Open for Whom? Prompting Ourselves to Center Equity Year-Round

As Open Access Week begins to come to a close, we’ve been heartened to see so many productive discussions engaging with this year’s theme of “Open for Whom? Equity in Open Knowledge.” From numerous panels, presentations, and events to the publication of an entire book exploring the intersection of equity and openness (Contextualizing Openness: Situating Open Science), the conversations from this week are an important step toward ensuring we reach a future where knowledge isn’t just open but where participation is open to all in a way that builds equity into the foundation of our systems for creating and sharing knowledge.

But, these conversations can’t be limited to just this week. They must be ongoing. These questions of equity and inclusion are ones we should be asking ourselves every day and about every facet of our work.

To encourage sustained conversations after Open Access Week, we are planning to build a simple tool that will cycle through prompts that ask individuals to consider and reflect on different aspects of what it means to prioritize equity in open knowledge. We plan to model this resource on Empathy Prompts by Eric W. Bailey.

We need your help! We originally planned to launch this tool ahead of Open Access Week, but ultimately decided that inviting the community to create these prompts collaboratively would be the best way to ensure this resource reflects the full diversity of issues our communities must address to become equitable by default.


Image description: a draft prompt asking you to review journal editorial boards for global representation.

We’ve created a form at openforwhom.org to collect your ideas for the text of prompts (or ideas for issues to cover, if you aren’t quite sure how to translate that into a prompt), and as we’re synthesizing these contributions, we’ll share draft prompts in the document here for feedback. Once we have a list of prompts for the site, we’ll work with the community to ensure the resource is available in a variety of languages. 

We hope these “Open for whom?” prompts will be a useful resource for the community to continue these critical discussions beyond this week and keep in mind that it’s not enough to simply focus on whether we reach a fully open access system of sharing knowledge—we also have to consider how we get there.

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