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Open Access

Strengthening Open Science Practices Together

During Open Access Week from 23 to 29 October 2023, a variety of events across Switzerland aimed at researchers and students will shine a light on open science. UZH is also taking part, with a poster exhibition in the Lichthof and a panel discussion with high-profile speakers.
Daniela Hahn, translation by Caitlin Stephens


At Open Access Week, UZH presents projects and initiatives that are committed to open science practices. (Image: International Open Access Week)

Open Access Week, held annually since 2008, provides a container in which to exchange experiences of open science practices and raise awareness of open access and related issues among researchers and institutions. The event was originally established by a partnership between the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition and students, and has now become a worldwide affair. With this year’s theme, “Community over Commercialization”, the organizers invite us to reflect on the economics of academic publishing and its incentive systems. At the heart of the event is a call for the academic community to work together to advocate for open, academic-led practices, i.e. non-commercial practices that are oriented around the needs of researchers and where control over data and publications remains in the hands of the scientific community.

Making initiatives visible

There are numerous academic-led projects, initiatives and journals at UZH, and they’ll be on display at the poster exhibition “Community-Led Open Scholarship” in the Lichthof during Open Access Week. The exhibition of all these projects together in one place showcases not just how diverse open science practices are in the different disciplines, but also how huge the significance of open science is for society. For example, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court Dataset provides a dataset of all 115,152 cases decided by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court since 2007, which can be used to analyze national case law. The generation of the dataset is fully automated and will be updated quarterly until at least 2025 with the latest judgments and possible expansions. The field of education also benefits from open science, as demonstrated by the project This platform, initiated jointly by the University of Zurich and the Zurich University of Teacher Education, provides specialist information as well as teaching and learning materials about landscape science in German and French.

Open access publishing from and for the community

UZH researchers from numerous disciplines are also involved as editors of academic-led journals, including in theology, communication studies, philosophy, social anthropology and linguistics. In addition to the academic-led journals, however, two open-access specialist publishers will also be presented at the poster exhibition: the open-access publisher EIZ Publishing, founded in 2019 at the Europa Institut at the University of Zurich, and sui generis Verlag, which has been publishing scholarly books in legal studies alongside the open-access journal of the same name, also since 2019. EIZ Publishing’s portfolio includes monographs, book series, dissertations and the journal Zeitschrift für Europarecht EuZ.

The poster exhibition in the Lichthof clearly demonstrates that the number of academic-led and non-commercial journals and publication projects in Switzerland is increasing. But although these ventures provide an important service to their academic communities, they do not yet have sustainable funding strategies, a national study has shown.

Sustainable funding

The panel discussion “Funding the Future of Open Access Transformation – But How?” is therefore dedicated to the topic of funding. The panel made up of Elisabeth Stark (Vice President Research at UZH), Andrea Malits (head of Open Science Services at the University Library Zurich), Torsten Hothorn (Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute at UZH) and Silke Fürst (Department of Communication and Media Research at UZH) will discuss vehicles and criteria for investment in a sustainable open-access landscape of the future.