Social Justice Driven Open Access Bridging The Information Divide
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“Open access is not only access and consumption but also and above all, production and dissemination...…[and] has the potential to contribute to and foster local research and development” Schöpfel (2017).
The open access (OA) movement has been hailed in Africa as a significant contributor to its development as it opens access to scholarly literature which is critical for development. However, the current trajectory of the OA movement is devoid of the principles of development. And, the absence of a social justice underpinning reaffirms the status quo. The continued global north dominance of the OA movement negates the transformation of scholarly communication as the northernised publishing landscape remains unchanged with global south scholarship ‘retaining’ its relegation to the periphery of the world’s knowledge production.
There is very little debate that the publishing industry has captured the OA movement with the rollout of article processing charges. Influential institutions such as the Max Planck Society and major funders are pandering to these cartels of commercial publishers. The introduction of transformative agreements may be a solution for the afore mentioned however, it is a death nail for Africa. What Africa needs are transformational agreements, that is, agreements that transforms scholarly communication resulting in the denorthernisation of the publishing landscape, the inclusion of the marginalised research voices and the opening of channels for the improved dissemination of African scholarship.
This presentation will take a transformative world view of OA, a view that is driven by social justice priorities and equity principles for inclusion resulting in the growth and development of society.