A 2 day conference on the state of the Open Access (OA) movement in Africa was held in Nairobi in November 2010 and the slides and videos from the presentations are now freely available online http://www.biomedcentral.com/developingcountries/openaccessafrica/
Hosted by BioMed Central in partnership with ComputerAid this conference explored the wide range of issues, challenges and benefits of Open Access in Africa. Open Access is a movement that promotes and provides free online access to research to all. There were a number of speakers from African academic institutions, open access journal publishers in Africa, UNESCO, BioMed , African Journals Online, Malaria Atlas, African Journal of Food Agriculture Nutrition and Development, SunScholar and ComputerAid.
Among topics discussed were the importance of Open Access Repositories in providing access to research that was previously unavailable. How OA helps to remove the barriers of high journal subscriptions. The sharing of knowledge among African research communities and the developed world. Highlighting important resources such as African Journals Online http://www.ajol.info/ and the Malaria Atlas http://www.map.ox.ac.uk/ . How OA can challenge traditional ideas of impact and citations as true measures of research. ComputerAid http://www.computeraid.org/ role in reducing poverty through ICT. The role of OA in preventing ‘lost science’ and building inclusive knowledge societies and tips on how to get published.
Open Access proves that greater access to knowledge benefits all and the greatest fear for research is obscurity.