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1st Luso-Brazilian Conference on Open Access

 - 08/11/2010

1st Luso-Brazilian Conference on Open Access LogoOn the 25-26 November 2010, the 1st Luso-Brazilian Conference on Open Access, jointly organized by the Documentation Services of the University of Minho, the Foundation for National Scientific Computing (FCCN) and the Brazilian Institute of Information on Science and Technology (IBICT).

This conference takes place following the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Ministers of Science and Technology of Portugal and Brazil in October 2009 (see Signing of Protocols on Cooperation in Science, Technology and Information Society between Portugal and Brazil), and giving continuation to the Conferences on Free Access to Knowledge, organized by the University of Minho in 2005, 2006, 2008 (see 3rd Conference on Free Access to Knowledge) and 2009 (see 4th Conference on Free Access to Knowledge), the last two under the project Open Access Scientific Repository of Portugal (RCAAP) of the initiative and with funding of the Knowledge Society Agency (UMIC), and co-funded by EU funds of the Knowledge Society Operational Programme (see Open Access Repositories).

The Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Ministers of Science and Technology of Portugal and Brazil predicted, among other things, the joint promotion of scientific of the enlargement of open/free access scientific repositories in both countries through the integration of such repositories in both countries, the joint development of an integrated system of metadata and search of the repositories in both countries, the establishment of Luso-Brazilian directories of open access scientific journals and institutional repositories, and the realization of a joint annual international meeting on open access scientific repositories, whose first concretization is precisely the conference that will now take place.

On the eve of this international meeting the integration of metadata and search system of the repositories RCAAP of Portugal and of Brazil was accomplished, as well as the availability of the beginning of the Luso-Brazilian Directory of Open Access Scientific Journals and Repositories (site in Portuguese). About just a year after the Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the ministers of Portugal and Brazil, the main objectives of integrating scientific open access repositories and journals directories were accomplished, giving a new dimension to these instruments in both countries.

The 1st Luso-Brazilian Conference on Open Access (text in Portuguese) aims to bring together the Portuguese and Brazilian communities involved in research, development, management services and definition of policies related to open access to knowledge, through free access repositories and journals. The conference themes include: repositories of scientific publications, open access scientific journals, repositories of scientific data, policies and mandates on open access, interoperability between repositories and other information systems to support scientific and academic activities, the impact of open access on activities and scientific communities.

The issue of open access to scientific information has received significant attention in Portugal, even on television. Actually, it was on the 27th of October of 2010 one of the central themes of the first edition of the programme "With Science" of RTP2 – Radio Television Portugal 2 (see Open Access Scientific Repositories in the Program "With Science" of RTP2 (text and video in Portuguese)) and it was also the theme of the program "4 X Science" of RTPN – Portuguese Radio Television News, of January 7, 2010 (see Open Access Scientific Repositories in the 4 X Science of RTPN (text and video in Portuguese)). From 18 to 24 of October 2010 several actions were held under the worldwide initiative "Open Access Week 2010" (text in Portuguese). Also recently, the Open Access Scientific Repository of Portugal (RCAAP) was present at a Conference held in Beijing, China, on 25-27 of October, 2010, by Eloy Rodrigues, director of the Documentation Services of University of Minho (see RCAAP Present at Open Access Conference in Beijing).

The Open Access Scientific Repository of Portugal (RCAAP), developed on the initiative of UMIC in 2008 through a project implemented in 2008 by the FCCN in collaboration with the University of Minho, is a computer platform for open access scientific information whose continuous operation is provided by FCCN.

This repository is available since December 2008 for open and free access of anybody with Internet access, and for use at any of the scientific and Higher Education institutions, including the housing of any repository of scientific and academic information, with corporate identity individualization of the specific institution and decentralized management of content by these institutions themselves as it would be the case of a system installed on their own computer services, but without direct costs to these institutions taking benefit of the installed capacity at the FCCN, which is the Portuguese NREN – National Research and Education Network.

The RCAAP allowed to integrate into a coherent system of metadata the previously existing open access scientific repositories, ensuring a single integrated entry point to the open access scientific repositories of all research and Higher Education institutions in Portugal. Portuguese researchers had thus available an open access repository of national scope to make openly available the results of scientific activities.

The computer platform that supports the repository was developed in the DSpace open source software created by the MIT for precisely this type of repositories and is now widely used in various places in the world, particularly in the MIT OpencourseWare.

