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Open Access in South African Universities - Beyond journal articles


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A speech to Senate at Walter Sisulu University,
Butterworth. 24 October 2017

Published in: Education
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Open Access in South African Universities - Beyond journal articles

  1. 1. Open Access in South African Universities Walter Sisulu University Open Access Seminar 24 October 2017
  2. 2. Tony Carr CC-BY-NCTony
  3. 3. 2015 Turmoil in South African universities
  4. 4. #RhodesMustFall! #FeesMustFall! #Decolonise the University!
  5. 5. Blade Nzimande had long recognised that there was a problem...
  6. 6. But only in 2015 did the question of knowledge production and publication start to become a mainstream issue as a result of student action. why did it take so long?
  7. 7. #Decolonise the university… Students in talks and negotiations about the curriculum, African content, black identity… Steve Biko and Franz Fanon….. Photo Sami Ben Gharbia CC-BY2.0
  8. 8. In one of these discussions students asked the scholars they were talking to how, after obtaining a doctorate, one became a professor. The answer was … ‘you publish journal articles… lots of journal articles… in international journals…
  9. 9. Yet this relentless quest for publication in foreign journals, and the way in which this drives prestige and promotions in our universities has not been on the ‘decolonisation’ agenda.
  10. 10. Why is this so? AttributionNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by ayomide!
  11. 11. Scholarly journals are seen as sacrosanct – but is the current system really part of the 17th century ‘old tradition?
  12. 12. Transactions was more like our current networked science – a community engaged in discussion and discovery…
  13. 13. The current journal system in reality is in fact the product of the post World War II climate in Europe and in particular arose out of the recognition of the value of research in an increasingly technological society.
  14. 14. Robert Maxwell – media mogul, but also one of the main architects of post-war scientific publishing…
  15. 15. … landed up at the end of World War II working for British information services in British Occupied Germany, where Springer was in the British zone
  16. 16. Maxwell offered Springer UK distribution… he could make things happen, with his connections with the British …
  17. 17. … two years later he had a staff of 120… AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by 401(K) 2012
  18. 18. The UK government quietly, in the background, set up a national initiative to purchase German content and put in the hands of UK publishers, through Butterworth..
  19. 19. AttributionNoncommercial Some rights reserved by daniel.d.slee English would become the dominant language of science Politically?
  20. 20. Providing the essentials of a neo-colonial enterprise: the English language and British national interests were now at the dominant features of journal publishing
  21. 21. Eugene Garfield’s creation of metrics in 1955 to measure the impact of journals and the extension of this system to measure the impact of individual authors helped created a dominant and inelastic market
  22. 22. …promotion and prestige of academics became inextricably linked to journal publication…
  23. 23. In this world, Africa is on the margins. The ‘international’ standards that lead to reward and recognition address British/American interests
  24. 24. To the detriment of developing country concerns, with often disastrous results...
  25. 25. Photo European Commisison CC-BY-NC
  26. 26. It has also become a hugely expensive system dominated by 5 mega-corporations who make profits of upwards of 35%
  27. 27. Does Open Access offer a solution?
  28. 28. The beginning of Open Access, in Budapest in 2002…
  29. 29. Read the Budapest Open Access Initiative An old tradition and a new technology have converged to make possible an unprecedented public good. The old tradition is the willingness of scientists and scholars to publish the fruits of their research in scholarly journals without payment, for the sake of inquiry and knowledge. The new technology is the internet. The public good they make possible is the world-wide electronic distribution of the peer-reviewed journal literature and completely free and unrestricted access to it by all scientists, scholars, teachers, students, and other curious minds. Removing access barriers to this literature will accelerate research, enrich education, share the learning of the rich with the poor and the poor with the rich, make this literature as useful as it can be, and lay the foundation for uniting humanity in a common intellectual conversation and quest for knowledge.
  30. 30. Seeks free and open access to journal articles, through self-archiving and the creation of open access journals
  31. 31. Preface The Internet has fundamentally changed the practical and economic realities of distributing scientific knowledge and cultural heritage. For the first time ever, the Internet now offers the chance to constitute a global and interactive representation of human knowledge, including cultural heritage and the guarantee of worldwide access. We, the undersigned, feel obliged to address the challenges of the Internet as an emerging functional medium for distributing knowledge. Obviously, these developments will be able to significantly modify the nature of scientific publishing as well as the existing system of quality assurance. In accordance with the spirit of the Declaration of the Budapest Open Access Initiative, the ECHO Charter and the Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing, we have drafted the Berlin Declaration to promote the Internet as a functional instrument for a global scientific knowledge base and human reflection and to specify measures which research policy makers, research institutions, funding agencies, libraries, archives and museums need to consider.
  32. 32. Open Access – the ‘green route’ of open articles, often mandated by funders, in institutional repositories and open articles, the ‘gold route’ of open access journals, and the hybrid model of articles in closed commercial journals.
  33. 33. There are international and national policies being put into place to support OA
  34. 34. South Africa’s participation has grown over the years – there are now upwards of 40,000 articles listed in the Directory of Open Access journals and 69 journals
  35. 35. Brazil with its SciELO platform is now the second biggest producer of OA journals in the world Alperin et al., 2008, Open access and scholarly publishing in Latin America: ten flavours and a few reflections
  36. 36. But there is something missing in this focus on journals, and the policy environment is changing fast …
  37. 37. 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. Blade Nzimande, SA Minster of Higher Education and Training, Women in Science Awards. 2010
  38. 38. Walter Sisulu University (WSU) will be a leading African comprehensive university focusing on innovative educational, research and community partnership programmes that are responsive to local, regional, national development priorities, and cognisant of continental and international imperatives.
  39. 39. A new emerging model – open access, open data, open science The old model thinks of publishing as a point in time. Once a work has gone through that temporal point and is published, credit and the accompanying authority are bestowed upon the author. But, in an open science model in which the work is done in public and there is no one moment in which the work goes public, credit and authority become harder to bestow unambiguously. David Weinberger: Too Big to Know
  40. 40. New models are emerging – open, integrated and continuous science
  41. 41. Will the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Open Science has a vision of Open Science that is now in discussion in South Africa in joint planning workshops with the DST and organisations like Codata
  42. 42. Everything is connected
  43. 43. The future is an exciting place and it is happening in Africa now
  44. 44. Eve Gray Senior Research Associate IP Law Unit University of Cape Town Blog: Twitter: graysouth
  45. 45. References Brian Cox, The Pergamon phenomenon 1951-1991. Logos: the Journal of the World Book Community 9 (3) 1998, 135-140. Albert Henderson, The dash and determination of Robert Maxwell, champion of dissemination. Logos: the Journal of the World Book Community 15 (2) 2004, 65-75. Achille Mbembe, Decolonising Knowledge and the Question of the Archive: Robert N Miranda, Robert Maxwell: Forty-four Years as Publisher. In E. H. Friedriksonn (Ed): A Century of Science Publishing, pp. 77-89. IOS Press 2001 Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Something Torn and New. Basic Books, New York, 2009.