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EIFL, IFLA, SPARC and COAR will host a thematic workshop at WSIS Forum 2012 "Rethinking the Agenda for Development: Open Access Policies and Practices". Tentative date is Thursday, May 17 (the draft agenda for WSIS Forum 2012).
The UN Millennium Development Goals emphasise the urgent need to address problems such as poverty eradication, hunger and malnutrition, child mortality, maternal health, environmental sustainability and combating diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. It is very clear that without strong scientific platforms built on the widest possible access to research information, these goals will not be met.
One major problem that developing countries have always faced with respect to research information is the inability to integrate national research into the global knowledge pool (the South to South, South to North and North to South knowledge gaps). The scholarly knowledge arising from research – critical for the development of appropriate programmes to solve global health and environmental problems and advance science and higher education – is not accessible in major parts of world due to the predominant scholarly publishing system, where access is based on subscription Moreover, information important for the resolution of health, environmental and agricultural problems specific to developing countries is not generally published in traditional journals from the developed world.
Open access seeks to remove price and permission barriers that prevent knowledge from being shared. It creates an unprecedented opportunity to provide equality of access to essential research information and to raise awareness of national research. The WSIS Forum 2012 offers a timely opportunity to look at current achievements in the field of open access – policies and practices – and hold a detailed discussion about their implications for development and how open access can help to rethink the development agenda.
The workshop’s starting point will be a presentation of best practice – how policies were drawn up and implemented, and how the results not only increased content but also allayed concerned on the part of researchers. Following this introduction the workshop will call on additional presenters who are currently in the middle of similar processes, and they will describe the challenges they are facing to implement their programmes. The second part of the workshop will focus more on advice and tools to implement open access policies in support of development. Participants will be encouraged to bring their problems, hypothetical or real, to the panel for advice and discussion. This interactive session will be able to harness contributions from in the room and also from remote participants. Presenters will be joined on a panel by an expert on the development agenda.