Monday, 24 November 2008

Events celebrating Open Access Day in eIFL countries

Thanks to Iryna Kuchma, eIFL OA Program Manager, (who posted the following record of events on the eIFL website we can see how widespread the celebration of OA has become:


October 14, 2008 was the world’s first Open Access Day. The founding partners were SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), Students for FreeCulture, and the Public Library of Science. Open Access Day helped to broaden awareness and understanding of Open Access, including recent mandates and emerging policies, within the international higher education community and the general public ( Information about Open Access Day activities in Azerbaijan, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Mozambique, Poland, South Africa, Sudan.

Azerbaijan: Khazar University Library Information centre translated "A very brief introduction to Open Access" by Peter Suber into Azeri language ( Khazar University Library Information Center administrates Khazar University Institutional Repository (KUIR) - the fist institutional repository in Azerbaijan showcasing the research outputs of Khazar University staff (; more information about the repository is here: Contact person: Tatyana Zayseva, Library Information Centre Director, tzayseva[@]

Lithuania: Lithuanian research libraries consortium together with Lithuanian Ministry of Education and Science and the Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education organized the workshop about Open access in the Lithuanian Academy of Science on October, 14, 2008. Workshop program is available online ( and information about open access is also on the Lithuanian Research Library Consortium website ( Contact person: Dr. Gintare Tautkeviciene, Kaunas University of Technology, eIFL Open Access country coordinator, gintare.tautkeviciene[@]

Macedonia: On the occasion of the International Open Access Day, Metamorphosis Foundation sent an open letter to the Ministry of Education and Science and the Government of the Republic of Macedonia calling them to instigate an initiative for systematic, prompt and efficient resolution for the acute lack of educational contents available online (e-contents) in the local languages in Macedonia (,en/). Contact person: Bardhyl Jashari, Metamorphosis Foundation, bjasari[@]

Moldova: A blog about Open Access in Romanian language and a directory of Open Access Moldavian resources were launched on the Open Access Day: Natalia Cheradi, eIFL Open Access coordinator in Moldova, Consortium eIFL Direct Moldova, spoke about Open Access on the National Radio and National TV (TV-4 channel). Contact person: Natalia Cheradi, the Open Access Coordinator for Moldova, cheradi[@]

Mozambique: Aissa Mitha Issak, eIFL country coordinator in Mozambique, wrote an article about Open Access to be published in the national newspaper and participated in the Radio Mozambique show. She also translated "We Support Open Access Flyer" featuring a librarian, teacher, funder, student and patient advocate, into Portuguese language. Earlier this year Aissa Mitha Issak organised a workshop about Institutional Repositories and Open Access in Maputo, Mozambique. The major outcome of this workshop was a project on the shared open repository for Mozambique, gathering the intellectual production of the academic and research staff in the country funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture and at the pilot stage covering three institutions. The University of Minho will assure the technical support. More information: Contact person: Aissa Mitha Issak, eIFL country coordinator in Mozambique, amissak[@]

Poland: Bożena Bednarek-Michalska, eIFL Open Access country coordinator in Poland, Nicolaus Copernicus University Library in Torun, Poznan Foundation of Scientific Libraries, translated into Polish "A very brief introduction to Open Access" by Peter Suber and "We Support Open Access Flyer"; different institutions put this information with Open Access Day icon on their portals and web-sites on October 14. Bożena Bednarek-Michalska sent letters to the ministries, Universities and other public institutions about Open Access. Web-sites about Open Access Day: ICM (Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematical and Computational Modelling), Warsaw, Poland posted blog posts about Open Access Day: and

South Africa: In celebration of Open Access Day, Durban University of Technology Libraries hosted an informal open session on the Institutional Repository and how researchers can get their research ready for submission into the Repository. Contact person: Pam Govender, pamgoven[@]; Web & IT Support Officer, DUT Library, ML Sultan Library, University of Pretoria had an Open Access happening of which the message was "You are in good company if you support open access" with posters all over campus, buttons, a message on the university's main web page ( a powerpoint slide show running constantly in the library (, students with OA t-shirts speaking to other students. Two open sessions on the open access research repository were organised and attended by 60 researchers from across faculty. Contact people: Monica Hammes, Assistant Director: Open Scholarship, Quality Assurance and UP Centenary Academic Information Service, University of Pretoria, Monica.Hammes[@] and Ina Smith, Digital Research Repository (UPSpace) Manager & eApplication Specialist, Department of Library Services, University of Pretoria, Ina.Smith[@] University of Johannesburg Library and Information centre promoted Open Access day (UJ Science Librarian Blog: and UJ Librarians News: Contact person: Pavlinka Kovatcheva, Subject Librarian: Sciences, University of Johannesburg, Kingsway Campus, pkovatcheva[@]

