to a global audience, progressing the University’s mission to make educational resources available to everyone. Running in parallel to Open Research Online is our OpenLearn initiative, which has made thousands of hours of teaching materials available online for free. Both of these innovative projects help us reach students and academics around the world, particularly in developing countries, and enable them to progress their own research and learning.”

Open Research Online was launched at an event on Thursday 27 September by Prof. Brigid Heywood, who presented the authors of the 5,000th piece of research posted online with a commemorative award.

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