. . . opening access to research  

Haiku for "The Spirit of Open Access"

Introduction | The Winning Haiku | Highly Recommended | The Competition


In the build up to Open Access Week 2009, SHERPA launched a global competition for a Haiku which summarised "The Spirit of Open Access".

We were delighted with the response - well over 100 entries from around the world. Our thanks go to all that entered! We very much enjoyed reading through these, which varied from the witty, through the descriptive, to the quite strange. Our thanks also to those who sent left-field entries not for competititon, but for the fun of it.

All of the entries were invited under a CC by-nc-sa licence, so do feel free to use any of the Haiku below, with attribution and in line with the licence, in any advocacy work that you do.

All of the entries were read and considered in a blind judgement by the SHERPA Team at the Centre for Research Communications at the University of Nottingham.

The Winning Haiku

Many congratulations to Miggie Pickton, of the University of Northampton, for her winning entry -


Set your research free
As flowers offer nectar
To the passing bee

Miggie Pickton, University of Northampton, UK

Miggie will be getting a Winners Certificate from us and a SHERPA goody bag. We hope that the Haiku will amuse and inspire others!

Highly Recommended

In addition there were many runners-up! The standard of entries was very high: here are some which particularly appealed to us - in no particular order:

Like birds, authors' rights
fly away from their control
never to return

Nancy Stimson, University of California, San Diego

A candle under
a bushel is wasted light
try open access

Rob Szarka,

Empowerment comes
To those who share their knowledge
With the world beyond

Allison Brown, University of Otago, New Zealand


Enlightenment is
The addition of full text
To metadata

Neil Stewart, LSE, UK

Opening access
connected and well-informed
research moves forward

Jon Mason, InterCog


The locked door opens
And brilliant autumn sunlight
Pours into the room.

Padraig Manning, HSE Ireland

Subscriptional woes -
A winter of discontent.
If research were free!

Lisa Martin, BioMedCentral


Oh! This article!
I don't have to pay for it!
That's incredible!

Lisa Martin, BioMedCentral

Stuffy old journals -
Away with your subscriptions!
Open Access Rules!

Lisa Martin, BioMedCentral


Golden sunlit leaves
Of open access pages
Shimmer into view

Dr Nicky Cashman, Aberystwyth University

Help barriers fall
Repositories blossom
An open age dawns

Jessie and Tony Hey, University of Southampton and Microsoft Research


Hard discoveries
Should not perish, closed, within
a domain price-locked.

Hélène LeBlanc, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada

OA is worldwide
bringing scholars together
and spreading their words

Nancy Stimson, University of California, San Diego


Publicly financed
Publicly accessible
Open Access please

Sally Curry, RIN, UK



In the autumn rains
open access means no trudge
to the library

Kate Hodgson, University of Saskatchewan, Canada


The Competition, October 2009 - (now closed)

Original Invitation for Submissions
We all know the definitions or descriptions of Open Access given in the Berlin/Bethesda/Budapest texts: likewise we have all heard and used other definitions of Open Access veering from the tersely functional to the wordily inspirational. But what about poetic? This has been an under-used side of advocacy! What we would like to hear is what colleagues think is the spirit of Open Access - as a haiku!

To coincide with the activities taking place during Open Access Week, it is with great pleasure that SHERPA announces the launch of a light-hearted global competition to write a 'Haiku' on "The Spirit of Open Access".

Entrants should seek to sum up open access using the haiku form, or at least its modern English version: three lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables respectively that encapsulate a mood, feeling, insight or poetic summary of the subject. The traditional reference to a season would be an elegant, but optional, inclusion. Entries can be inspirational, reflective, humourous or plain wierd!

This is a competition for a haiku as an encapsulation of open access. Limericks, couplets, sonnets and sagas will also be read by us with pleasure and may get a special mention, but its a haiku that will get the prize! :-)

Entries, in English, should be emailed to and the closing date is *BEFORE* Open Access week, on 5pm GMT on Friday 16th October 2009.

Anyone may enter, and the winning entry will be picked as the most fitting by the SHERPA Core Team and its Directors, whose decision is final. The winning entry will be announced during Open Access week. The winner will receive a modest award, as well as a SHERPA 'goody bag' and, I am sure, the applause of their peers :-)

The winning entry and other entries will be publicised during Open Access week and likely used by colleagues in advocacy during the week and in the future, so, need we mention, entries should be submitted as Open Access - a CC by-nc-sa licence please!


This work is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND. About using our content Contact us