Berlin 'Open Access' Conference Recap

Abby Clobridge | Information Today | November 15, 2012

As open access (OA) and other “open” movements become more of a part of the mainstream consciousness, conversations surrounding OA continue to evolve—moving from whether OA is a good approach to far more provocative questions such as, how do we move past the legacies of the print publication world and what is a journal in today’s environment? These questions and many others were raised at this year’s Berlin Open Access Conference, held in Stellenbosch, South Africa from Nov. 6-8, 2012.

This year’s conference marks the first time the meeting was held in Africa, making it possible for strong turnout from throughout the continent—two-thirds of African countries were represented. The 270 delegates were from all over the world and represented a range of stakeholders—policymakers, researchers, research funders, publishers, higher education administrators, and librarians. Throughout presentations and discussions, participants were encouraged to think globally and take bold collective actions to advance the open agenda.

During opening remarks, professor Russel Botman, rector and vice-chancellor of Stellenbosch University, noted his support for Open Access through its connection to African development. He explained, “If we want to accelerate the development of Africa, we must embrace Open Access.” Furthermore, “if knowledge is the currency of our time, then Open Access is a redistribution mechanism.”...