Open Access News

News from the open access movement


Sunday, February 11, 2007

Report on the Bangalore OA workshop

Barbara Kirsop, Open access and developing countries, Current Science, February 10, 2007.  A report on the Workshop on electronic publishing and open access (Bangalore, November 2-3, 2006).  Excerpt:

...The main aim of the workshop was to consider a national policy document for developing countries that could be used by governments or their science-funding organizations to speed up the scientific progress....

Lawrence Liang...discussed the knowledge commons and the need to protect essential publicly-funded information from commercial barriers. He invited us to resist a property discourse that conflates property rights with academic rights and turns the collegiality of academe into the hierarchy of property....

Barbara Kirsop (Electronic Publishing Trust for Development, UK) gave an overview of why developing countries should adopt open access, providing persuasive recent statistics that showed the rapid growth in the quantity of material currently available free to all. Alma Swan of Key Perspectives, a consultancy that has carried out a number of basic studies on the use and impact of open access policies, showed how the digital age is changing how science is recorded, evaluated and assessed....

Muthu Madhan of the National Institute of Technology, Rourkela, the only Indian institution to have mandated self-archiving of all faculty and student research publications, mentioned that after the mandate more than 90% of papers are being deposited by the authors.

S. Krishnan (National Chemical Laboratory, Pune) emphasized the need for archiving data. Sunil Abraham (a member of the Open Source Initiative (OSI) board) suggested that citizens, as tax payers and consumers, have a right to get free access to results of publicly-funded research.

The workshop ended with a discussion chaired by M. R. N. Murthy (IISc) on a proposed national policy document that could be used to promote acceptance of the open access strategies outlined in the Budapest Open Access Initiative and based on the Salvador Declaration for Open Access for Developing Countries. The proposed policy document was discussed by all participants and a number of suggestions were made for improvement.  These were noted and after the workshop the document was revised and re-circulated to all participants for approval. The final document was prepared incorporating further recommendations received through e-mail and was circulated widely. It may be accessed from the workshop website.

It is hoped that this National Open Access Policy for Developing Countries will provide a major step forward to adopting open access as a way to release all publicly funded research publications from financial and other barriers, thus creating a level playing field for scientific development worldwide. Without the free and full exchange of scientific information, the solving of the major problems affecting countries tsunamis, avian flu, HIV/ AIDS, global warming, emerging infectious diseases will forever be delayed....

The indefatigable energy of Subbiah Arunachalam (M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai) allowed this important workshop to take place....Presentations, a list of participants, open access resources, the OA Policy Document and other information are all available [here].