UFS, CUT commit to open access platforms

2019-12-04 06:01

The Library and Information Services of the University of the Free State (UFS) and the Central University of Tech­nology (CUT) has thrown its weight behind the global advocacy for the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities.

In response to the national and international developments in what is referred to as “the Open Access 2020 (OA2020) movement”, these two in­stitutions held a joint Open Science Colloquium on 19 November.

The OA2020 is a document that outlines concrete steps to promote the internet as a medium for disseminating global knowledge.

It emerged from a conference on open access hosted in 2003 by the Max Planck Society in the Harnack House in Berlin.

This movement calls on all parties involved in scholarly communication to take action to make their scholarly outputs open and freely available for use by all the citizens of the world.

It is a move against the current subscription-based model of publication, which has proved to be costly and un­sustainable, and which limits access to knowledge to a select few, making it unacceptable.

The colloquium comes as an endorsement of the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities that the two universities signed eight years ago.

As signatories, the UFS and CUT have committed to the wide and free dissemination of its scholarship by means of open access platforms

This declaration was confirmed by Prof. Francis Petersen, rector and vice-chancellor of the UFS.

“When the UFS signed the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities in 2011, this university committed itself to the wide and free dissemination of its scholarship by means of open access platforms At that point, we already made that commitment to open access platforms.”

Petersen said challenging the current status quo will bring equity into the system, which will “ensure that our younger cohort of researchers and scholars have the ability to freely conduct research and access material, so that we can produce high-quality researchers and scholars for our system”.

Both the UFS and CUT are expected to ultimately sign the OA2020 Expression of Interest.

The colloquium ended with all present members signing a declaration, in the hopes that it would be signed by all concerned as a commitment to taking action towards open access.

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