[open-bibliography] is open access only for rich countries? invitation to a discussion

sumandro mail at ajantriks.net
Thu Nov 22 12:11:02 UTC 2012

Participate now in an online dialogue on open access and the developing 

You are invited to take part in an online discussion on Open Access (OA) 
from the perspective of the developing world.

Funded by DFID, through the Mobilising Knowledge for Development (MK4D) 
programme in the Institute for Development Studies at Sussex University, 
and managed through the African Commons project in South Africa and the 
Centre for Internet and Society in India, the discussion will be hosted 
on UNESCO’s WSIS Open Access Community Forum. This open access dialogue 
will provide a valuable space to discuss different perspectives on what 
open access means for the developing world and what it can offer.

There is compelling evidence which indicates that OA has finally entered 
mainstream discourse. Yet, in the developing world context there remain 
specific challenges and untapped opportunities for OA. A series of open 
access discussions aimed at developing world critical thinkers, 
activists and academics, seeks to explore insights and articulate 
opinion on OA in the developing world.  Join us for stimulating debate!

Register here: 

Setting the context

Open access has enjoyed a great deal of acceptance and growth over the 
last decade, with a particularly strong spurt in the adoption of open 
access policies by major agencies and governments in the last 12 months. 
With open access policies and initiatives now being taken up by UNESCO, 
the World Bank, the FAO, the European Commission, and the governments of 
the United Kingdom and the United States, among others, it is clear that 
open access has entered the global mainstream. These policies stress the 
human rights potential of open access in providing access to scientific 
and cultural knowledge, ensuring its impact and ensuring public access 
to publicly funded research.

We now know that open access can work in the immediate and short term in 
providing better access to the research literature, whilst some of the 
longer term consequences and effects are still emerging. This is 
especially so in the developing world, which has been badly served by 
the publishing system we have inherited from the 20th century, which has 
marginalized research from developing countries. New opportunities and 
possibilities are created by open access, and, at the same time certain 
pitfalls need to be noted and avoided.

A foundational report prepared to inform this dialogue shows the risks 
posed to all scholarly communications, discourse and practices by the 
publish-or-perish system, and indicates that in the developing world, 
the detriments are potentially much deeper and more damaging.  As 
researchers are incentivised to publish in overseas-based journals - 
mostly unavailable in many developing world contexts - this research 
‘brain-drain’ risks widening the gap between research and policy [1].

Read more here

Get discussing!

The first debate will kick off on Tuesday, 27 November 2012.

A general topic will be complemented by two sub discussions.  The 
discussion will be hosted on the WSIS Knowledge Platform's Open Access 
group. To take part you will be required to register on the platform.

KEY TOPIC: Production, publication and consumption of scholarly 
knowledge and OA.

This will focus on the greater concern of scholarly research in the 
developing country context debating the questions: What does OA imply 
and offer the developing world in terms of production, publication and 
consumption of academic materials and research activities? What are the 
specific challenges and opportunities for access to knowledge in 
developing countries?

Within this topic the following sub-themes will be introduced:

Sub-theme 1: Considering the issues of 'translation' of research for 
development impact; co-production and increasing access to academic 
materials; and the importance of OA in producing and sharing of 
non-state-supported educational materials; and

Sub-theme 2: OA in academia and the search for global prestige; the 
perverse impact of metrics and rankings; scholarly knowledge production; 
and sharing and consumption challenges in developing countries.

We will keep you posted about the second debate which will take place 
early in January 2013.

In the meantime you are also encouraged to tweet about the discussions 
using hashtag #developoa or follow the debates on Facebook here 




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