Breaking the Walls of Jericho: A Foundation to Enhancing Open Access to Information and Knowledge – An African Perspective

Breaking the Walls of Jericho: A Foundation to Enhancing Open Access to Information and Knowledge – An African Perspective

Donald Rakemane, Olefhile Mosweu
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-5018-2.ch014
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Access to information and knowledge is a fundamental element in an informed and democratic society. Open access (OA) allows users to freely access information and knowledge if they have access to internet. This chapter presents barriers to enhancing OA to information and knowledge with a reference to Africa. The said barriers are akin to the Biblical Walls of Jericho which prevented Israelites from capturing their Promised Land of Canaan. It starts by defining what OA entails, highlights the characteristics of OA and its types. Furthermore, the chapter highlights opportunities brought about by OA to information and knowledge which supports the attainment of sustainable development goals (SDGs). Lastly, the chapter suggest strategies that can be adopted to enhance OA in Africa and thus make it a precursor for the achievement of SDGs. This study is qualitative and used content analysis from available literature to address the research problem.
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Definitions Of The Concept Of Open Access (Oa)

Open Access (OA) is “a revolution which has to a great extent to reduced intellectual monopoly, made provision for everyone to be a publisher, reduced the digital divide, drove the transparency and seriousness for academic integrity” (Dandawate & Dhanamajaya, 2019, p. 1). According to Mohaptra and Vandana (2019:236), OA is “freely available to users on the Internet and do not have subscription charges. OA is cost free, unrestricted, online access to a scholarly publication. It can be called as barrier-free-access.” Resources can be retrieved by anyone at any time without any cost (Velmurugan, 2011). OA literature is “digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. What makes it possible is the Internet and the consent of the author or copyright-holder (Suber, 2004). Munikwa (2018) remarked that OA movement emerged as a platform to make research freely available to the scientific community. It refers to “the removal of major obstacles to accessing, sharing and re-using the outputs of scholarly research” (Tennant et al, 2016, Online). Mudry (2014) underscored that the main purpose of OA is to provide information to readers in an online environment without any restrictions. From the above discussions, it can be deduced that OA is referring to resources that are available and ready to be access without any cost. Furthermore, it can arguably be stated that OA is an important instrument in enhancing access to information and knowledge as it allows user to access information free of charge. The intention of OA is to make information retrievable without any payment from the reader.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Open Access: the practice of making information freely accessible to users without a cost

Knowledge: the fact or condition of knowing something from practice or theoretical experience.

Africa: means the continent of Africa

Barrier: obstacle that prevents access to information and knowledge

Strategy: a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim.

Sustainable Development: development that does not cause harm to the environment and that last for as long as human interact with it.

Information: facts about something or someone communicated or learnt

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