Call it synchronicity: in the last 10 days three major events have taken place in the field of Open Access:
- Berlin 5 Open Access: From Practice to Impact: Consequences of Knowledge Dissemination
- Open Education 2007: Localizing and Learning
- Web2forDev – Participatory Web for Development
After having attended the Web2forDev Conference and being right now preparing my speech for the UOC UNESCO Chair in Elearning Fourth International Seminar: Web 2.0 and Education, I can’t help but think on equal terms: open access is — will be… should be — the main axis of Science, Education and Development.
I think that these three fields — or social spaces — have several things in common, and are converging as time goes by and the Knowledge Society settles and becomes more pervasive in our lives:
- It’s about knowledge creation and knowledge diffusion, be it positive or normative, be it basic or applied.
- It’s all about networks of knowledge creation and distribution: scientists, educators, students, nonprofits, development agencies, communities of beneficiaries, counterparts… (I don’t like some of this jargon, but is the best I could find).
- They’re unbalanced networks that are becoming more balanced in account of the contribution made by individual nodes to the whole network: senior vs. junior scientists, teachers vs. students, nonprofits vs. counterparts, donors vs. receivers…
- They are networks challenged by meritocracy: the challenge on scholar networks is evident; but also educational networks, where knowledge expires very quickly and younger generations are proner to learn some things better than older ones; or development networks, where “localization” of strategies, of content, brings relevance to the end user, a passive agent in former development strategies.
- It’s about adding up:
standing on ye shoulders of Giantsto see further in science; more (and better) educational resources; synergies and best/good practices with scarce resources to achieve efficiency and efficacy in development projects.
- And it’s about adding to remain, contributing to the network not to be send off the network: not just in terms of relevance (i.e. meritocracy) but of pure belonging (i.e. subsistence). What you give is what you get.
Content — data, information, knowledge — is input, capital and output in a knowledge society, and the essence of science, education and development as it is required to draw strategies, to feed knowledge production, to put findings into practice and transfer them. And because it happens in a networked society you’ll be transferring them on and through a network. And my opinion is that this will be more and more difficult to do with undisclosed procedures. Thus why open access.
If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:
Peña-López, I. (2007) “Open Access: the common ground for Science, Education and Development” In ICTlogy,
#49, October 2007. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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