The session on 'Promotion of Open Access' now online

During the fifth webinar of the Open Access Week@AIMS on Thursday Stefano Anibaldi, Peter Hessels and Sridhar Gutam presented their experiences on how to promote Open Access in different parts of the world. Stefano Anibaldi started with the presentation about AGRIS and followed by Peter Hessels who introduced the OA-RCSP programme for Africa. Sridham Gutam closed the session with the current developments of Open Access in India and the presentation of Open Access India.

Access the audio recording and presentation slides

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Overview of 'Results of the New AGRIS Vision 2007-2012: advocating for Open Access to Research'

The AGRIS Network that exists since 1975 and provides links and metadata to scientific agricultural information supports the accessibility and exchange of Agricultural knowledge. Since 2007 AGRIS works with the Open Access principles by promoting full text entries and by introducing corresponding tools and interoperability standards.

The AGRIS Network consists of more than 150 institutions and collaborates inter alia with CIARD, CGIAR and GFAR. It includes more than four million bibliographic records and from the 500,000 resources that have been harvested and indexed during the last five years 50% lead the users to full-text publications. Especially in 2012 there was high increase of full-text links.

Interoperability is guaranteed by the use of the OAI-PMH protocol which is also employed by Service providers such as ScIELO or DOAJ and by the fact that AGRIS can also use data from different metadata formats. FurthermoreAGRIS promotes software used internationally that support the creation of online repositories like AgriDrupal or AgriOceanDSpace and is facilitated by the OA services in the CIARD ring.

“It is witness of a growing awareness of Open Access journals that address us to have their data incorporated in the AGRIS Network”, concludes Stefano Anibaldi.

Questions from the Audience

How many contributions in AGRIS are approximately from Africa? This cannot be said exactly but the share of African contributions is rather low. Still AGRIS is also harvesting the African repositories in order to get a better picture of the African literature.

What hinders African institutions to participate more in AGRIS? On the one hand there are a lot of partnerships with African institutions and AGRIS conducts several workshops in Africa. On the other hand it is difficult to access the data due to technical restrictions. Other obstacles are the unawareness of the benefits of Open Access and a lack of technical knowledge on repositories. These problems can be solved in the future.

Can data providers in India have a space where research outputs can be published until the initiative installs its own repository? The CIARD Ring presents all corresponding services and should be contacted. There are also Indian repositories like Agropedia which can be used.

About Stefano Anibaldi

Stefano is an information management officer and works for FAO of the United Nations for more than 30 years.

He has been working with AGRIS for more than a decade and is specifically involved in the data ingestion and indexing of the AGRIS database.


Overview of 'Open Access Repository Capacity Strengthening Programme for Africa (OA-RCSP)' 

The collaborative programme OA-RCSP supports research institutions in Africa with the establishment of Open Access repositories and thus facilitates the access and use of knowledge. It is conducted by the Royal Tropical Institute of the Netherlands, the Association of African Universities and other collaborators like the UNESCO, INASP, national consortia and several other institutions.

The OA-RCSP includes a wide range of different activities and products like a toolkit, a knowledge sharing platform, training modules, workshops and the mobilization of resources. One of its key features is the building of corresponding communities and networks s that should ensure a sustainable information management on Open Access principles without binding the users to a specific software.

The support will be provided during the whole process of the repository development: Assistance will be given during the conceptualization, planning, implementation and management of Open Access repositories. Still the process is completely performed by the African organizations and only facilitated by OA-RCSP.

Peter Hessels invites all interested people to contribute and collaborate on

Questions from the Audience

Does the programme also work for countries outside Africa like Bangladesh? Currently there is no collaboration with organizations from Bangladesh but the programme is not limited to Africa and the collaboration with other countries is possible.

What is the difference between the library system and digital repositories? A library system refers to existing books published by different institutions and authors while a repository includes mostly publications by the institution itself. An institutional repository can be part of a library system.

Which software is best for digital repositories? This depends on the circumstances of every organization and can best be answered on the Question&Answers section on the AIMS website. The AIMS team gives individual support to all who are interested in software for the creation of an digital repository!

About Peter Hessels

After jobs in retail business Peter started working for the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) in Amsterdam at the information & Library Services Department in 2003, working with library management systems, virtual knowledge communities, content management, digitalization, website development and ICT4D. Peter combines practical technical knowledge with understanding business processes.


Overview of 'Open Access in India'

Although the Indian Open Access movement started already in 2002 and was supported by an recommendation for Open Access by the Indian National Knowledge Commission in 2007, the country faces several problems with the promotion of Open Access: India struggle with a lack of awareness for Open Access and of expertise in the use of repository software, unclear copyright policies, a quite orthodox scholar society and in particular with the absence of Open Access policy mandates.

Despite of the rather slow growth of Indian Open Access initiatives there are currently about 450 Indian Open Access journals and about 92 Indian Open Access Repositories. In order to foster the Indian Open Access Movement an online group with the name “OAIndia” has been formed in 2011 by Indian scholars. It promotes the discussion around Open Access, strengthens the capacity building for repository administration and develops appropriate Open Access policies as well as a repository for members and a database on copyright policies. OAIndia is following the manifesto of CIARD and collaborates closely with AIMS.

About Sridhar Gutam

Sridhar Gutam, PhD is currently working as Senior Scientist (Plant Physiology) at the Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).

He is an active advocate of Open Access and is one of the founders of “Open Access India”, a group of Open Access evagelists.

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