At the VPL "Speak Up: Who Owns Knowledge?" Series session called "Open or Closed: Software and Information", held at the Hastings Branch last night (and which I attended), UBC Professor and Distinguished Scholar John Willinsky spoke,among other things, about the importance and advantages of open access for the public. An engaging and entertaining speaker, and of course, a well-recognized authority and expert on this topic, John summarized open access as "your right to know, particularly about research." John said he hoped to instill in the audience a "sense of entitlement and expectation." When asked what he recommends as ways to convince authors to publish OA, he said we (librarians) can appeal to authors on these 4 grounds:
1. Economically -- with OA we can distribute information much more cheaply
2. Legally -- copyright protects the author
3. Ethically -- OA fits with the human right to know
4. Vanity -- "It will make their mother prouder if more people know about their research!"
If you have an opportunity to hear John Willinsky speak about open access, take it!