UNESCO in collaboration with the Government of Jamaica, University of West Indies and the UNESCO National Commission for Jamaica, organized The Regional Latin American and Caribbean Consultation on Open Access to Scientific Information and Research from 5 to 8 March 2013 in Kingston.
More than 50 experts and policy specialists from 24 different countries (Argentine, Bahamas, Belize, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guyana, Grenada, Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico, Peru, Suriname, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sint Maarten, Uruguay and Venezuela) participated in the Consultation.
Valuable inputs were provided by Julian Robinson, Minister of state for Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Jamaica; Lisa Hanna, Minister of Youth and Culture, Jamaica; Sandrea Falconer, Minister for Information, Jamaica; and Koji Tomita, Charge d’Affaires ad interim, Embassy of Japan for Jamaica, Bahamas and Belize. Interventions were also made by Arun Kashyap, UNCT coordinator, Jamaica, and Evert Hannam, Secretary General of the Jamaican National Commission for UNESCO. The Consultation was made possible with the generous grant from the Government of Japan (JFIT).
The main objective of the Regional Consultation was to share how free and unrestricted access to research and scholarly communication can increase the impact of research and benefit research institutions, authors, journal publishers and the society as a whole.
The Consultation examined how the context of Open Access in the region can add to the productivity, visibility and accessibility of research and research outcomes. The Consultation deliberated on modalities for developing mechanisms, mandates, and policy frameworks that surround Open Access.
It provided an opportunity for reflecting upon case studies and examples of how Open Access has influenced teaching, research and development in the region.
Participants also reviewed the UNESCO Open Access policy templates and developed a work plan for implementing Open Access activities in the region. They also had an opportunity to contribute towards identifying priority areas for intervention to achieve “Openness” in the region and in individual countries.
Among others, the Regional Consultation on Open Access achieved the following results:
- National stakeholders were enabled to specify trends and emerging challenges, related to the impact of open access on scientific information acquisition and sharing.
- Barriers or support mechanisms for Open Access policy adoption were identified.
- Context and the utility of Open Access policy and regional specificities were analyzed.
- Specific technology generated trends and their consequences for development of scientific information and research sharing were better understood.
- Collaborative efforts behind the Open Access movement were discussed, and their policy implications were evaluated and appreciated.
- Best practices of Open Access initiatives from the region and beyond were shared.
Specific recommendations of the Consultation have been sent to the respective National Commissions for UNESCO, Permanent Delegations to UNESCO and key organizations for follow-up actions.