The NWU Library & Information Service and LIASA North-West celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Open Access Week. In line with this year’s theme: “Open in order to…”, the Libraries aimed to raise awareness and promote Open Access to the academic and research community.
The launch of Open Access Week was on Monday 23 October at Mahikeng Library with Dr Reggie Raju from UCT Libraries and Ms Denise Nicholson from WITS Library attending as guest speakers. Dr Raju presented on the topic “Open in order to promote social justice”. His presentation focused on how open access can be used to promote social justice in the African context. His emphasis was on ensuring that research output from African public universities reach as many people as possible with no access or fee restrictions as part of these universities’ contribution to social justice.
Ms Denise Nicholson presented on the topic “Open access and copyright”. As part of her presentation, Denise mentioned that currently there are discussions to amend the Copyright Act. The new act will introduce the concept of “fair use” which is meant to allow some level of copying of published documents for academic purposes. Denise also touched on the predatory publishing which elicited a lot of engagement with the researchers attending the session.
On Wednesday 25 October at the Potchefstroom Library, Kabelo Kakole (Librarian Institutional Repository) gave a presentation on predatory publishing and warned that it can dent your credibility. He gave advice on how to spot a predatory journal and illustrated the characteristics of good scholarly publishing vs predatory publishing. The extent of predatory publishing in South Africa is alarming. Researchers need to take note of certain criteria when choosing a journal. During a follow-up session Zine Sapula (Librarian Research Support) provided a hands-on session on how to create a data management plan for grant proposals.
The final sessions of Open Access Week at Vanderbijlpark Library on Friday 27 October, showed that eResearch is becoming a game changer in the pace and depth of research. Prof Jaco Hoffman & Prof Vera Roos’s presentation was based on the we-DELIVER project from the Tirelo Bosha programme – this is a public service improvement programme and partnership between the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) and the Belgian Development Agency. The aim of the project is to:
- involve staff and students across the three sites of the NWU
- obtain information about older persons’ phone usage
- determine their needs for services and resources in three pilot communities
- develop an app and website (ICT) to promote access to information
- develop a training manual for local government officials
- involve NGOs and local governments in using ICT.
Prof Johann Tempelhoff presented: “As fluid as water! The South African Water History Archival Repository (SAWHAR)” and highlighted the digitisation of the Water Collection and their experiences on the project, working towards an open access water research platform. Solutions of the 1960s which are valuable in our current situation are often forgotten. This unique selection has information on water research comprising of more than 30,000 documents. Once the inventory is complete, the scanning process will commence. Currently they only scan upon request and keep the soft copies for online storage.
Requests can be made via the website:
http://collections.nwu.ac.za/dbtw-wpd/textbases/sawhar/waterlit.html or through completing a request form and sending it via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Open access requires active participation of library and information professionals. NWU Libraries have taken steps to foster a culture of improved and open access to further advancement of the dynamic and ground-breaking research conducted by our academic staff.