This week it is Open Access Week. [ see introduction video here] Institutions all around the world are celebrating it while putting forward new initiatives, ideas and challenges which aim at both creating awareness about the movement instigated by the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) and then the Cape Town Open Education Declaration, and push the boundaries a bit forward when it comes to make one’s research and work more visible and available in the context of the Network Society.
The Cape Town Open Education Declaration seeks to accelerate efforts to promote open resources, technology and teaching practices in education.
For some time now UNESCO has also been engaged in promoting the idea of Open Content (OERs). Institutions such as MIT, Yale or the Open University have also opened their knowledge “safes’ to the world. Basically, this movement implies a massive change in the role of Educational Institutions and also in the way that people not only gain access to content, independently of their whereabouts or economic background, but use it effectively to their own benefit, i.e, to their own learning and even teaching, and personal and professional growth.
Our University has also embraced this movement. Actually, we are the 100th Institution to announce that an Open Access Policy will be implemented already in January 2010.
This is exciting news for us. As lecturers, researchers and (PhD) students we will be part of an Institution which seeks to be at the very forefront of extremely important initiatives for research, teaching and learning. These measures will innovate the Institution, and equally take our practice to a higher level when it comes to give visibility and access to our work. Open Access and Open Content policies will enable us all to embrace what is believed to be the main mission of Education: to provide individuals with opportunities to learn and grow intellectually. With the widespread of the web, this no longer has to be a solo activity, but rather a collective one, which will have its roots in meaningful collaboration, communal and networked learning, and also research. Educational practice, in general, does not deserve to be isolated!
As our Vice-Chancellor last month declared in his Keynote presentation the role of Higher Education is to give IP away. I could not agree more. In that sense, I think we can say that through such initiatives we are slowly, but progressively, walking towards the realization of one of the main goals of Universitas. i.e, to open up a new Universe of possibilities and learning opportunities for us, Lifelong Learners.
The song already says: “Time’s, they are a changing…”. And Yes, indeed, changes don’t always come easy. But these are equally exciting times. The constant advancements of a society in change, the sophisticated channels for communication, and the revolutionized improvements of the web, as a fundamental platform for the exchange of information, and, most importantly, the construction of knowledge (knowing), are driving what is known as the Educational Shift.
As mentioned earlier, this will have implications on the role of Educational Institutions and their agents (both staff and students). But these will be topics for future posts…
This week [as any other week actually! 🙂 ] I will be bookmarking resources on Open Content and Open Access here. In the spirit of Open Access I want to share them with you, or better, I want to point them out to you, as they have always been there for you to access them through our open, collective pool (which you too can contribute to) of what we consider to be useful bookmarks.
So now it is your turn. What are your thoughts about Open Access? How do you see yourself engage in it? How will this help you particularly, and others in general? What kind of opportunities will this movement offer? What are the implications?