Author: Katrine Sundsbø
Open access (OA) has had, and will continue to have, a significant effect on the scholarly publishing landscape in academia, yet many academic staff publish OA in order to comply with policies, rather than engaging with the value of open scholarship and in debates that ultimately affect them.
Training sessions and workshops are often arranged to increase knowledge and awareness in the academic community, but engagement is often low. On the other hand, some academic staff, who already do engage, will happily attend sessions and workshops to increase their knowledge even further.
The struggle to increase OA engagement overall could be due to the training not being appealing enough, and academics not being aware of benefits until after they have attended workshops.
At the University of Essex, we took a bold, brave and curious approach to increasing engagement during Open Access Week 2018, and created an OA-themed escape room.
This resulted in great engagement from students, academic staff and professional services staff, some of whom reported that they never knew how relevant OA was for them. The Open Access Escape Room was a success, and provided a positive environment for conversations around OA.