Thursday, 11 September 2008

OA between Caribbean hurricanes

OA between two hurricanes

An InterAcademy Panel workshop on ‘Open Access to Scientific Literature and other Digital Scientific Information Resources in Central America and the Caribbean: Focus on Education and Health for Sustainable Development’ was organized by the Cuban Academy of Science – between hurricanes. In spite of weather worries, speakers arrived and everything took place in excellent order, organized seemingly near-single handed by Alejandro Caballero de Rivero of the Cuban Academy. Alejandro has my vote for the Olympic Gold Medal in the sport of Workshop Organisation. The programme is available from, and further information will be posted on the site in due course, so bookmark this site to receive details of the presentations.

My impression is that many of the Caribbean participants are well informed about OA and very anxious to become part of the OA exchange of research information, but are struggling to organize how to manage this within their own research structures. Who will do it? Inter-departmental communication is not always well established yet – not only in Cuba, but also in Nicaragua, Dominican Republic and other Caribbean countries. Participants sometimes knew more about international OA developments than about what is taking place across town. Incoming speakers and participants from more OA-advanced countries such as Brazil, Colombia and Chile were able to provide a lot of relevant information and contacts, which it is hoped will accelerate progress.

There were presentations on how the Creative Commons License works, how institutional repositories work, how the InterAcademy works, what is underway in the different Cuban ministries. The research networks infrastructure progress was described and OA policy developments in Brazil, as well as progress in the SciELO e-publishing service. Outside the formal programme there were short presentations on the Open Access Scholarly Information Sourcebook, an OSI-supported initiative to bring together in a single resource ‘everything you will ever want to know about OA’, with new and existing initiatives being contributed by experts around the world. Watch for developments over the coming months. Additionally a short presentation was made on the EU’s next DRIVER programme (called OverDriver) which is aimed at exporting the DRIVER institutional repository services beyond the EU to enable exchange of research information between the EU and researchers in other regions of the world.

The IAP will be working on projects to support OA developments, following a final discussion on needs and opportunities.

The arrival of the hotel parrot in the beautiful tropical atrium at coffee breaks was much appreciated and led to interesting conversations.

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