Embracing Open Policies to Enable Access to Information: The Edo State Open Data Portal
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This chapter makes the argument that embracing open access to knowledge through open policies enables access to information. It discusses open access to knowledge from a broad view encapsulating access to journal articles, public sector information and educational resources. It posits that underdevelopment in Africa can be addressed amongst other things through open access to knowledge. It explains open access to knowledge as a mechanism for lifting citizens and nations out from under-development to development and explores the experience of the Edo State Government which has set up an Open Data Portal under its Open Government Initiative to demonstrate the fact that open access to knowledge is clearly a tool for development. It explains the establishment of the portal, identifies five policy objectives of the initiative, oa.open, discusses three overarching deliverables of the initiative and lays out the achievements and outcomes attained. The concluding section of the chapter analyses Africa from a consumer/contributor standpoint. It emphasizes the need for balance in accessing and using available information and strikes a note on the importance of ‘dipping and dropping’ that is, Africa must ensure it is not just being a content consumer/user but also that it is an active contributor to the global pool of content.