To further on Eve Grey's and other thoughts around encompassing alternative and diverse forms and genres of scholarly knowledge, I would like to touch on an important dimension to Open Access which somehow has not been stressed enough. Today and in the coming futures machines will take more center-stage in the tools we need to access knowledge. Researchers and scholars will not just require the content to be available free out there, but also tools to gather the data and knowledge for them to use when needed. Same for policy holders, journalists, same for editors in publishing houses trying to verify a fact and librarians. The volume of content of data, both textual and graphic, and sounds and images, increasingly out there and growing can best be accessed by machines, Artificial Intelligence systems, to sum up for the users. Until we ensure that industry-wide problems such as metadata and interoperability are resolved collectively, we are not preparing for the best opportunity to tap AI. How can the cOAlition support the work of intermediaries in the scholarly publishing enterprise, eg academics, publishers and librarians in adequately preparing content for AI?
There is an important need to distribute resources and support not just on the basis of existing, well-endowed publishing infrastructure and ecosystems. Currently, there are several industry-wide issues besetting open access growth and development. These issues affect the entire industry: north-south; poor-rich: Improved metadata and interoperability. If the solutions or advances in this area are left in the hands of big commercial corporations, the whole essence of OA will be constrained. These corporations need to invest and develop business models to recover that investment. If the cOAlition is investing in this infrastructure to guarantee that actors in scholarly publishing can use to develop their products, it will further the development of Open Access in the developing world and elsewhere.
Technological solutions are in fact the least subjective aspect of the sector that we should aim for. Questions around knowledge evaluation and notions of quality and standards are fraught with certain biases, some of which can actually be tackled with processes and efficiency supported by resources both technological and material. Some as basic as having access to cheaper technology and procedures in the ecosystem, which scholarly publishing communities in the South do not have or cannot get cheaply.
Sulaiman Adebowale: Throughout the first decade of the twenty-first century, the acceptance or reluctance of the scholarly publishing industry to embrace OA was the search for not just where they fit in the new ecosystem but how to engage and adapt their processes with or without varying levels of impacts on them as actors. Inevitably, we did not all see things in the same view. The established giant publishers up North saw it differently from the young upstarts around them; the South looked at it differently; the journals and monographs, social sciences and STM differently.... In the last decade, we have seen a kind of acceptance with each actor in the ecosystem concluding what's best for them and working or running with it. This understanding and acceptance has led to tremendous growth in the sector, in some parts of the world even reaching a plateau. In others it has barely started. The sector is not unlike other sectors in the global economy. Interconnectedness and similarity is marked by acute differences and disparities coexisting harmoniously and otherwise within the ethos of an ecosystem peculiar to the world of globalisation. Inevitably, the question is where we on the African continent and other parts of the globe are on the issue. How do initiatives such as cOAlition S address issues in scholarly publishing so we are not cut off from access to research and knowledge to further our development and lives?