With the creation and the development of RCAAP Portugal assumed a position in the European Union leading countries in the international movement for the provision and expansion of open access scientific repositories that has been playing an increasing role as a new instrument for the wide open access to results of scientific research in the Knowledge Society.

In fact, RCAAP, launched just two years ago at the 3rd Conference on Free Access to Knowledge, had a dazzling development, as it currently has 29 institutional repositories, covering all the public universities, some private universities, polytechnics, state laboratories and research institutions, and including more than 48,000 documents, when at the beginning of 2008 Portugal had only three institutional repositories with 7,300 documents. That is, in less than three years the number of institutional repositories increased tenfold, the number of documents increased sevenfold and the coverage of all national public university system was assured.

The implementation of this repository at FCCN is particularly appropriate as, besides the obvious cost savings and national scope, it is in this way guaranteed high connectivity due to FCCN being the Portuguese NREN which provides connectivity to all national scientific and higher education system and its international connectivity to the European research and education network GEANT, and having robust conditions that allow continuous service and better used of the installed capacity at FCCN.

The launching of RCAAP has strengthened the coherence of other e-Science services created on the initiative and with funding of UMIC that are made available by the FCCN, as are the b-on Knowledge Library Online, the central infrastructure of the e-U Virtual Campus, the high definition videoconferencing service for the scientific and higher education system, the – Repository of High Definition Video with Creative Commons and Digital Rights Management (text in Portuguese), the VoIP – Voice over IP system for all the public higher education system, the infrastructure of the INGRID – National Grid Initiative.

In this way, the advanced services over broadband that have been developed and made available in recent years by the FCCN to implement UMIC nationwide initiatives having in view the strengthening and cohesion of the whole scientific and higher education system. As a result of these initiatives, the Research and Education Network provided by FCCN affirms itself as the 1st Next Generation Network in Portugal, with an extensive infrastructure of its own in the dark fiber operated at up to 10 Gbit/s which covers close to 62% of the Portuguese public university system (institution size measured by the number of students enrolled), which in July of 2008 started to be also linked at 10 Gbit/s to the European network GEANT and in 2009 at 20 Gbit/s delivering a more than 16-fold increase of international bandwidth connectivity since mid-2005, and including a diverse range of powerful advanced services with high-impact on the community it serves, as should happen with any Next Generation Network, features that together make it one of the most developed networks of research and education on a national scale throughout the world.

The advantages of the availability and promotion of open access repositories of scientific information and data have been widely recognized. The OECD stressd them in the OECD Principles and Guidelines for Access to Research Data from Public Funding published in 2007, the prestigious British organization funder of research projects in the health sciences Welcome Trust has mandated from October 2006 the provision of open access to the results of collaborative R&D funding by them, and the same policy was adopted by the Research Councils of Economics and Social sciences, Medical Sciences, and Environmental Science of the United Kingdom, and also by the NIH – National Institutes of Health of USA. A growing number of North American universities have also adopted policies on open access to scientific and scholarly content, including MIT, under the MIT OpencourseWare, and Harvard University.

It is also worth mentioning initiatives within the European Union. The European Council on Competitiveness, Research, chaired by the Portuguese Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education, Jose Mariano Gago, unanimously approved in November 2007 the draft conclusions Scientific Information in the Digital Age prepared at the initiative of the Portuguese Presidency of the EU with strong involvement of the Knowledge Society Agency (UMIC), the European Research Council (ERC) decided in December 2007 that all publications resulting from projects it funds would be deposited in open access repositories (ERC Scientific Council Guidelines for Open Access), the European Universities Association (EUA) approved in March 2008 the recommendations of the Recommendations from the EUA Working Group on Open Access adopted by the EUA Council on the implementation of institutional open access repositories of scientific information produced by European universities.

In Portugal, the University of Minho was a pioneer in the movement of Open Access Scientific Repositories and established in 2003 the RepositóriUM. In 2007, repositories of this type became available at the University of Porto, ISCTE, University of Évora and Lisbon University. In November 2006, the Council of Rectors of the Portuguese Universities signed the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities. In 2010, several Portuguese approved or strengthened mandates requiring the deposit in open access repositories of the scientific production of their researchers and professors, notably University of Minho, University of Coimbra, Polythenic Institute of Bragança and Polytechnic Institute of Castelo Branco. Lisbon University is well advanced in also adopting a strong mandate on open access.

Last updated ( 18/08/2011 )