Open Access Africa Wrap-up

Rebecca Fairburn | BioMed Central Blog | November 19, 2012

BioMed Central’s third Open Access Africa conference at the University of Cape Town (UCT)...

Complex issues were explored through the presentations and discussion amongst the excellent speakers and delegates.

The event kicked off with an entertaining and meaningful explanation of open access through this video. Deborah Kahn (Publishing Director, BioMed Central) reminded us that open access journals employ different business models but the same editorial quality standards as other journals.

The power of students as advocates for open access was beautifully demonstrated by Daniel Mutonga (pictured left) from the Medical Students Association of Kenya (MSAKE); “If your professors can’t read it, they can’t teach it”. That was backed up by Laura Czerniewicz, pointing out that students are often the most ardent advocates as they realise that when they leave university they will lose access to subscription content.

The Wellcome Trust, the World Bank, and the Department for International Development (UK) demonstrated the progressive thinking of their organizations in realizing the value of making their research and data openly available. It is expected that more organizations will take this approach in the future. Conferences such as Open Access Africa, help the relevant parties to be prepared for it and to make the most of it.