The idea for an Open Access Academy (OAA) was conceived during the summer of 2014. The first discussions about this idea were between Slobodan Radicev, PhD candidate, an early career researchers from the University of Novi Sad, and Nick Shockey, Director of the Right to Research Coalition (R2RC). As an early career researcher, Slobodan was regularly receiving emails from publishing companies promoting free trainings and webinars about publishing in their journals. The trainings and webinars offered were well organized and attractive, but missing one important component: Open Access publishing. Most training, webinars and resources provided didn’t mention Open Access, and if it was mentioned, it wasn’t in a positive manner, usually connecting OA publishing with high Author Processing Fees (APC). We felt this was a misrepresentation of Open Access, and we wanted help change that.
Through this realization that there was a lack of available information about Open Access, the idea of making the online portal where students and early career researchers could find all necessary information about Open Access Publishing was born. After a few months of discussion among colleagues at the R2RC, and after our work on the OpenCon 2014 conference together with Prateek Mahalwar from the Max Planck Institute, we started to build the Open Access Academy (OAA), which has the mission to “provide resources, support and advice for students and early career researchers in their journey from writing to publishing their scientific papers.”
In January 2015, we made a first draft of the OAA portal and started uploading OA resources of interest for students and early career researchers. During February 2015, Slobodan and Prateek together with colleagues Tom Pollard and Meredith Niles created a survey that collected information about awareness of Open Access among students and early stage researchers. We surveyed more than 1000 students and young researchers. The survey highlighted that the most of them know very little about scientific research publishing and even less know about Open Access publishing.