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Open Access Curricula for Researchers and Library Schools

UNESCO Member States have recognized that knowledge plays a key role in economic growth, social development, cultural enrichment and democratic empowerment. This decision has influenced UNESCO‘s Open Access programme, which focuses on bridging knowledge pools on OA across the world and building capacities to better understand Open Access.

Within the overall framework of UNESCO’s strategy on Open Access, the launch of OA Curricula for Researchers and Library Schools highlights its efforts for enhancing capacities to deal with Open Access issues. The carefully designed and developed sets of OA Curricula for researchers and library and information professionals are based on two needs assessment surveys, and several rounds of face-to-face and online consultations with relevant stakeholders.

These Curricula will soon be converted into self-directed e-learning tools, which will enable users to self-assess their knowledge on Open Access and take a learning pace that is initiated and directed by the learners themselves. UNESCO also aims to strengthen this initiative by translating the OA Curricula into several languages that will increase their reach and impact.

The complete set of five OA modules for researchers and four OA modules for library schools is available online and can be downloaded by clicking on the following links:

Open Access for Library Schools

Introduction to open access

The Open Access movement is gaining momentum, thanks to technology, efforts for quality control and its measureable impact on productivity and further research. It needs to be strengthened with participation of every researcher, scientist, educationist and librarian. This module covers the following issues: definition of scholarly communication and OA, and differentiation between the various forms of OA; rights management, including copyright, copy-left, authors’ rights and related intellectual property rights; and the impact of OA within scholarly communication.

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Open access infrastructure

Launching an e-journal or knowledge repository requires meticulous planning in terms of need, scope, technology, administration, legal issues, finances and sustainability. This module deals with open access resources of all types, their definition, nature, features, planning, executing, choosing technical standards and following procedures, as well as later maintenance for all parties involved: host, sponsors, users and prospective content creators. Emphasis is made on e-journals, e-repositories and emerging trends in the open access movement.

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Resource optimization

This module focuses on resource optimization and discusses how the open access environment can be promoted and how the collection development may be facilitated by integrating open access resources with institutional and library resources. At the end of this module, the learner is expected to be able to foster an enabling environment for Open Access, and facilitate collection development by integrating library services. The module consists of three units focusing, respectively, on OA mandates and policies, OA content management, and harvesting and integration.

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Interoperability and retrieval

Retrieving information (IR) is the prime concern of any information storage and retrieval system. This module focuses on interoperability issues, resource description and also the information retrieval in the context of open access resources. The objective is to help readers understand interoperability issues, perpetual access, importance of standards, and the integration of different products in building institutional repositories. The module also focuses on various retrieval features which can be considered for development of IR system for open access resources.

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Open Access for Researchers

Scholarly communications

Researchers, scholars and scientists’ main business is scholarly communication. However, the term gained popularity only in the 1970s, as access to peer reviewed and scholarly communication became difficult. This module has four units covering introduction to scholarly communication, peer reviewed journals, electronica journals and databases, and the serials crisis. At the end of this module, the learner is expected to be able to explain philosophy, mission, and objectives of scholarly communication, describe the process and different channels of scholarly communication, and discuss its dysfunction.

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Concepts of Openness and Open Access

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in the late twentieth century had become enablers in empowering citizens worldwide in all segments. Openness in obtaining, processing, publishing and disseminating research information becomes easily achievable due to spread of ICTs. This Module discusses different perspectives of openness, particularly those which deal with the open access movement.

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Intellectual property rights

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) are set of rights associated with creations of the human mind. This module has three units covering the basics of IPR, the components of copyright and the conventions associated with it, as well as the emergence of liberal licensing to share human creation in the commons. The Creative Commons approach permits the authors to exercise their rights to share in the way they intend to. Creative Commons provides six different types of licenses, of which the Creative Commons Attribution license is the most widely used in research journals.

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Research evaluation metrics

At present, research is going on all over the world practically in all subjects and generating millions of research articles. In some cases, the research works are generating very good results, in most cases mediocre, and in some cases negative results. Therefore, evaluation of research outputs becomes sine qua non. This module dwells on a number of methods (including old and new) available for research evaluation. Various tools and techniques are discussed in details to help researchers in strengthening their efforts in enhancing scientific productivity, visibility, reputation, and impact of their research works.

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Sharing your work in open access

This is the last Module of the course on Open Access for researchers. The two units in this Module aim to help you share your work in Open Access through repositories and journals in order to be able to understand the publication process involved in dissemination of scholarly works; to choose appropriate Open Access journals and repositories for sharing research results; and to use social media to promote personal research work and build reputation.

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