UNESCO in LAC
UNESCO has been supporting initiatives in Latin America and the Caribbean that have contributed to the development and growth of the open access movement in the region.
UNESCO offices in Latin America and the Caribbean , working together with UNESCO representations in each country of the region, and with local and regional organizing institutions, have been active supporters of local and regional events, initiatives and activities to achieve the open access movement.
Among an extensive list of sponsored activities and events, a few examples are mentioned here:
The CDS/ISIS software has been a key technology for the development of open access bibliographic databases. Originally conceived at the International Labour Organization (ILO), UNESCO decided to adapt the CDS/ISIS software in the 1980s, to run on personal computers, minicomputers, UNIX, Windows and other possibilities. In collaboration with BIREME -with endorsement from UN agencies, CEPAL/CLADES, IDRC and other agencies- UNESCO has supported the development and growth of this software in the region, including training and technical support for national focal points and distributors of the software, for hundreds of bibliographic databases developed, many of which are today digital repositories with open access to full-text collections from Latin America and the Caribbean, examples: BVS and LILACS (health), Scielo (multidisciplinary), SIDALC (agriculture), CLACSO (social sciences), CLAD/SIARE (public management and policies), etc. The CDS/ISIS events and training activities have provided updating for professionals working with this software, with active participation of the Unesco Regional Bureau for Communication and Information for Latin America and the Caribbean (Oficina Regional de Comunicación e Información para América Latina el Caribe, ORCILAC) in Quito, and the UNESCO Information for All Program. Examples of CDS/ISIS events in the region:
- the third edition of the World Meeting of ISIS who met on 14 to 16 of September 2008 in Rio de Janeiro, at the invitation of BIREME/PAHO/WHO
- II World Meeting of CDS/ISIS, 20-23 September 2005, Salvador de Bahía, Brasil. At this meeting was issued the first declaration in the region for support to open access -“Salvador Declaration” (2005).
- CDS/ISIS Regional Meeting for Latin America and Caribbean. 3-5 February 2003, La Havana – Cubahttp://www.cnea.gov.ar/cac/ci/isis/novedades/distrilatinos/IX_reunion.htm
- IX Regional meeting of Distributors of Latin American and the Caribbean of CDS/ISIS,Buenos Aires Argentina October 23-25, 2000http://library.wur.nl/isis/declspa.html
- 1º World CDS-ISIS Congress, Bogotá, May 1995
- The UNESCO International Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean - IESALC (Caracas, Venezuela) dedicated a 2011 issue of its Journal (Revista Educación Superior y Sociedad - ESS) to the impact of open access in higher education in the region. In the IESALC report on trends in higher education (2008) it describes the impact open access regional initiatives can have in science policy in the region.
The UNESCO Regional Bureau for Sciences in Latin America and the Caribbean (Montevideo, Uruguay)
- in its Communication and Information Program has among its working areas: access to information, and also development of contents.
- In 2010, as a contribution to the use of open source software in open access digital libraries, it published a book about experiences in Latin America in the use of open source Greenstone software for digital libraries
- In the Declaration of Latin America and the Caribbean on the tenth anniversary of the World Conference on Science included recommendations for Open Access and Dissemination of Scientific and Technological Information
UNESCO Regional Bureau for Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean (Havana, Cuba), supports the annual event in Cuba INFO with open access activities. INFO2012 also will include the II Forum on Open Access.
The INFOLAC (Society and Knowledge) portal has been for more than 20 years a virtual communication space whose main objective is to share information from different institutions and players who have wanted to contribute to building the Information Society in Latin America and the Caribbean.
UNESCO Office in Kingston promotes open access and activities in the English speaking Caribbean countries and international cooperation with other regions.
Since 2011, the INFOLAC portal is administered by the University of Colima, with the endorsement of the UNESCO Caribbean Office. “INFOLAC”, a quarterly publication of the Information and Informatics Section of the UNESCO Office in Kingston, is distributed in English and Spanish.
Promotes participation of English spealking Caribbean countries in the “El Dorado” Digital Library of Latin America and the Caribbean (University of Colima, México)
Sponsors with The Inter-Academies Panel (IAP) a Program on Digital Knowledge Resources and Infrastructure in Developing countries and a specific project of open access repositories in the Caribbean: Open Institutional Repositories Infrastructure network for Central America and the Caribbean
UNESCO, together with the National Library and Information System of Trinidad and Tobago (NALIS), conducted the workshop “Caribbean Digital Libraries and Digital Repositories: Recent Initiatives and Future Development” (Port of Spain, July 2007).
- National libraries of the region, starting with Chile and Brazil, and the National Institute of Anthropology and History of México, are contributing with contents in the UNESCO World Digital Library that makes available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from countries and cultures around the world.
UNESCO contributed since 1982 for countries of Latin America and the Caribbean to join forces for regional cooperation in information policies, creating the cooperation mechanism known as INFOLAC. The University of Colima, with support from the Unesco Caribbean Office, is now responsible for the INFOLAC Portal to generate and share knowledge among librarians, documentalists and information managers in the region to contribute to building the Information Society in Latin America and the Caribbean.
More recently the WSIS Plan of Action Action Lines C3 Access and C7 e-Science identified the role of Governments and all stakeholders to:
Promote internet connectivity for all universities and research institutions;
Promote the publishing, differential pricing, and Open Access models of distributing scientific information;
Promote peer-to-peer scientific exchanges;
Promote the long-term systematic collection of scientific data;
promote principles and metadata standards for research and cooperation
Cuba : Chaire UNESCO en gestion de l'information dans les organisations (1993), Universidad de La Habana, Universidad de Murcia, Espagne, dans le cadre du groupe Santander
Mexico: UNESCO Chair in New Information Technologies (2001), University of Colima
UNESCO support to the Caribbean Academy of Science (CAS) for its participation in the IAP Program on Promoting Access to and Use of Digital Knowledge Resources: Focus on Countries with Developing and Transitional Economies.
Sponsored by UNESCO and Fonds Francophone des Inforoutes, the Cybertesis program is the result of a project of cooperation between the Université de Montréal, the Université de Lyon2 and the University of Chile for an international theses repository.
And now the government of Colombia, together with Norway and the United States, have given support for UNESCO to build this Global Open Access Portal (GOAP)
The above-mentioned are only a few examples of UNESCO and Latin America and the Caribbean partnering in support of open access in the region.