NWU staff members attended the SANLIC Conference in Durban (22 – 25 May 2017).
The biennial conference hosted by SANLiC (South African Library & Information Consortium) was attended by 4 Staff members of the NWU Library and Information Services.
The theme of the conference was: Disruption in the Library, the Laboratory, the Classroom. The focus of the conference was on how the Open Access movement is gaining momentum over the subscription model as the benefits to society of opening access to research outputs and educational materials become increasingly self-evident. Increasingly, research and academic institutions, either by choice or force of circumstance, are walking away from publisher deals based on the subscription model.
Against this backdrop, the South African higher education sector is in crisis and disruption. The conference assisted library and information practitioners in making sense of developments, honing skills and developing strategies to deal with the disruption.
Presentations were given on the advancement of the Open Access movement, licensing and negotiation principles, and knowing and evaluating the library’s electronic collection.
More than 30 vendors and publishers had exhibitions and some presentations were given on developments being done by them. The conference was therefore also geared to networking with publishers and vendors.
A pre-conference workshop was also attended by Dr Mathew Moyo (Senior Director: Library and Information Services), Prof Lucas Venter (Director: Institutional Office of Research Support) and Mrs Anelda van der Walt (NWU eResearch Initiative). This was a closed workshop for directors and research decision makers. The title of the workshop was: OA2020 – initiative for the large-scale transformation of the subscription system (Leveraging the power of institutional budgets and research outputs to secure the economic benefits of Open Access)
The social highlight of the conference was the gala dinner where the guest speaker was Dr Adriana Marais. Adriana is a quantum biophysicist and is best known as one of the 100 Mars One Project astronaut candidates in the running to move to the red planet in 2026. She shared some insights as a researcher and inspired delegates and reminded the conference why, despite the disruption, it is an exciting time in the four billion year history of life on Earth to be alive!