OPEN ACCESS FOR PUBLIC HEALTH


By Mandy Henk, CEO Tohatoha (AOASG affiliate member)

I’m writing this as the medical and scientific community are working toward creating the knowledge we need to face a serious global public health emergency.

Unfortunately, as the number of cases of the novel coronavirus in China (COVID-19) rises, so has the spread of misinformation, disinformation, and confusion. As a community of people who care about sharing information, this is a time for us to step forward and work towards doing our bit to promote the spread of accurate and useful knowledge over false news designed to encourage hate, racism, and chaos. I wish you all the best as you work within your communities to educate and share the knowledge that will keep us all healthy and well.

But it’s also a time for us to rejoice in the realisation of the benefits of open access to scholarship and data. Open access is so crucial in times like these. Accurate, widely available information is how we will work together to make each other safe and healthy.

Leading on this is the Wellcome Trust and the 91 signatories have committed to ensure wide access to scientific and medical knowledge during this public emergency. Specifically, they have committed to work together to help ensure:

  • All peer-reviewed research publications relevant to the outbreak are made immediately open access, or freely available at least for the duration of the outbreak
  • Research findings relevant to the outbreak are shared immediately with the WHO upon journal submission, by the journal and with author knowledge
  • Research findings are made available via preprint servers before journal publication, or via platforms that make papers openly accessible before peer review, with clear statements regarding the availability of underlying data
  • Researchers share interim and final research data relating to the outbreak, together with protocols and standards used to collect the data, as rapidly and widely as possible – including with public health and research communities and the WHO
  • Authors are clear that data or preprints shared ahead of submission will not pre-empt its publication in these journals

Open access communities can take real pride in our work today. Knowledge matters and sharing matters. The groundwork that we have laid is helping make the world a better place. We deserve a pat on our collective backs.

Please stay well and remember to look after those who are targets of hate and racism during this crisis. As the Director General of the World Health Organisation put it, “This is the time for facts, not fear. This is the time for science, not rumours. This is the time for solidarity, not stigma.”

Let’s hope the rest of 2020 brings more sharing, more knowledge, and most of all, solidarity and care for each other.

This blog originally appeared in the Tohatoha newsletter

OA Week success continues

While much of our International Open Access Week activities have concluded here in Oz, our New Zealand cousins are continuing through November with more activities and advocacy.  This year’s theme of Open for Whom?  Equity in Open Knowledge has been the focus of many university activities with guest lectures, roadshows, workshops, and the creation of resources for academics and researchers the chief ways of getting the Open = Equity message across.

In October, Tohatoha launched a campaign for greater openness, sharing, and equity in the digital world, including open access and open reuse of government, scholarly, and scientific knowledge.  CEO Mandy Henk presented at the annual internet community talkfest NetHui, and spoke on Radio NZ’s afternoon program, and this week she spread the good OA word on 95bFM about democratising our digital world.  This was a great complement to the OA work of CONZUL.  Massey University live streamed a presentation:  Open Knowledge mātauranga Māori: contradictory or consistent and  the University of Otago ran a series of blogs around citation advantage for open access articles,  and the importance of depositing manuscripts in open repositories.

uwabikeOAweek

Some of our favourite activities in Oz have been the commissioned chalk art work by Armidale artist Nadia Waters at the University of New England (UNE) library, and its race to 100 challenge to get 100 new Open Access outputs into its RUNE repository during October.  University of Western Australia got on its bike with a pedal-powered tour with stops around campus everyday with OA giveaways.   Southern Cross University library ran a panel on Access and Indigenous Knowledge.  QUT and the University of Newcastle each ran a series of “Five things about Open Access” blogs.   La Trobe University ran a series of events, including a tweet chat on OA and activism. Charles Sturt and Flinders ran Open Access workshops for staff and researchers.  James Cook University created two great videos of academics advocating for Open Access.

une_oa2019chalkboard_nadiawaters

Creative Commons Aotearoa is now Tohatoha

This blog post has been reproduced with permission from Tohatoha Chief Executive Mandy Henk

Wendy Henk

We have so much exciting news to share with you all! New projects, new people, a new website rolling out soon – it’s been a whirlwind year behind the scenes.

But first, you’re probably wondering why we decided to change our name and logo. Tohatoha is the Māori word for ‘share’ – and that’s what we are about; sharing information so that every single New Zealander has access to knowledge and stories — whether they get that access through the Internet, in their local library, or by listening to the elders of their communities.

We want a world where New Zealand leads by ensuring universal access to research, education and culture — one where Aotearoa builds a fair and equitable information system. ‘Tohatoha’, as a name, communicates both the primacy of sharing and embraces our uniquely Kiwi identity.

Our new logo, designed for us by Mohawk Media, takes the globally recognised symbol for New Zealand – the kiwi bird – and combines it with the iconic, cultural image

for Kiwi ingenuity, Number-8 fencing wire. The DIY ethic embedded in our origins as part of Internet mash-up culture, entwined with our national symbol, gives us a recognisable visual identity both here and overseas. Alongside this, the new tagline – supporting Kiwis to, create, share and innovate – encapsulates our work and our mission.
To be clear, we will still continue to support the New Zealand chapter of Creative Commons, but our work will be broader than simply supporting the Creative Commons licenses. We will still do that work when and as needed, but as the range of threats to information sharing in the digital and analogue worlds grows, so we also need to grow and evolve. That’s what this repositioning is about – adapting to a changing environment so that we can realise our vision.

Our new structure is also about sharing power. As an organisation we have our roots in the open movement – open source, open access, open data – and we fiercely support openness. But there is still so much work to be done to bring marginalised voices to the centre and make space for new voices across the spectrum of New Zealand society.

Building a movement focused on sharing that doesn’t explicitly seek out and welcome diverse communities – rural communities, Māori communities, migrant communities – is a movement destined to seek the wrong things for the wrong reasons. For us, openness is a strategy; the goal is a more equitable system for sharing knowledge – and you can’t build a more equitable system without welcoming new voices and sharing power with new communities.

I look forward to hearing from you as we begin this new part of our journey. Change is scary and so to do it right we need your engagement, your voice, and your support. There is so much work to be done in this space, so let’s do it together and do it right.

Mandy Henk, Chief Executive, Tohatoha