Open Access Week all about sharing

15 October 2010 | Story by Newsroom

Open Access WeekAvailable knowledge: Open Access Week takes place from 18 to 24 October.

International Open Access Week takes place from 18 to 24 October, an event that has gained significant global momentum, particularly within the higher education system, to promote engagement around open-access issues.

The Open movement followed the development of Open Licences, which allows people to use material or content freely, thus contributing to free knowledge and empowering many who lack resources.

At the university level, Open Content and Open Access can be confused. While Open Content has to do with sharing teaching and learning material, Open Access involves sharing research.

For example, there are many Open Access journals available to researchers and scholars, as opposed to conventional journals that hold full copyright and which often require payment for access to articles.

Open Content (open educational resources or open courseware) is specifically geared at sharing teaching and learning materials, which can range from a single image to an entire course.

At UCT Michelle Willmers, programme manager of the Scholarly Communication in Africa Programme in the Research Office, the Centre for Educational technology's Glenda Cox (OpenContent) and Janine Dunlop of UCT Libraries' Special Collections have combined their efforts to highlight Open Access Week.

The trio is heading up a campaign that includes the launch of UCT Libraries' Digitool platform for accessing electronic theses and dissertations and other digitised special collections; workshops around alternative licensing; and a public lectures on the topic.

Cox says: "So instead of having full copyright or public domain we now have easy to use Creative Commons licences which allow you to share materials with attribution."

Although Open Access week is not really about Open Content, it is an opportunity to show students, lecturers and PASS staff who have material to share where to put this information.

If you are interested, there are three events you should take note of. At a demonstration in Hoerikwaggo 3C from 13h00 to 14h00 on 19 October Dunlop will be introducing the community to DigiTool. This is an exciting online platform that will aggregate the University Libraries' special collections, digital collections from faculties, UCT theses and dissertations and research documents.

It will also cover DigiTool functionality and provide an overview of plans to register DigiTool users as "collection owners" who will be able to upload their own material and accompanying metadata.

A copyright and DigiTool workshop on 20 October at the Student learning Centre in the Steve Biko Building from 10h00 to 12h00 will cover copyright and the alternative management solution in the form of Creative Commons licensing - and show the community how to licence materials for Open Access or Open Content.

On 21 October Dave Duarte will present Appropriately Open, a talk which looks beyond the technical and legal aspects of open-licensing. Duarte will consider it from a strategic perspective: how to gain buy-in for projects, build goodwill, mitigate risk, and fast-track innovation. The discussion will focus on how and why open access should be integrated into the way we teach, publish and create. This will take place in Hoerikwaggo 3B from 13h00 to 14h00. (For more information call Cox on 021 650 5024.)

Find out more about the upcoming workshops on the website.

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