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Wilkommen to my blog - my name is Karin Purshouse, and I'm a doctor in the UK. If you're looking for ramblings on life as a junior doctor, my attempts to dual-moonlight as a scientist and balancing all that madness with a life, you've come to the right place. I'm currently a doctor/research trainee in oncology after spending a year doing research in the USA. All original content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Open Access is for Students

It's been a rainy summer in the UK so far, but the sun shone brightly over the Right to Research Coalition's General Assembly on Open Access.  Where better to assemble a group of students from all over the world than Budapest, the city where the Budapest Open Access Initiative was founded a decade ago.  It was a real treat to meet students from many disciplines, organisations (ranging from individual universities to international representative groups) and backgrounds (everything from grassroots like me to full time Open Access advocates).

Discussions with new friends and colleagues
I won't go into details here as I've written the meat and potatoes of what went on elsewhere, so for this, I'll focus on my personal impressions of the meeting.

First of all, it was great just to meet all these passionate people from different corners of the world.  NAGPS, ESTIEM, EFPSA, SPARC - please google these organisational acronyms to your heart's content, but they represent a diversity we rarely get to encounter in the medical world.  But for me, it was most useful to hear from individual universities, of which there were a couple there, to hear what they had done on the ground to promote OA, and the barriers they had overcome.  Main learning outcome: Go and make friends with your librarians!

It was also unique to have a discussion based conference, rather than presentation after presentation.  Far more engaging.

It takes tea to tango
And an interesting thing for me was exploring the subtle differences in culture and structures between our countries.  It sounds obvious but universities and higher education are not organised the same the world over, and nor are the methods in which we communicate on a micro level with each other, and on a macro level with bigger organisations.  Creativity, understanding and adaptation will be the name of the game to overcome these obstacles.

My enthusiasm for a swift blog entry is that I'm unlikely to have time after this weekend.  I am starting my first, proper job since the one I got aged 15 (and that was a weekend job.  In many ways, so is my new one, it's just that I have to work weekdays too).  I suspect my worst fears are being realised, and I'm growing up.  In all seriousness - an exciting but daunting week ahead for me personally, but where Open Access is concerned, lots of VERY COOL things happening the world over, and hopefully more things in the UK soon.

In the meantime, here's the PLoS blog from pre-conference - I hope it is clear that I think OA is for everyone, but post-conference-analysis tells me that students have a hell of a lot to bring to the table.