Is Open Access still relevant?
The last years have been both satisfying and challenging for the Open
Access community worldwide. On one hand, we have experienced numerous
'victories' of the OA agenda, such as the OA policy of Research Council
UK, the Finch Committee report, and the OA policy of World Bank. Various
agreeable arguments have been made forcefully to highlight the need for
a transition to OA models of publication -- from betterment of academic
practices, to economic growth to human development. On the other hand,
the OA agenda seems like only one, and not a major one at that,
'openness' movement among a crowd of similarly prefixed movements.
Further, the OA agenda increasingly appears to be a rather limited,
rigid, and old one. Many other 'openness' movements such as Open Data
and Open Educational Resources, one may argue, are more effectively
designed to better academic practices, drive economic growth and
influence human development.
In a powerful critique of the existing OA agenda, Peter Murray-Rust
asks: 'Is "Open Access" the same sort of beast [as the modern ideology
and practice of "Open"]?'
<http://blog.okfn.org/2012/10/26/is-open-access-open/>. He goes on to
list out the features of this 'modern ideology and practice of "Open"':
meritocracy, universality of participation, a willingness to listen,
openness of process, openness of results, and a mechanism to change
current practices (please see his blog post for clarification of these
features). Instead of having 'open' self-reflections about the changing
context and the need for revised strategies, as Eve Gray explains, the
OA agenda has often remained haunted by the Budapest Open Access
Initiative past and failed to interact with emerging allies such as OA
scholarly publications and grey literatures.
To ask the looming question bluntly, is there a need to envision a new,
more contemporary if nothing else, version of the OA agenda?
In the face of increasing acceptance of OA for journal-based research
publications by national and super-national bodies, what are the next
frontiers of the OA agenda? Does the journal-centric strategy of the
existing OA agenda needs revisiting? The last question is especially
pertinent in the context of developing countries, where policy-making is
often influenced by privately-funded research. Access to such documents
(and their underlying datasets) are significant in such cases for
ensuring government accountability, or simply to induce a broad,
informed discussion regarding making of national policies. At the same
time, the diversity of national policy frameworks across the world poses
a critical challenge to any global movement that aims to address global
concerns while engaging with local specificities and demands. Similarly
for OA agenda, it is crucial to discuss the possibility of a more
participatory, flexible and open process of setting strategic agendas at
national and regional scales. In this context, it might be useful to
revisit the BOAI definition of OA, and question whether this definition
is sufficient for a global OA agenda, and also whether the existing OA
models (such as Gold and Green OA) are sufficient for delivering the
promise of that definition.
To return to the context of various 'openness' movements unfolding
worldwide, one may ask, if the OA agenda is now best pursued by
dissolving it within other 'openness' movements? Should we talk more of
an alliance between various 'openness' movements, or an expansion of
some to incorporate the others?
To take part in this fascinating debate which is hosted on the WSIS
Knowledge Communities, click the following link here
Please note that you will need to go to the last page of the discussion
as posts are ordered from first to last.
*Tweet using #developOA*
Institute for Development studies [http://www.ids.ac.uk/]
The Centre for Internet and Society [http://cis-india.org/]
The African Commons Project [http://www.africancommons.org/]
Open Access and and Development- Journals
Gray Area -A blog which focuses on Access to Knowledge and Open Access
UNESCO Human Rights declaration
WSIS Knowledge Communities
Open Access platform
Openuct initiative - opening scholarship [http://openuct.uct.ac.za/]
Please send this email to someone you think may be interested.
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