Open up and say 'access for everyone' - Newspaper - Mail & Guardian Online 2012-08-20


“The internet has fundamentally changed the practical and economic realities of sharing scholarly knowledge and cultural heritage. It is now possible for content to be made widely and easily available to all with internet access, at minimal or no cost... ‘Open access’ refers to a form of online publishing in which access to content is free for the user. ‘Open content’ refers to both teaching and research resources and ‘open education resources’ refer specifically to teaching resources. These are all enabled by open licensing, a form of copyright protection that allows the author to provide for different forms of access or reuse under varying conditions while ensuring attribution... The Cape Town Declaration ( expresses a commitment to combining the established tradition of sharing good ideas with fellow educators with the collaborative, interactive culture of the internet... there are indications of action to increase free access to open content in South Africa, at least in terms of teaching and learning resources. The international growth in open content and enabling frameworks (technical, policy and in terms of intellectual property) are clearly acknowledged in the department of higher education and training's recent green paper on post-school education and training... The green paper says the department will consider the adoption of an appropriate open licensing framework and determine ways to support the development of high-quality learning resources to be made freely available as open content for use with appropriate adaptation. Unfortunately, the green paper does not yet make as strong an argument for the free availability of other scholarly resources, such as research articles, papers and reports... many argue that as much as possible of what is generated with public funds should be made available in the public domain... One example makes the point. Researchers in Australia have developed a scientifically robust and simple blood test for African trypanosomiasis, also known as African sleeping sickness -- a potentially fatal and much neglected parasitic disease that is transmitted by the tsetse fly and is often left undiagnosed... According to the World Health Organisation, African sleeping sickness affects between 50 000 and 70 000 people a year, yet there are relatively few articles published on the disease in the major commercial journals. And when articles do appear, many African researchers and health professionals cannot afford them... In this case, by publishing their findings under a Creative Commons licence in the open access Public Library of Science publication, Neglected Tropical Diseases, the developers of the test have made this life-saving know-ledge freely available to everybody who needs it... The past five years have seen a rapid increase in African open-access journals -- from 40 listed in 2007 to 217 in 2011. In the past year alone countries such as Ghana, Kenya and Ethiopia have appeared on the list or have substantially increased their presence. The directory of open-access journals ( lists offerings such as the African Journal of Environmental Assessment and Management (Ghana), the African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development (Kenya) and the Bulletin of the Chemical Society of Ethiopia, just to mention a few... directory of open-access repositories lists repositories that make a variety of free academic content available. Of the 2 085 repositories listed, 51 are found in 15 African countries... There has also been an increase in the availability of locally created teaching and learning resources through, for example, the African Virtual University (, Open Education Resources Africa ( and the University of Cape Town's open-content directory (”



08/16/2012, 06:08

From feeds:

Open Access Tracking Project (OATP) »

Tags: oa.licensing oa.comment oa.copyright oa.declarations oa.oer oa.reports oa.kenya oa.doaj oa.ethiopia oa.opendoar oa.definitions oa.ghana oa.ip oa.south_africa oa.repositories oa.libre oa.journals oa.south



Date tagged:

08/20/2012, 14:42

Date published:

03/03/2012, 20:42