Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, April 04, 2008

New book on OA in South Asia

Anup Kumar Das, Open access to knowledge and information: scholarly literature and digital library initiatives – the South Asian scenario, UNESCO, 2008.  A new, 137 pp. book from the New Delhi office of UNESCO.  The full text was self-archived at OpenMED this morning.

Abstract:   The South Asia sub-region is now in the forefront of the Open Access movement within developing countries in the world, with India being the most prominent partner in terms of its successful Open Access and Digital Library initiatives. Institutional and policy frameworks in India also facilitate innovative solutions for increasing international visibility and accessibility of scholarly literature and documentary heritage in this country. This publication has its genesis in the recommendations and proceedings of UNESCO-supported international conferences and workshops including the 4th International Conference of Asian Digital Libraries (ICADL2001, Bangalore); the International Conferences on Digital Libraries (ICDL2004 & ICDL2006, New Delhi); and the International Workshop on Greenstone Digital Library Software (2006, Kozhikode), where many information professionals of this sub-region demonstrated their Digital Library and Open Access initiatives. This book describes successful digital library and open access initiatives in the South Asia sub-region that are available in the forms of open courseware, open access journals, metadata harvesting services, national-level open access repositories and institutional repositories. This book may be considered an authoritative Source-book on Open Access development in this sub-region.

From the conclusion (p. 128):

Open access to knowledge and information as we may see from this listing has far to go in South Asia. It is largely achievable in a country where policy frameworks, institutional frameworks, information infrastructure, trained manpower, and financial resources are adequately available. The effect of focused capacity building programmes in the areas of digital preservation, digital libraries and open access to literature is encouraging in a country like India, where significant proliferation of open access and digital library initiatives have been achieved in the last decade. A number of workshops and training events were organized in India during this period, where a few thousand library and computer professionals received training in open source software for building open access repositories. Library schools in India have since included open source digital archiving software in their curricula. Several national and international conferences, seminars, and symposia were also organized in India, where library professionals discussed methods and techniques of digitization, digital library development, institutional repository development and digital preservation. India has now become the leader in digital library and open access initiatives in South Asia and across Asia, due to stakeholders' active participation in capacity building processes as well as the availability of financial resources. The key to commitment and development in this field lies in the sensitization of stakeholders as which has been done in India. In Pakistan, policy and institutional frameworks are being reinforced to embrace open access initiatives. In other South Asian countries such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives and Sri Lanka, however, there remains significant room for more awareness raising, capacity building, and sensitization programmes involving stakeholders in order to achieve that paradigm shift in universal access to information, knowledge and heritage....

Update. Also see the UNESCO press release on the book.