How open access to research can strategically benefit African universities

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Eve Gray, Honorary Research Associate, Centre for Educational Technology, Associate, Intellectual Property Law and Policy Research Unit, University of Cape Town and Michelle Willmers, Programme Manager, Scholarly Communications in Africa Programme speaking at Open Access Africa 2010

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How open access to research can strategically benefit African universities

  1. 1. How Open Access can strategically benefit African Universities Paper presented at the Biomed Central Open Access in Africa Conference Kenyatta University, Nairobi 10-11 November 2010
  2. 2. How Open Access can strategically benefit African Universities Eve Gray Centre for Educational Technology University of Cape Town
  3. 3. The view of a publisher
  4. 4. ... from Africa...
  5. 5. Some rights reserved by spinning jenny
  6. 6. In essence, what is being defined as ‘knowledge society’ means two different things to the developed world and the African continent.The former are the producers and the latter are the consumers of knowledge, which seriously undermines the fostering of the multicultural nature of Higher Education, as virtually all partnerships are one-sided.This is not only negative for the African continent, but it also deprives global higher education of access to the indigenous knowledge of Africa, and it deprives Africans of the opportunity to develop their indigenous knowledge system and strengthen their relationship to western and eastern knowledge systems. Blade Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education and Training, South Africa
  7. 7. ʻHow could the application of knowledge end poverty and hunger in Africa? How could higher education empower women and promote gender equity? How can knowledge be considered in the African context to address child mortality and improve maternal health?ʼ Nahas Angula, Namibian Prime Minister, UNESCO 29th Conference on Higher Education, 2009
  8. 8. Science Research http://www.worldmapper.org 2006 SASI Group (University of Sheffield) and Mark Newman (University of Michigan).
  9. 9. Is the problem what is being produced, or what is being measured?
  10. 10. We measure impact factors and citations in a highly competitive and exclusionary system
  11. 11. ..and pay less attention to the publications that emerge from development- focused research
  12. 12. It is not that our policy- makers do not see the problem...
  13. 13. Blade Nzimande, UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education 2009 Our universities, in particular, should be directing their research focus to address the development and social needs of our communities. The impact of their research should be measured by how much difference it makes to the needs of our communities, rather than by just how many international citations researchers receive in their publications.
  14. 14. But we are stuck in a free rider mentality...
  15. 15. in which higher education does not see publication as its responsibility.
  16. 16. The result is tunnel vision
  17. 17. http://www.flickr.com/photos/adactio/ CC attribution licence
  18. 18. which ignores all but a small segment of the publishing ecosystem..
  19. 19. the formal publishing that does not work very well for us...
  20. 20. Open access is an answer
  21. 21. Text • Builds on collaboration and a tradition of collegiality • Depends upon sharing rather than proprietorship, access rather than protection • Efficiencies and economies of collaborative development • Networked rather than hierarchical structures The ethos of OA
  22. 22. overcoming distribution and access barriers
  23. 23. and working across the whole ecosystem
  24. 24. Commercial publishing - journals
  25. 25. offers citation impact, global prestige, access, reach...
  26. 26. and freedom to reuse content for ‘translation’ of research...
  27. 27. Text Books
  28. 28. Cooperative publishing platforms
  29. 29. help reduce the South to North knowledge gap
  30. 30. South African national open access initiative
  31. 31. and building the quality and accessibility of national journals...
  32. 32. Repositories profile the whole range of scholarship
  33. 33. African research centres produce research that addresses vital development needs
  34. 34. and release their communications for open access.
  35. 35. The question is how to build a scholarly communication policy environment that addresses the whole ecosystem.
  36. 36. Eve Gray Honorary Research Associate Centre for Educational Technology University of Cape Town http://www.gray-area.co.za http://www.http://www.sca2kafrica.org/ http://www.cet.uct.ac.za

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