The Future of Research Communications and e-Scholarship

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Session: Working beyond borders: supporting global creation of and engagement with knowledge

19th April 2016

Chair: Dominique Babini (CLACSO)

What are the stories of success in research and knowledge communication from outside Europe and North America? What do those stories tell us about how to improve research communication globally?

Should Research Communications be Shared?: Indigenous Peoples’ Knowledge, Climate Change, and Research Contracts in South Africa

Laura Foster

Department of Gender Studies, Indiana University Maurer School of Law, USA.

In South Africa, difficult questions are emerging around how to promote sharing and access to scholarly research communications and findings. In 2014, a group of researchers initiated a project to examine how indigenous peoples articulate the effects of climate change and their strategies for adaptation. The multi-institutional group consists of researchers from a non-profit organization called Natural Justice (SA), University of Cape Town (SA), Indiana University (USA), and members of the Indigenous Griqua peoples (SA). In conducting their study, researchers were forced to confront the competing needs to both share and not share their research findings openly.  On the one hand, outside funders required researchers to report their findings through open access publications and creative commons licenses. Given histories of settler colonialism and the taking of indigenous peoples’ knowledge, Indigenous Griqua peoples asked researchers to not share all their findings and wanted to give input on publication decisions. In response, researchers developed a series of research contracts signed by all parties to protect the interests of indigenous peoples, while finding ways to promote the open sharing of scholarly findings.  This presentation challenges the automatic assumption that scholarly information should be openly shared and accessed.

The Impact of Brazil's Virtual Herbarium in e-Science

Dora Ann Lange Canhos

Centro de Referência em Informação Ambiental, Campinas, Brazil

Maintaining an e-infrastructure to make scientific information on biodiversity openly available on-line to all interested, still represents a challenge after 14 years of continuous development of thespeciesLink network in Brazil. For the last 7 years, Brazil’s Virtual Herbarium has been under development as part of the speciesLink network. It has been built as a well-structured and collaborative e-infrastructure, enabling free access to otherwise unavailable data, opening a myriad of applications and uses of information and knowledge, leading to new opportunities and forms of collaboration, which in turn, contribute to the production of new knowledge.  The presentation will address issues related to the impact of Brazil’s Virtual Herbarium, together with strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats encountered. Policy frameworks to secure long-term funding, new governance models and adequate evaluation systems are still lacking and represent important challenges that must be addressed.

Research is also for non-scholar audiences: Lessons from Latin America

Juan Pablo Alperin

Canadian Institute for Studies in Publishing and Public Knowledge Project, Simon Fraser University

In Latin America, nearly one quarter of all downloads to peer-reviewed journals come from individuals not affiliated with a university. This non-university audience is facilitated by the extensive adoption of open access models of publishing, which provide free access to nearly all the peer-reviewed literature from the region. The prominence of open access, combined with the high presence of a non-academic audience points to a relationship (not necessarily causal) between access and public engagement that warrants further investigation.  To start this investigation, this presentation offers the results of a series of micro-surveys conducted directly on Latin America's two largest scholarly journal portals, and, which collectively publish over 1,300 journals from Latin America. By analyzing the demographics and motivations of the audiences that access these portals, we gain a deeper understanding of the role that research plays in a global context. 


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