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Five Facts: Open Access At UWC

Author: Nicklaus Kruger

Open Access: sharing your work with the rest of the world, so that anybody anywhere can read it, learn from it, critique it, and build on it. Here's how that works at UWC...

Five Things You Didn’t Know: Open Access At UWC - Knowledge For All

What makes science – and the humanities, and philosophy, and academia in general – special is the way researchers build on the knowledge of others. By sharing and testing ideas – Newton building on Galileo building on Copernicus building on Aristotle, and so on – humanity has done great things. Many wonders can be attributed to the power of collaboration, and many challenges (climate change, food security, looming water shortages) are just too big for any single researcher to tackle.

But that collaboration is only possible if researchers have access to the research findings of others – access that isn't blocked by restricted access to academic journals that may be too expensive, too obscure or too sensitive for a particular researcher, institution or nation.

That's why UWC celebrates open access achieved through deposit of peer-reviewed research papers in repositories or through publication in open access journals – ensuring that research is free for all to view and use, and that researchers in turn have their work read and discussed by many more people, and that the public can see where their funding goes – a win-win situation for lovers of knowledge everywhere.

So how does Open Access work at UWC? Well, here are a few things you may want to know...

1.     UWC Library hosts two open access digital repositories: the ETD Repository for student master's and doctoral theses (launched way back in 2005); and the Research Repository, where researchers can post their papers and rest assured that they're available to anybody in the world. Last year, the repository reached its 2000th paper, representing a whole lot of knowledge in a wide variety of fields made open to all..and it’s only growing every day.

2.     UWC Declared for Open Access: In October 2013, UWC signed the Berlin Declaration on Open Access in the Sciences and Humanities, joining hundreds of institutions around the world dedicated to supporting the principles of open access and working to achieve openness in publicly funded projects. Find out more about the Declaration here.

3.     UWC hosts Open Access Journals: Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning ( will publish scholarly articles and essays that describe, theorise and reflect on teaching and learning in higher education. The Journal of Student Affairs in Africa ( aims to be the foremost scholarly and professional journal dealing with the theory and practice of student affairs in Africa. And the student-run Writing Three Sixty (  journal welcomes creative writing, literary research and reviews...

4.    Social Media For Academics – UWC's How To: Of course, there's more to open access than just signatures, journals and repositories. OA is all about sharing, after all – and what better way to share than via social media (no, not Instagram and Pinterest...or at least, not just them). Don't have a ResearchGate account? Not sure how to use Confused about how Google Scholar operates, or how to measure your research impact? Not to worry: UWC Library has a handy guide just for you – download it now!

5.     Blogging Open Access: Still confused about open access? Want to know a bit more about what makes it so exciting? Interested in knowing more about UWC's open policies? Just visit the UWC Library Blog at and have a look around...

So...what are your thoughts on Open Access? Is there research you’d like to make open to all? And what are you doing for Open Access Week Open Access Week from 22 to 28 October 2018? Writing some papers? Let us know – sharing is caring, after all...

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