Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

On openness and OA

Bora Zivkovic, Openness is Essential Freedom: Interview with Vedran Vucic, A Blog Around the Clock, February 9, 2008. Vucic is president of the board of GNULinux Centar in Belgrade.

... How did you get interested in promoting everything Open: Open Source, Open Classroom, Open Science?

I really think free software, open access, open classroom, open science, web accessibility, open hardware are very important milestones for our planet. There is still too much poverty, unjust activities, violence in the world. I think that citizens themselves can contribute a lot to promote knowledge, the development, education, freedom. Phenomena as free software, open science etc. are not just scientific and technological terms. They are very powerful social, political tools too. ...

At the Conference, you led a session on The Obstacles to Open Science in the Developing World. Can you summarize here briefly, what are those obstacles? Are they primarily structural (e.g., lack of electricity, computer or Internet access) or is the social fear of openness (perhaps protection of power structure, nepotism, etc.) a bigger obstacle for the spread of Open Access Publishing, science blogs, etc.?

Obstacles are sometimes very big, but also, in many cases, big obstacles may be overcome by many small efforts. Many activities related with improvement of the educational system, health care, culture, transfer of knowledge and technologies may be done by using science and education blogs. For example, Serbia and Albania have the highest rates of infectious diseases in their populations. Many women in Serbia die because of cervical cancer which is not so hard to prevent. Thus, access to information related to health, education, teenage pregnancy, AIDS, human rights, work with people with disabilities, environment may be helpful in solving hard issues that keep people in misery, bad health, uneducated and potentially prone to destructive political movements.

I think that media can do a lot in promoting openness and that access points to scientific and educational materials may be set up. Thus, small kiosks, computer classrooms and tele-centres with access to information and knowledge may be very helpful in overcoming existing fear from openness. ...