is open access for rich countries? invitation to a discussion

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Paola Di Maio

Nov 22, 2012, 9:42:44 AM11/22/12
Greetings WOICTinglings
hope all is well in beloved Asia and to be back there soon ;-)

You may be interested in spreading the word about this interesting debate

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

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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