Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Poet's Corner

Among all the important OA Week activities, there was some fun too. Here is the winner of the SHERPA Haiku ‘Spirit of Open Access’ Competition:

Set your research free
As flowers offer nectar
To the passing bee

Congratulations to Miggie Pickton, University of Northampton, UK!

And here are a few of the runners-up:

Like birds, authors' rights
fly away from their control
never to return
Nancy Stimson,
University of California, San Diego

A candle under
a bushel is wasted light
try open access
Rob Szarka,

Empowerment comes
To those who share their knowledge
With the world beyond
Allison Brown,
University of Otago, New Zealand

Enlightenment is
The addition of full text
To metadata
Neil Stewart,

Opening access
connected and well-informed
research moves forward
Jon Mason, InterCog

The locked door opens
And brilliant autumn sunlight
Pours into the room.
Padraig Manning, HSE

Help barriers fall
Repositories blossom
An open age dawns
Jessie and Tony Hey,
University of Southampton and Microsoft Research

Hard discoveries
Should not perish, closed, within
a domain price-locked.
Hélène LeBlanc,
Rogers Communications

OA is worldwide
bringing scholars together
and spreading their words
Nancy Stimson,
University of California, San Diego

In the autumn rains
open access means no trudge
to the library
Kate Hodgson,
University of Saskatchewan, Canada

And another that wasn’t in the runners-up list:

Gold leaves float down

secured in OA silos –

research advances

And a limerick to encourage deposit in IRs:

A geneticist working in Lima

Found a gene to zap helicobacter.

He made it OA

And before you could say

Jack was made a Distinguished Professor.


Monday, 19 October 2009


This week sees a great number of activities taking place around the world to celebrate the growth of open access to refereed published research findings!

Here is a first list of events as recorded in Open Access News. Please make sure your celebrations are made known to everyone - those taking place in developing and emerging regions could be posted as comments to this posting as well as on the OAN/OATP site.

Have a great time and may OA Week see a great surge forward towards providing a level playing field to researchers everywhere!

Image from

Monday, 12 October 2009

African universities to get greatly improved bandwidth

This was announced in Russell Southwood’s recent Balancing Act newsletter, October 9th 2009:

“African universities will buy 60 Gb of bandwidth and set up a continental network

Almost unnoticed African universities have come together to sort out their bandwidth problems in the new era of fibre. In April 2010, European NREN Dante will start to implement with eastern Africa’s UbuntuNet Alliance, a continental network to link up African universities with plentiful bandwidth to their colleagues across the globe. On 1 November West and Central Africa will set up its own network organisation to join the process. African universities currently spend an estimated US$1.4 million and are destined to become important players in network development.

15 million euros from the European Commission will go via European National Research Network (NREN) Dante to buy connectivity for African universities with a start date for implementation of April 2010. A 25% contribution will either come from the African Union or national Governments. According to UbuntuNet Alliance’s Tusu Tusubira:”Dante will buy the cross-border connectivity and UbuntuNet may get to operate it. UbuntuNet wants to be part of the implementation and to develop the opportunity.”

In advance of this happening, National Research Networks (NRENs) have been buying their own capacity in considerable quantity at low prices that acknowledge universities are a different type of customer. . . .

South African NREN TENET got the ball rolling by buying an STM64 from Seacom, which is just short of 10 Gbps. .. . . As an independent cable provider Seacom understood the importance of the university market as an “anchor tenant” early whereas some of the other telco-initiated cable providers were keener on universities buying individually at higher prices. As Dunacan Martin, CEO of TENET tells it:”Seacom has been very supportive.”

”By the end of year, the South African research and education backbone SANRen will (be) connected and the full bandwidth can be delivered to the member universities. ”

. . . . However all is not plain sailing as the capacity will have to cross borders to supply universities in neighbouring countries. The problem as Martin has discovered is as follows:”Cross border connectivity prices are controlled by unpublished agreements between incumbent operators on either side of the border. One of the negotiating partners, Telkom, said it would drop its prices to accommodate us but the other country’s telco would not agree”.

On the West and Central side of the continent, the Co-ordinator of Research and Education Networking of the Association of African Universities, Boubakar Barry has been the moving force behind getting an UbuntuNet Alliance-like structure together that will be launched on 1 November.

Barry emphasises the unique nature of universities as customers: ”Providers should not consider the Higher Education and Research institutions as normal customers. They are critical for the development of Africa. It’s now very important for them to be able to part of the game with this type of infrastructure for global academic collaborations. . . . The same rules cannot apply to Higher Education and Research Institutions that apply to other operators. It’s a public good. If you train and educate people, it benefits the private sector as they need highly trained engineers. Networked universities will provide them.”

So, a major step forward, a recognition of the value to economies of research connectivity, but a few hurdles to be crossed on the road to equality of access to global research. For the full article click here.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Open Access Week events!

Open Access Week (19-23 October 2009) is on the horizon and there are many activities planned to mark the occasion. For a full list see. But here are a few activities of special interest to EPT people:

- A recent announcement from the NECOBELAC project (European and Latin American Country collaboration in open access dissemination of information for the protection of public health)is of interest. A workshop is to be held in Rome in October and a leaflet giving further information about the programme and speakers has just been produced – available from here.

- A UK competition has been launched to find the institutional repository that has made the highest number of full text deposits during OA Week! Only eligible for UK IRs, but what a good idea to get those IRs filled! See. Other countries could copy the idea and if you haven’t organized an OA week event yet, this is an easy and very worthwhile way to do so.

- The formal constitution of COAR: the Confederation of Open Access
Repositories is scheduled to take place in Open Access Week 2009. See. An outcome from the DRIVER infrastructure, COAR is a community-driven approach, where institutions can determine how they want their repositories to be deployed. The action plan is directed towards international organisational support for Open Access in research infrastructures around the globe. The EU’s DRIVER programme has lead to a growing number of international developments supporting the exchange of research information between the EU member states and other regions, see for example NECOBELAC, above.

Good wishes for a happy and fruitful OA Week!