Mandate Open Access (OA) Says L.J.Haravu of Open Source ILMS-NewGenLib Fame

As a part of Open Access Week-2013 was organized the special lecture by Mysore Librarians and Information Scientists Association (MyLISA). Mr. L.J. Haravu, UNESCO Expert on implementation of technology base library services in South East Asia and Arab Countries, gave a special lecture on this occasion on the theme of “Open Access: The Philosophy and Trends” at the SBRR Mahajana First Grade College, Mysore, India on 26th October 2013.

Haravu started his lecture by citing some of the historical, cultural and social movements that have influenced the human civilization in the past. He pointed out that these movements have started because of some fundamental causes that hindered the human freedom and aspirations of common people. These movements have resulted in new legislations, regulations and reforms, he said. Continuing his lecture he said that movements have by-products or spin-offs.
During 1950s and 60s India witnessed a library movement in a big way, as a part of this there were movements in the areas of classification and indexing, thesaurus building. Now we have been witnessing a new kind of movements in the field of library automation, digitization, open source software adaptation, etc. 

While speaking on the philosophy behind OA movements, Haravu highlighted some of the major breakthrough in scholarly publishing domain which played crucial role in spreading OA movements. Some of the major changes in scholarly publishing domain that led to OA movements were: increased emphasis for publishing research papers (publish or perish syndrome), rapid increase in scholarly publications, rise in subscription cost of scholarly journals (200% to 250% of increase in the last 25 years), dwindling library budget, deprived of access to research materials, publishers monopoly and so on. Because of some of these reasons, stakeholders involved in scholarly publications – academicians, scientists, librarians, activists – launched OA movement.

The developments in contemporary technologies (Internet) provided them a great platform to provide access to information easily like never before. OA movement was formally launched in three international meetings in 2002-03, in Budapest, Bethesda and Berlin, he said. He said that there were two major rubrics of OA publishing models. One is OAJs (Open Access Journals) and another model is OAA (Open Access Archiving). He cited some of the examples for OAJs: Public Library of Science (PLoS), Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). For open access archiving major institutional repositories and OAIster. Because of OA movement, today we have, open courseware (MIT Open Courseware), open educational resources, open theses, open data and open source films, he said.


Haravu mentioned some of the barriers for open access, such as business model of OAJ publishers, emergence of predatory OA journals, authors’ reluctance for publishing their research papers in OA journals, etc.
 He urged the librarians to play an active role in creating awareness and educate academicians/executives about the importance of OA. He also urged the librarians to play crucial role in establishing institutional repositories in their respective intuitions and adopting OA mandate.