Open Access Africa 2012: Expertise and Energy

My favourite time of the year is fast-approaching… The annual Open Access Africa event will be held at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, 4-5 November. Researchers, librarians, journal editors, research funders and other decision-makers will share ideas on how open access publishing can support science and medicine in Africa. Such a gathering of different professions, combined with a real desire and energy for using open access to benefit African research, promises to make this a unique and lively conference. And it is a free event to attend.

Open Access Africa 2012 draws on the wealth of expertise based at the University of Cape Town, in addition to prominent speakers from around the world. Talks will be intermixed with panel discussions to provide interaction and open discussion. The full program has just been released.

This year’s themes reflect the need for a clear message about what open access is and the importance of sustainable funding for African journals. Speakers will be taking on some complex issues, such as Eve Gray on the rapidly changing policy environment, The Wellcome Trust with their perspective on funding and sustainability, and the Economic Commission for Africa on the state of Research & Development in Africa. The power of scientific communities and social media will be considered in terms of advocacy, and there will be a look inside open access journals based in Ghana and the UK. Capacity building will be covered as an important complementary theme; the Association of Commonwealth Universities will look at capacity building in research, and African Journals Online will bring expertise in journal publishing.

There is still time to register to attend. So, if you want to learn about open access or would like to see things from a different perspective, we hope to see you in Cape Town.

Ruth King, Publisher at BioMed Central

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