In a virtual colloquium, the NWU LIS celebrated International Open Access Week on 26 October 2021 with about 100 attendees. In his opening address, Prof Jeffrey Mphahlele, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation (NWU) touched on open science, open data as well as Boloka, the Institutional Repository. He alluded that “we have to adopt open access to information”. Our strategic goal as an institution in research is about straightening research innovation with a focus on impactful globalization. He encouraged all researchers to publish in open access journals and stressed the importance of supporting scientific research through public funding.
The LIS Open Access Initiatives and Technologies
The increased emphasis on Open Science has given rise to new support areas for the Library and Information Service (LIS) environment. The NWU LIS is continuously reviewing its catalogue of research services in order to keep pace with the changes and demands of Open Science.
The NWU LIS supports open access publishing and dissemination of information through open access platforms such as Open Journal system (OJS), NWU Institutional Repository (Boloka), NWU Research Data Repository (Dayta Ya Rona), DMPTool, and ORCID. The Librarians for Research and Scholarly Communication provide advanced data and information literacy group training or one-on-one consultations to postgraduates and researchers.
The role of universities in opening up access through Open Educational Resources
Prof Jako Olivier touched on the role of universities in opening up access through Open Educational Resources (OER) and linked to the theme of this year’s Open Access Week: “It matters how we open knowledge: building structural equity“.
The cost of openness, the role of universities, the context of the North-West University, and the way forward were discussed.
He referred to the questions of how we as individuals contribute to open knowledge, how do we move from open access to open educational practices and concluded with the important matter of who can change publication practices.
Open Science Policies and Mandates: Open Access to publications and research data
Ms. Iryna Kuchma proceeded by touching on Open Science practices such as early and open sharing of research, research output management, measures to ensure reproducibility of research outputs, and more other practices. Ms. Kuchma explained the importance of making metadata open under a creative commons domain in line with the FAIR principles. She touched on Open Access policies, how the universities commit to the social justice principles of open access. She actively seeks to share South African and African research and teaching imperatives, which will contribute to the socio-economic development of Africa.
After a full programme, a Q & A session on open research practice was facilitated by Prof Jeanetta du Plessis, Deputy Dean: Research and Innovation (NWU) and Prof. Leon De Beer, Director: WorkWell Research Entity (NWU).