Open access movements in developing countries

September 16, 2008

Dr Buhle Mbambo-Thata, Executive Director from UNISA responds to questions raised at the conference about whether the benefits of open access are limited in developing countries. She stresses the importance of the open access movement for researchers in developing countries and argues that it can support greater access to local research. She talks about how institutions need to change and promote their own researchers work in-country rather than purchasing from elsewhere, and encourage researchers to publish in open access journals.

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Uncovering Open Access: seizing the moment and making it work for you – experiences from the ground

July 22, 2008

Led by: Martie van Deventer, Head of Information Services Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CISR) South Africa

There is extensive coverage and discussion in various disciplines and the literature regarding open access. The open access movement is supported and advanced by a wide range of interest goups and activities such as national and international organisations, the academic community, governments and publishers. While open access is gaining strength and popularity as the new model for dissemination of information, there are still many unresolved issues particularly in its application. This session covered challenges and rewards in this area and focuses particularly on the implementation of Institutional Repositories and the development of publishing models.

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The changing world of research communication

July 21, 2008

This session examined what is changing in the world of research communication from the perspective of people working in information and communication roles and at the supply end of research. The panelists spoke about some of the big changes in their areas of work that they thought would change the way they improve policy implementation.

Buhle Mbambo-Thata from eIFL spoke about how the open access movement was gaining momentum. Progress is being made internationally to make research articles in all academic fields freely available on the Internet. Usually a Google search’s first three results will be from open access repositories. Whether this is through self-archiving or open access, it has been shown that the availability of information promotes access to information. However, some authors can’t afford or pay the fees. There needs to be a change in mindset – does an organizations assets lie in purchasing journals or making research available in open access journals? The ASSAf academy is still investigating the issue of open access and looking at what kind of model will work for South Africa. They are currently looking at shifting from pay to use to free to use. We need to ascertain that we have good quality publications in open access. Policies are needed to provide protection, encouragement and guidelines in which people can operate.

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