Open Access Champion Leslie Chan Delivers Five Talks in India

Posted by Prasad Krishna at Dec 30, 2012 07:10 AM |
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Professor Leslie Chan, a champion of Open Access (OA) and Associate Director of the Centre for Critical Development Studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough visited Tiruvananthapuram and Mysore in December 2012 for a series of lectures. Well known advocate for OA in India and the developing world, Professor Subbiah Arunachalam, accompanied him on these tours.
Open Access Champion Leslie Chan Delivers Five Talks in India

Prof. Leslie Chan giving a talk at the Department of Library & Information Science, University of Kerala

Leslie gave five talks in over three days at the Department of Library & Information Science, University of Kerala, on the morning of December 17, at the National Institute of Interdisciplinary Science & Technology, CSIR on the afternoon of December 17 at the Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management – Kerala on Decemeber 18 followed by a discussion with Satish Babu, President of the Computer Society of India and Director of ICFOSS in the afternoon, a talk at Manasa Media Centre, Mysore University Library on December 19, and a talk at SDM Institute for Management Development on December 20, 2012, which was more of a discussion.

Speaking on “Opportunities for Knowledge Management in the Open Access Environment” at the Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management–Kerala, Leslie Chan said, “the recognition of what constitutes scholarship is still very narrow and the quality of the content is secondary. It is the brand of the journal that is still the driving force behind every western journal.” He further said that there was a tension brewing among open access, quality control and the means of measuring impact. Market forces had infiltrated the realm of knowledge as well, for it was the companies that were increasingly taking over journals that were originally published by scholarly societies.[1]His presentation touched upon what is OA and its key benefits, growth of OA in the last ten years, and opportunities for information and library professionals. See the presentation slides below.

At the Mysore University Library, Leslie gave a lecture on Emerging Trends in Scholarly Communications and Impact Measures in the Open Knowledge Environment. He dealt with the key issues of changing contexts of research discovery and dissemination in the digital environment, why greater openness is good for science, the tensions between openness, quality measures, impact and policies, collaboration and competition, interdisciplinary research, deluge of research data. Prof. Chan touched upon some key problems like the broken scholarly communication system, emerging tools not being used effectively to serve scholarship, and the need to re-design scholarly communications and impact measures. See the presentation slides below.

Emerging Trends in Scholarly Communication and Impact Measures in the Open Knowledge Environment from University of Toronto Scarborough

Therafter, Prof. Chan visited Shri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara Institute for Management Development and addressed scientists, librarians and academicians. There were discussions on how open access journals and repositories can help improve the visibility of an institution's research strengths, help attract research collaborators for authors and increase the return on investment. Prof. Chan was particularly critical of the current trends, in evaluating both researchers and their institutions using impact factor of journals in which they publish their research papers as the yardstick. Read the press coverage by Star of Mysore (PDF, 462 Kb).

Prof. Chan Tour
Prof. Subbiah Arunachalam accompanied Prof. Leslie in his tours to Tiruvananthapuram and Mysore

Leslie's tour to Tiruvananthapuram and Mysore which saw him deliver a series of lectures along with open forum discussions has triggered a fresh awakening to seriously debate on open access initiatives. The event was well covered by the media with the Hindu doing an exclusive interview with him.[2]

More pictures of Prof. Chan's visit can be seen here.


[1]. See “Call for efforts to promote open access platforms, The Hindu, December 19, 2012, available at http://bit.ly/10LEiBU, last accessed on December 31, 2012.
[2]. See "In defence of Open Access systems", The Hindu, December 31, 2012, available at http://bit.ly/VZfmz6, last accessed on January 2, 2013.

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