Sudan: Abdalaziz Gabir, Open University of Sudan Library and eIFL Open Access country coordinator in Sudan, published at the web-site of the Open University of Sudan ( selected translations from English into Arabic about benefits of Open Access to contribute to the awareness raising among Arabic countries. These documents will be also disseminated via the web-site of the Ministry of higher education of Sudan. Contact person: Abdalaziz Gabir, Open University of Sudan Library and eIFL Open Access country coordinator in Sudan, abdalazizgabir[@]

More information about events celebrating Open Access Day:

We are pleased to announce that next year’s Open Access Week will be in October 2009, dates to be confirmed. To hear about the latest development please complete the form here:

Monday, 17 November 2008

Bioline spreads its wings!

Bioline International has now been working with publishers in developing countries for 15 years, helping to raise the visibility of the largely unrecognised research reported in their journals. There are now 70 journals from 17 countries using the Bioline platform and, because of the benefits of open access in terms of visibility, improved submissions, improved impact and even improved subscription levels to the printed versions, there is now a queue of other journals waiting to become partners.

Usage of the open access Bioline material rises year by year (in 2007, for example, there were 3.5 million full text downloads made by readers from both the developing world and the industrial nations and usage up to mid-2008 is equally encouraging) showing a real need for the information in the journals.

The joint initiative between the University of Toronto and the Centre for Environmental Research Information in Brazil is now launching a new Sponsorship and Membership program to increase the level of funding available in order to extend the numbers of journals on the system. Organisations or individuals may either become founding Sponsors by making a single donation, the level of which can be negotiated individually, or may become Members through an annual donation of $500. Already, a number of organisations have made such a commitment, recognising the importance of including regional research into the global knowledge pool.

As no charge is made to partner publishers for document management or site maintenance, all such donations will be spent directly in enabling poorly known journals published in developing countries to reap the benefits of open access and become part of the international scene.

Congratulations are due to the University of Toronto and the CRIA centre in Brazil for all their hard and dedicated work. Bioline has ‘come of age’. Any organisation or individual wanting to support the extension of this invaluable service can find out more at

Posted by Barbara Kirsop

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Yes, you can

On this momentous day, when America has returned the Democratic party to office by electing its first African-American President, Barak Obama, the world can look forward to changes in America’s approach in science. During his campaign, Obama announced that he planned to double investment in basic research, ensure more transparency in contracts, and make government data available to all online (see This intention, combined with his ‘can do’ philosophy, presages well for the open distribution and sharing of research data. His background in Kenya and Indonesia ensures an understanding of the need to redress the information-deprivation experienced still by researchers in the economically poor countries.

This message of renewed hope for greater openness in sharing information, comes at a time when there is growing evidence of the manifest benefits for individual researchers achieved by providing open access to their research output. The OptimalScholarship blog of Alma Swan,, recently provided yet another very encouraging story showing how deposit of articles in the Queensland University of Technology repository has significantly increased the downloads/impact/citation of deposited research articles. The QUT’s most prolific author, a chemist, Ray Frost, found that citations to his work increased from ~300 to 1200/year once he had deposited his papers in the QUT open access repository in 2004, as the charts below show.

So if you researchers out there want to make a difference, want your research to lead to new developments, want to raise your career prospects, the means are in your hands. Deposit copies of your published articles in your institutional repository, or publish in an OA journal in the first place. Yes, you can.

And if your institute is so behind the times that it hasn’t yet established an IR (remember, free software, quick to set up, free help to hand), please let the EPT know on We need to know of any difficulties (and of any successes too) in making your research as widely accessible as possible. There are people that can help, but they need to know the scale and kind of problems you face.

Posted by Barbara Kirsop