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Role of Open Access in the post-2015 development agenda highlighted in a conference at UNESCO

Despite rapidly advancing technological developments, fully open and accessible research and innovation has not been put into widespread practice until today. The 6th Conference on Open Access and Scholarly Publication, which took place at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris from 17 to 19 September 2014, highlighted the role of Open Access within the framework of the post-2015 development agenda.

Organized by UNESCO and the Organization of Open Access and Scholarly Publication Association, the Conference gathered more than 150 participants. It recognized the power of new technologies as cross-cutting multipliers of sustainable development and focused, inter alia, on the following issues:

  • current state and practices of the Open Access publication;
  • Open Access publication challenges, role of libraries and other research institution in fostering Openness;
  • Open Data and Open Data publication issues;
  • partnerships and collaborations among stakeholders as an enabling mechanism for effective Open Access publication; and
  • Open Access issues around the world.

Opening the meeting, Getachew Engida, Deputy Director-General of UNESCO, stated, "We meet to explore important questions about the future of Open Access and about harnessing its power for the benefit of all societies. The concept and practice of Open Access has gone from strength to strength, and it carries today a sharp new relevance, when countries are considering new approaches to poverty eradication and sustainable development, where access to knowledge is essential.”

UNESCO's Open Access (OA) programme is designed to foster the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to make peer-reviewed research accessible to all. UNESCO promotes OA with particular emphasis on scientific information (journal articles, conference papers and datasets of various kinds) emanating from publicly funded research. In cooperation with partners, UNESCO works to improve awareness about the benefits of OA among policy makers, researchers and knowledge managers. Through its global network of Field Offices, Institutes and Centers, UNESCO facilitates the development and adoption of OA-enabling policies. In addition, UNESCO engages in global OA debates and cooperates with local, regional and global initiatives in support of OA.