Best. Conference. Ever!

I’ve written more than once about the fact that most research isn’t accessible to the majority of people on Earth. It sucks. About 80% of research is funded by the public, and only about 20% is accessible.

Well, last weekend I was able to go and learn a whole lot more about this whole ‘Open’ business/approach/revolution/whatever-you-want-to-call-it. Thanks to support from CARL, I was able to attend OpenCon 2014 in Washington DC, a conference on Open Access, Open Data, and Open Educational Resources. I shot a lot of footage while I was there, so I intend to make those categories clear with a video link as soon as I’ve edited that.

In the meantime, you can take a look at my notes – which I’ve posted as a google doc – and get a bit of a sense of what people were talking about. You can also search twitter for #OpenCon2014, if you have the patience to go through some thousands of excited tweets.

Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 8.36.52 PM

We were about 175 early career researchers from 40 countries, brought together to learn about and advocate for openness in academia. We had some incredible talks on the schedule, and we even spent a day meeting with staff members and elected officials of congress and advocating for change. Thanks again to everyone who made this conference happen!

Academia has a long way to go to be open, but this conference was more than a little encouraging. Things are changing fast, and the push for Open is gaining real momentum.

There were many things that set this conference apart from any other I have been to, and I think the general reason became clear to me right in the closing speeches. Mike Carroll of Creative Commons referred to the attendees as ‘OpenCon 2014 Alumni’, and at first I thought this sounded like an awkward and pretentious thing to say, but then it hit me: this conference was much more like a short-course than any other conference I’ve been to. This was certainly one of the differences that made it so particularly delectable.

When they post the videos from the conference, I’ll be sure to scoot back here and post the link, so that everyone will have access.