Last month BioMed Central ran an event to coincide with Open Access Week. In true open access style they have now made all the presentations available:
“Open Access Africa 2011, hosted by BioMed Central in conjunction with Computer Aid International, was held at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, Ghana, during Open Access Week 2011. The conference brought together representatives from Google, British Medical Journal (BMJ), Department for International Development (DFID), Pan African Medical Journal and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) to discuss open access publishing in an African context. All conference presentations and images are now available from our website.”
I was looking at the presentation from Helena Asamoah-Hassan, University Librarian, KNUST in Ghana entitled: “Case studies of open access initiatives for access to information in developing countries” in which she wrote of major benefits/obstacles:
“Major Benefits: – Unrestricted access to knowledge, – Speed and reduced cost of distribution, – Access to grey literatures from developing world, – Expanded opportunity to publish. Major Obstacles: -Poor State of ICT – limited computer literacy; high cost of internet access limiting access ; – low bandwidth, – Copyright issues (authors sign away their rights and so cannot self archive their own papers) and – Misconception of Open Access resulting from lack of awareness.”
These points are certainly are worth remembering! For me the issue is both an IP one, and a communications one – i.e. raising awareness where required and providing tailored solutions to access. In her presentation Helena Asamoah-Hassan provides many examples of African initiatives already underway, and her suggestions to improve the OA situation.
It’s going to be a long, hard, and continuous process but there are many laudable projects moving in the right direction, as the presentations from the Open Access Africa event show!
Other related posts:
Offline OA: “OA’ (OA Prime): bringing OA resources to low connectivity areas” a solution (hopefully a stop-gap) for low connectivity. And “Open Access; more than just citation considerations” which talks about access, readership, download and citation of OA.