Open Access and Research Conference – general comments

From Wednesday 24 September – Thursday 25 September, QUT Faculty of Law and the OAK Law Project ran the Open Access and Research Conference at the Stamford Hotel, Brisbane.

I think the conference was a great success. There were a great number of attendees both from Australia and abroad who were extremely knowledgeable about open access, e-research and the digital environment. These attendees included John Wilbanks of Science Commons, Alma Swan of Key Perspectives, Richard Jefferson of CAMBIA and Patent Lens, Professor Brian Fitzgerald and Professor Anne Fitzgerald of QUT Law Faculty, Maarten Wilbers of CERN, Professor Stevan Harnad (via video link), Tony Hey from Microsoft, Carolina Rossini formerly of Creative Commons Brazil and now based at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Senator Kim Carr (via video link), Professor Warwick Anderson of NHMRC, Dr Andrew Treloar of the ANDS Establishment Project, Frederika Welle Donker of Delft University in the Netherlands, and many many more. The quality of attendees at the conference meant that the discussions which followed each presentation and continued into the morning tea and lunch breaks were some of the most interesting I have heard to date.

Senator Kim Carr’s opening address strongly endorsed the principles of open access to knowledge and information, and referred to the recommendations made in the recently released green paper on the Review of the National Innovation System (“the Cutler Review”), of which there was much discussion generally at the OAR Conference. (For the relevant recommendations, see my earlier post).

On the first day, John Wilbanks gave an enlightening presentation that discussed how the internet is “democratizing knowledge” by breaking down the “guild culture” of experts on a particular topic and replacing it with a “network culture” where experts still have a role but where others have more input as well.

Then, Professor Brian Fitzgerald of QUT law faculty announced the upcoming collaboration between QUT and Richard Jefferson of CAMBIA.

On the second day, Maarten Wilbers of CERN fascinated everyone with pictures of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which has just been turned on, and with an intriguing history of CERN and the role it has played in the open access and e-research movements, right from the creation of the world wide web by Tim Berners Lee through to the LHC today.

I was also very interested to hear from Frederika Welle Donker, who took us through the developments in Europe in relation to open access to public sector information (PSI) and materials. In particular, she discussed the European Union PSI and INSPIRE Directives.

The presentations of all participants will be available shortly on the OAK Law website.