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Seminar on Open Access for Scientific Information

by Prasad Krishna last modified Jun 09, 2011 12:41 PM
Open-access provides free online access to quality scholarly material that can be defined as “open domain,” meaning publicly supported research information, and “open access,” so that it is copyrighted to be freely available scholarly material. Open-access publishing enables researchers in developing countries to establish priority for their research, which they could use later to defend their intellectual property. It removes excess barriers in terms of both price and permission, enhances national research capacity, and improves visibility for developing-country research. Open access thus enables a global platform for this research and collaboration and reciprocates the information flow from South to North among all countries.

Event details


Mar 16, 2011
from 04:15 AM to 11:30 AM

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In India, there is a large opportunity for open-access publishing. There are many non-commercial research and development institutions, both academic and research laboratories. For example, there are approximately 300 universities that offer both graduate and research programs. There are also many R&D laboratories operating within government science agencies, which cover domains like industrial research, defense research, agricultural research, medicine, ecology, environment, information technology, space, energy, and ocean development.

Many of these institutions, and also several professional societies, publish science journals. Tools like the Open Journal Systems could help many of these journals to come online in an open-access environment. Open Access is  relevant to India because most  research is funded from public money, institutional framework and information infrastructure, trained manpower and financial resources are  adequately available.  It  widens distribution of information and knowledge and  lowers the cost of reaching a fairly wide audience while maximising return on public money. The OA movement is being supported by research funding agencies, academic institutions, researchers and scientists, teachers, students, and members of the general public. 

Open access publishing can foster the exchange of research results amongst scientists from different disciplines, thus facilitating interdisciplinary research, whilst providing access to research results to researchers world-wide, including from developing countries, as well as to an interested general public. 

Access to and sharing of information, including scientific information, goes through dramatic changes because of rapidly emerging new communication and information technologies (ICTs) and the societal transformations that they generate. But what are the long-term strategies to efficiently harness the open access potential for developing new approaches to knowledge acquisition and sharing? What needs to be done to effectively integrate these strategies into forward looking and sustainable policy making? How can we harness the potential of open access to develop knowledge societies that are people-centred, inclusive and development oriented?  What are the global environmental trends that will influence open access  in the next few years?  What are the main needs of the open access stakeholders in India and  South Asia ?  Which are the publishing models for open-access journals  and  what does it imply to finance and sustain open access journals in developing countries; how to overcome language and other barriers ? 

These issues are of strategic relevance to UNESCO as they address key challenges linked to building knowledge societies, one of the overarching objectives of the Medium Term Strategy 2008-2013.

UNESCO, jointly with the Centre for Internet Society is well placed to mobilize interested stakeholders to develop efficient implementation strategies in the area of acquision and sharing of scientific information  and to integrate them into forward looking and sustainable policies. 

UNESCO believes that open access is an enriching part of the scholarly communication process that can and should co-exist with other forms of communication and publication, such as society-based publishing and conferencing activities. Open access publications are also more easily included and searchable in search engines and indexing databases.

In order to initiate a sub-regional dialogue on democratizing access to scientific and health-related information, on the economics of scientific publishing and the  implications of the various open-access models  and the copyright and intellectual property issues, UNESCO convenes a one day seminar on 16 March 2011 in New Delhi. The  concept of « open access »  and the inter-relationships between academic institutions, researchers,  scientists and publishers will be  examined, as well as the challenges and barriers which OA is currently facing in this part of the world. 

Overall objectives 

  • Strengthen awareness of UNESCO’s stakeholders on the potential of open access  in scientific knowledge  sharing that are dramatically accelerated by ICTs; 
  • Provide analysis for anticipating foreseeable trends end emerging challenges  in order to enable Indian and South Asian stakeholders to develop strategies and policies to take them up;
  • Develop a partnership and collaboration among interested stakeholdesr in order to improve access to and sharing of scientific information and research  through open access 

Expected results 

The discussion of the Open Access Seminar is expected to achieve the following results: 
  • UNESCO’s stakeholders enabled to understand trends and emerging challenges related to the impact of open access  on scientific information acquisition and sharing; 
  • Possible developments prospected in the area of scientific information sharing in the coming 5 years; 
  • Specific technology generated trends, and their consequences for development  in scientific information and research sharing 
  • Highlight the collaborative and collective efforts and actions behind the Open Access movement
  • Discussions of best practices of  Open Access Initiatives

Who should attend: 

  • Science editors
  • Policy makers
  • Information professionals
  • Researchers  
  • Open Access movement activists
  • Academics  and  all those interested in electronic publishing.

Terms of Reference:

1) Initiatives within the open access movement (with focus on what all of this means for developing countries):
  • discussion on the pros and cons of open access 
  • different models used and  paths to achieving open access to the health literature 
  • research reports and open access 
  • democratizing access to scientific and health-related information
  • economics of scientific publishing and implications of the various open-access models 
  • copyright and intellectual property 
2) Open Access and the journals from developing countries
  • what does it means to bring journals online 
  • publishing models for open-access journals 
  • financing and sustaining open access journals in developing countries  
  • costs associated with open access in developing countries 
  • language barriers and translation 
  • training information specialists and users on searching and accessing health literature
This event is co-organised by UNESCO and the Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore
Download the agenda here
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