OAA12 - Open access in Africa: Some issues and questions.
Open Access in Africa – Some Issues and Questions Open Access Africa, 2012 04 - 05 November 2012University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa. Omonhinmin A. Conrad Ph.D Co-ordinating, Open Access Nigeria Department of Biological Sciences, College of Science & Technology, Covenant University, Ota, NIGERIA. firstname.lastname@example.org
Open Access - A Recast …to eliminate access barriers to scientific literature, accelerate research, enrich education, share knowledge between the rich and the poor and make useful knowledge available for common intellectual good1
OutlookIssues and questions raised here not exhaustive, but practical and fundamentalTo instigate answers to our basic questionsTo help drive open access in the right path in AfricaPersonal and general questions for all
So before we forget… We may leap frog to the open, but the bushes (behind) are not cleared
Poor funding Them African researchers face several fund- centred challenges We
Are there funds for OA in the Africa context?Should funding OA project/programme be the target or general research funding?How do we achieve improved funding?How do we ensure the end-users actually engage these funds?How do we use the existing funds better?
Inaccessibility and poor dissemination of Information What truly is access? How Open is this access to us in Africa? Are the means there to achieve accessibility? Does availability implies accessibility? How do we improve accessibility by Africans? How many are aware of OA What are in place to ensure good level of awareness? .....
Inaction on relevant information ...lack of motivation to act on relevant information either for personal or general interest of all ...grown with years of inability to participate on most platforms ...unsettling attitude of waiting on others for handouts ...lack of understanding of OA
How do we motivate the African researcher positively? What mean should we adopt?
Poor Understanding of Open Access Issues Probably most revealing is the fact that the African researcher may not really understand the open access issue; what it entails and where it will eventually lead ....does open access publishing translate into free publishing, free access to published materials? ...Is it both or either?
….most governments again in Africa do not seem to have grasped the open access concepts. …Local, regional, and trans-regional politicians and policy makers are yet to embrace open access…In Nigeria for example, the National Universities Commission (NUC), have an open access policy tutored for the universities, yet only four schools in Nigeria are visible in the global open access platform.
How do we get our Governments and institutions to embrace OA in a productive way?How do we foster cross-border relationship at various levels to promote OA in Africa?
Poor Commitment by Publishers and Institutions How committed are the players in open access arena? Do institutions see OA as a platform for improving the research base and information access of their researchers or another route to high scores?
Do OA publishers mean and do what they say? What does open access really mean to the publishers? What are the big and rich journals’ doing to ensure OA success or failure?
African Journals, African Researcher How will OA affect African Journals? If the visibility of the poorer journals in Africa already starved of fund decreases, will it not mean a closure for such journals? Will it not escalate an already worrisome dependency on non-African journals by African?
What does this mean for the African researcher? Will it translate to improve publications, and access? Will open access ever truly translate to free or reduced publishing/subscription cost, which is the Africa researcher’s main concern.if an author cannot pay the APCs demanded by OA journals, how contributory productive can he be?
Directory of Open Access Journals Does the number of journals on the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) actually reflect the level of FREE and OPEN access? Has the open access movement truly improve the publishing condition and access of the African researcher? How practicable is the author pays model of open access and how realistic is the standard author fees demanded by most open access journals.
International – Local Journal Complex, ImpactFactor, Webometric Rating ...the divide between what we refer to international and local Journals or rich and poor journals bring another issue on the board and a great challenge to actualizing the open access ideals.
Will OA not widen the international-local journal divide?Will this not further impoverish the local journals by starving them of quality submissions?With OA becoming a major index in impact factor and webometric ranking, how will African journals and institutions catch up?
Concluding thoughts What concrete actions are there by African governments to handle the open access issues? If our coming to South Africa is anything to go by, we a lot need to be done How does BMC circumvent the unrealistic World Bank ranking with regards to her “Foundational membership” offer to institutions in Africa?
What is the African OA agenda?How do we go from this conference with concrete ways of improving open access interactions?How committed is everyone present here to the OA goals?