Australia has been a digital information facilitator for decades now. It pioneered in professional domain based gateways to information on Internet. Australia in a way was one of the first countries to move towards organized information services using information and resources on Internet.

There is high level of awareness of Open Access in communities of information professionals. 27 universities in Australia have institutional repositories. The software used more are EPrints, DSpace, ARROW (a VTLS commercial front end to Fedora), and ProQuest Digital Commons (bepress). Registry of Open Access Repositories reports a total number of 64 repositories from Australia.

Open access has also found policy level support.  For example the NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council) policy encourages open access for the research it funds. The council stated in its 2008 Funding Policy that in order to maximise the benefits from research they fund that researchers are encouraged to deposit their data in an electronic repository wherever possible.

However, the establishment of institutional repositories and the implementation of Open Access have been delayed by a range of factors, including the availability of staff expertise, access to appropriate technical infrastructure, acceptance by the academic community and uncertainty about the long-term sustainability of repositories.

Enabling Environment

A high level of awareness of OA in academic and scientific communities acts as an enabler making information Open. A good example is the Group of Eight (Australia) - the Group of Eight vice-chancellors, representing Australia's pre-eminent research universities that records commitment to open access initiatives that will enhance global access to scholarly information for the public good. Information Infrastructure is quite good and with no major connectivity issues and hence Australian universities and institutes offer and share information and publications through Institutional repositories.

Potential Barriers

The establishment of institutional repositories and the implementation of Open Access have been delayed by a range of factors. Some of the studies show that the main factors include lack of appropriate technical networked infrastructure, low acceptance by the academic community and uncertainty about the long-term sustainability of repositories.

Funding Mandate

Australian Research Council (ARC) under a section regarding Dissemination of research outputs states under funding rules that a reason must be provided if researchers do not deposit into a subject or institutional repository.

National Library of Australia: has implemented 'Open Publish' to advance the Library's understanding of hosting an open access journal publishing service using Open Journal Systems.

Universities have also come forward to recognize and encourage OA publishing. The Macquarie University: has voted that research articles be deposited in the online Macquarie University repository, Research Online, after acceptance for publication.

Kim Carr, the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, said he intended to implement reforms aimed at "unlocking public information and content, including the results of publicly funded research", following a review of the country's innovation.

A noteworthy mandate comes from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) which stated in its Funding Policy that in order to maximize the benefits from research they fund that researchers are encouraged to deposit their data in an electronic repository wherever possible.

List of Publications

  • Daly, R., & Organ, M., (2009). Research online: digital Commons as a publishing platform at the University of Wollonong, Australia. Serials Review, 35(3), 149-153.
  • Kennan, M.A., & Kingsley, D.A. (2009, February). The State of the Nation: a snapshot of Australian Institutional Repositories. First Monday, 14(2)
  • Shipp, J., (2006).  Open access in Australia. In N. Jacobs (Ed.), Open access: key strategic, technical and economic aspects. London: Chandos Publishing.

Past and Future OA related Activities

  • JCDL 2010 and ICADL - Digital Libraries - 10 years past, 10 years forward, a 2020 Vision. Gold Coast, Australia, June 21-25, 2010.
  • Sharing Data, Sharing Ideas. Sponsored by the National Archives of Australia. Canberra, May 27, 2009.
  • Social Collections, New Metrics, Maps and Other Australian Oddities. A seminar by Sebastian Chan. OA is among the topics. San Francisco, August 28, 2009.
  • Open Edge 2009. Darlinghurst, Australia, October 9, 2009.
  • Open Access and Research Conference - held in Brisbane from the 24th to the 25th of September to discuss ways to optimize access to and reuse of research especially that which is publicly funded.
  • A two-day Public Knowledge Project Workshop December 4 and 5, 2008 at the University of Sydney.
  • The RQF Explained: Information Management and Repository Needs for the RQF. (sponsored by Australia's APSR, ARROW and Department of Education, Science and Training). Sydney and Melbourne, February 13 and 15, 2007. (two meetings, two cities, two days)
  • The Adaptable Repository. (sponsored by Australia's ARROW). Sydney, May 3, 2007
  • eResearch Australasia 2007. (OA is among the topics). Brisbane, June 26-28, 2007
  • Improving Access to Australian Publicly Funded Research - Advancing Knowledge and the Knowledge Economy. (sponsored by Australia's National Scholarly Communications Forum). Canberra, July 16, 2007
  • Long-lived Collections: the future of Australia's research data. Canberra, Sept 11, 2007
  • Open Repositories 2006. (Sponsored by Australia's APSR, the ARROW project, MAMS, Macquarie University, and the University of Technology Sydney). Sydney, January 31 - February 3, 2006
  • Establishing a Digital Repository Service. (sponsored by the Australian Partnership for Sustainable Repositories). Four simultaneous workshops, August 9, 2005, in Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne
  • Open Access and Scholarly Communication Futures. (a CAVAL training workshop conducted by Colin Steele). Victoria, Australia, August 12, 2005. The course also offered in Brisbane, Sydney, Perth,Adelaide, Auckland and in Wellington
  • Open Access, Open Archives and Open Source. (sponsored by Australia's National Scholarly Communications Forum and the Australian Academy of the Humanities). Sydney, September 27, 2005
  • Australia ETD 2005 8th International Symposium on Electronic Theses & Dissertations. [1]. Sydney, September 28-30, 2005
  • Global Access Project (GAP) Inaugural International Forum. Macquarie University, September 29-30, 2005
  • Australian Research Online: A CAUL Forum on Research Repositories. Melbourne, November 28, 2005
  • Australian Government Agencies Publications access seminar. Canberra, March 19, 2004
  • Creative Licensing to Expand Australia's Public Domain. A Symposium. Sydney, May 11, 2004
  • Changing Research Practices in the Digital Information and Communication Environment. (sponsored by Australia's National Scholarly Communications Forum). Canberra, June, 2004
  • Open Publish 2002. Sydney, July 29 - August 1, 2002
  • Creating Digital Facsimiles and Scholarly Editions using TEI . Sydney, June 20-22, 2002
  • Death of the Book? Challenges and Opportunities for Scholarly Publishing. Sydney, March 7-8, 2003.
  • From Creator to Consumer in A Digital Age: International Conference on The Future of the Book. Cairns, Australia, April 22-24, 2003

(Modified on October 2013)

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