May 4, 2017

Looking back on the Open Symposium of the ADTE 2017: Access to Scientific Resources

Note from Profweb

Amandine is registered in the program Diplôme d’études supérieures spécialisées (DESS) en enseignement collégial at Laval University and she is presently undertaking an internship at Cégep Garneau in Biology. She participated in the open symposium of the ADTE on March 15, 2017, at Cégep de Lévis-Lauzon of her own initiative and braved the snow storm to do so. She reviews for us one of workshops that she attended.

The 2017 symposium of the ADTE was entitled “Open access to educational resources, for publication of scientific research, for open data and software for higher education.” Here is a report of my 2nd article about open access to scientific resources, public funds and free software (Libre accès aux ressources scientifiques, fonds publics et logiciels libres).

This presentation was to be initially carried out by Florence Piron, Teacher in the Information and Communication Department at Laval University. Due to the snowstorm, the presentation was given by Thomas Hervé Mboa Nkoudou, a PHD student and member of her research team.

Thomas insisted on the importance of facilitating access to knowledge, emphasizing the consequences of the system of publishing research results. At the moment, the majority of scientific publications are conducted under a closed and lucrative business model for editors of academic journals. Once the results are published, university libraries must subscribe to the journals and therefore pay the editors in order to have access to the content of the publications. The fact of having to pay for the right to have access to the text, even for universities that are looking for access to the published results of their own researchers, causes problems for all establishments, whether they are rich, such as Harvard, or impoverished, like in the southern hemisphere.

The Cognitive Injustice Concept

As Thomas highlighted, the problem is even more prominent for the 2nd group, as they already suffer from a lack of financial means, recognition and credit given to their publications. They often see themselves as devalued in comparison to northern hemisphere countries, including their researchers. Thomas then introduced the cognitive injustice concept. One way to remedy this problem comes from open access to scientific resources. This would provide an improvement in the productivity of researchers by giving them easier access to work that has already been carried out in their field and would allow for a democratization of access to science for various audiences such as universities, journalists, teachers or even citizens.

In order to reach open access, 2 possibilities can be identified:

  • The publication of results by researchers in the journals that have open access to content on the internet. However, these journals are in the minority and often still make authors pay important sums to be able to publish their results, which remains an obstacle for diffusion.
  • Automatic archiving of the results by the authors before they are published. This provides high visibility to the work and makes it accessible to the entire world.

Free Software: A Possible Solution

In order to facilitate and accompany open access to scientific resources, Florence Piron and Thomas Hervé Mboa Nkoudou also promote the use of free software such as Zotero (bibliographical resource manager) or Omeka (archiving publications with open access). The SOHA Project (Science ouverte en Haïti et en Afrique francophone) in which they participate, also proposes a guide to open scientific research documentation available on the internet.

If you wish to have more information, the book “Justice cognitive, libre accès et savoirs locaux”, written under the direction of Florence Piron and published by Éditions science et bien commun, presents the current issues of cognitive justice and open access in Haiti and French-speaking Africa.

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