Open Access Week 2019: Open for whom? Equity in Open Knowledge

This year the theme of the annual Open Access Week is ‘Open for whom? Equity in Open Knowledge’So, what is the University of Melbourne, a significant producer of knowledge doing about ensuring this knowledge is able to be read as widely as possible? Well, as it happens, there are significant activities happening, and the momentum is rising on the open question here. Last year, the Leiden Open Access Ranking names UoM as the number one university in Australia and 24th in the world for making research openly accessible in a repository. 

That repository is Minerva Access, established in 2001. It aims to collect, preserve, and showcase the intellectual output of staff and students of the University of Melbourne for a global audience.  

The work in Minerva Access collectively tells a story about the University’s scholarship, housing more than 12,000 theses written by University alumni, as well as other research publications including articles, book chapters and even creative works.  

Many of the works in Minerva Access are open access. A recent change to the way theses are collected, managed and preserved by the University has seen a marked increase in the proportion of theses that are made open access. This is important because theses represent a significant body of original research from UoM and are consistently very highly downloaded. This is evidenced by the fact that seven of the top ten most downloaded items in the repository (see below) are theses, ranging from an analysis of trees subject to wind loading, to an ethical defence of modern zoos. 

Minerva Access is indexed in Google, Google Scholar, the National Library of Australia’s Trove database, and other discovery tools. This means that items can be discovered and read easily by students, researchers, policy-makers, practitioners and others all over the world. Downloads of open access items from Minerva Access have exceeded 1 million so far in 2019. 

Minerva Access by the numbers 

  • 3,976 open access theses 
  • 10,817 open access research publications (journal articles, book chapters, reports etc.) 
  • 6,190,194 total downloads ever (as of October 24, 2019) 
  • 1,381,167 total downloads for 2019 (as of October 24, 2019)

Popular items in Minerva Access 

The ten most popular items reflect the wide range of research that is held in the repository and offers a mixture of information for practitioners, arguments for deep thought and historical perspectives. 

  1. The challenges of teaching physical education: juxtaposing the experiences of physical education teachers in Kenya and Victoria. Author: Michael N Wanyama. (67,300 downloads) Masters thesis 
  2. Letters from Aboriginal Women of Victoria, 1867-1926. Edited collection. (38,200 downloads) Book
  3. Beyond black and white: Aborigines, Asian-Australians and the national imaginary. Author: Peta Stephenson. (29,500 downloads) PhD Thesis
  4. The mechanics of tractor-implement performance: theory and worked examples: a textbook for students and engineers. Author: Ross MacMillan. (26,700 downloads) Textbook
  5. Constructing nurses’ professional identity. Author: Georgina Willetts & Anne Parkes (24,500 downloads) Doctorate thesis
  6. A dynamic structural analysis of trees subject to wind loading. Author: Kenneth Ronald James (23,400 downloads) PhD thesis
  7. In the mood for love: intersections of Hong Kong modernity. Author: Audrey Yue. (23,200 downloads) Book chapter
  8. An ethical defence of modern zoos. Author: Jennifer Helen Gray. (19,600 downloads) PhD Thesis 
  9. Dynamics of critical Internet culture (1994 – 2001). Author: Geert Willem Lovink.  (18,400 downloads) PhD Thesis
  10. Embedded: the Australian Red Cross in the Second World War. Author:  A Spear. (16,900 downloads) PhD Thesis

At the time of writing the most recent submission into the repository was an open access PhD thesis Non-pharmacological management of chronic pain in multiple sclerosis and rehabilitation outcomes” by Jamie Young. Congratulations on your recent PhD completion Dr Young! 

Browse Minerva Access here