January 23, 2013
A few days ago I wrote about new Open Access development initiatives in Africa, including the recently introduced program by EIFL, and the OA policy at the University of Nairobi. Meanwhile, there has been an announcement of a new project called Hadithi – a platform for scientific content published in the Open Access model. The official opening ceremony will take place on January 24 in Nairobi, Kenya.
This new repository is intended for university students, academics and researchers. It will be a platform that integrates content from different repositories in one location. To this end, Hadithi has concluded partnerships with institutions that have introduced Open Access policies. The platform will include content not only from the African continent but also from other parts of the world. Hadithi is going to offer search tools and will allow users to download scientific materials, as well as to upload peer-reviewed articles.
Hadithi describes its goals and rationale in the following words:
“Our mission is to maximize the impact of academic research while engaging communities of learning and making societies critically conscious through increased access to quality academic information. In particular, we see our platform as a stepping stone toward enabling equal rights to education for students in developing countries. We believe that improved access to academic research has multiple benefits: it provides a wealth of information into the public arena for any interested citizen, encourages peer-to-peer learning, enables rich discussions within communities, nurtures an environment of increased creativity and innovation and (most importantly) leads to more transparent societies.”
The opening of the platform is a next step in the development of Open Access in Africa. Openness and universality of this repository will allow access to research materials for students, researchers – in short, for everyone. Free and publicly available research results can help to accelerate growth of developing countries; assist the dissemination of knowledge and of education. It is good news that a decision was taken to launch a platform designed to integrate content from different sources in one place. An introduction of this kind of service allows accumulation of materials and easier access to them. Fragmentation of repositories in the Green OA is a huge problem, not only for Africa. Hundreds, if not thousands of small institutional repositories do not facilitate proper access to free scientific content and do not provide authors with adequate visibility of academic books and articles. Content accumulation in this case is the most desirable objective, but it does not, of course, preclude the existence of smaller repositories.
I will watch the developments of the Hadithi initiative with great interest in the next coming years.