Summer of Student Innovation: The Open Access Button

This summer, thanks to a Jisc Grant, the Open Access Button Team is hard at work on the next Open Access Button. The Open Access Button is a quick and easy way to keep track of paywalls you encounter whilst you’re doing research. With your help we’ve mapped over 8,000 paywalls, an effort that’s helped to stress why barriers to research are bad for everyone.

One of the great things about the Open Access Button team is that it’s made up primarily of students. Button Co-Leads David Carroll and Joe McArthur got this project started because they didn’t want to wait around for someone else to tackle these problems head-on. They’ve managed to assemble an impressive group of young scholars from around the world, people working in a variety of fields. We all share a common interest in making research more accessible, which is why so many of us have pitched in to help improve the button’s technology, raise funds to make the project better, and spread the word on the value of this project.

We’ve recently expanded our Communications Team, and you can learn more about them and the rest of our group here. Our plans for the Open Access Button involve keeping students and their needs at the center of these conversations. If you can think of ways to better help us address these needs, please let us know.

The next Open Access Button aims to make it easier for people to get access to the research they need. We’re going to make the button more user-friendly, and we’re going to continue our public outreach efforts so the world knows the importance of open access research. We’re also excited about developing a mobile Open Access Button app, ensuring that people can track paywalls on the go.

Overall, it’s an exciting time here for the Open Access Button team, and we’re happy that Jisc is helping us live up to our ambitious plans for the next Open Access Button. We’ll keep you posted on our summer progress here. Check back here for news about the wider world of open access research: we publish a “Week In Links” post every Friday, for instance. And you can easily find us on Twitter (@OA_Button): we’re not shy.