This year our usual practices of celebrating the Open Access Week at Kaunas University of Technology in Kaunas, Lithuania, took a different turn: in addition to promoting the OpenAIRE webinars, the initiative of setting up an escape room was brought to life.
Rasa Dovidonytė, Senior Information Manager at KTU Library, followed the instructions by Katrine Sundsbø, the Scholarly Communications and Research Support Manager at the University of Essex, on how to set up the Open Access Escape Room (https://figshare.com/projects/Open_Access_Escape_Room/56915).
The initiative was a success: 14 teams of bachelor, masters and PhD students, also researchers from different faculties and research administrators – 60 participants in total – embraced the challenge of escaping the Escape Room during the Open Access Week.
The activity was an opportunity for the participants to reflect on the importance of open access not only to publications but also research data. Their positive feedback is recorded in their smiles after they managed to escape.
Right after the Open Access Week we hosted two more conventional events for promoting Open Science: Focus on Open Science Chapter XX on 29 October and a workshop on research management support on 30 October that also attracted a lot of attention but Rasa still receives enquiries about the possibility to visit the Escape Room. Unfortunately, we cannot keep the Room ready for visiting on a permanent basis, as the space is popular as a group work room among our library visitors. We have already considered the need to set the Escape Room up more often and supplement the activity with longer follow-up discussions on the real-life challenges of Open Science with the participants over a cup of tea.
For us this encouraging experience was another opportunity to find out that small, playful steps can make a difference on the way to Open Science in the academia and a game can really be an effective way of reaching out.