VUT Library – Celebrating Open Access Week!
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VUT Library – Celebrating Open Access Week!

Dr Masebala Tjabane from the Centre for Academic Development (CAD)

Rose Nthoroane and Wendy Ntshakala

“Knowledge is power, power provides information; information leads to education, education breeds wisdom; wisdom is liberation.” – Israelmore Ayivor.

In celebration of Open Access Week that was on the 21-25 October 2019, the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) Library hosted an Open Access Seminar in collaboration with Emerald Publishing on Wednesday 23 October 2019, which was held at the VUT Vanderbijlpark Campus.

The theme of the 2019 International Open Access Week is: “Open for Whom? Equity in Open Knowledge”. In her opening remarks, Ms Nicolene Mkhathali from the Library noted that Open Access Week has been celebrated since 2009 around the world in October each year. It is an opportunity for the librarians to engage with the research community and demonstrate the value they bring to the institution in the area of disseminating scholarly output.

Among the speakers was Ms Beatrice Phume from the Research Directorate, who provided insight into NRF Postgraduate Funding. The second presenter was Dr Masebala Tjabane from the Centre for Academic Development (CAD) and, thirdly, Mr Sibu Zondi from Emerald Publishing.

Dr Tjabane gave a talk titled: “Open Education Resources (OER) and Social Justice in Higher Education – Envisioning 2030.” OER is defined as freely accessible, openly licenced text, media, and other digital assets that are useful for teaching, learning and assessing as well as for research purposes.

Why 2030? She explained that she wanted to illustrate the progress in achieving something that will show sustainable development goals. She defined social justice and also spoke about the participation rate in tertiary education. “If we make use of the Open Educational Resources (OER) which are available, we stand a better chance of achieving most of the developmental goals” she added.

Dr Tjabane emphasised the importance of sharing and collaborating on articles with others and further suggested that if we harness the Fourth Industrial Revolution skills, the world stands a chance to be a better place. In conclusion, the presentation was based on how OER can address some of the challenges we are facing in the African continent.

Mr Sibu Zondi’s presentation was about scholarly writing and publishing. He encouraged scholars to use Emerald material for their research that Vaal University of Technology is subscribing to. He shared a slide that demonstrated how Emerald Publishing research usage is driven by different sources based on VUT end-users. While noting some advantages of using Google, he encouraged research students and researchers not to rely more on using Google as the only platform to find academic content as some information is not peer-reviewed. He further advised early career researchers to conduct proper background checks and consult with experienced researchers when deciding on targeting journals or publications to publish their new research articles

This event was informative, particularly to emerging young researchers, academics and students who are already enrolled for B-Tech and Master’s degrees.

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