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[BOAI] Michelle Willmers on the state of Open Access: Where are we, what still needs to be done?

From: "Richard Poynder" <richard.poynder AT>
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2013 13:22:10 -0000

A new Q&A in a series exploring the current state of Open Access has been
published. This one is with Michelle Willmers, Project Manager of the
OpenUCT Initiative at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa.


A former journal publishing manager, Michelle Willmers was drawn to the Open
Access movement after witnessing international publishers sweep into South
Africa and acquire local journals. They then locked these journals behind
paywalls and sought to sell them to local academic institutions at prices
most simply could not afford.


For the South African academic community this was a case of bad to worse:
Historically South African research has not been published over much in
international journals. As such, it has tended to be invisible to the global
research community. Now it was in danger of becoming invisible to local
researchers as well.


Explaining her journey to OA Willmers says, "It was perhaps less of a case
of becoming an OA advocate than having a deep realisation that the local
scholarly communication paradigm was broken. The conversation around how to
first acknowledge and then address this led in the open access direction."


It was this same broken local context that led to the creation (in 1997) of
the South Africa-based service African Journals Online (AJOL) - which
Dominique Babini referred to in an earlier Q&A in this series. A local web
portal that enables African journals to make their content available online
(and so visible on a global basis without the need to cede ownership to
international publishers), AJOL currently hosts content from 462 African
journals, 150 of which are OA.


And it is this local context that saw the recent launch of SciELO-SA, a
South African version of SciELO (Scientific Electronic Library Online), the
online open-access publishing platform pioneered in Brazil. SciELO-SA was
launched with the content of 26 "free to access and free to publish" 
African journals, and it is expected that the service will eventually
include around 180 of the country's 300 journals


More here:


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