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An Open Digital Global South: Risks and Rewards

May 25 @ 9:30 am - May 26 @ 3:00 pm


An Open Digital Global South: Risks and Rewards

UC Davis Law School

May 25-26, 2017

The event is open to the public. Please register here.

This conference explores the promises and risks of openness in scholarship in relationship to the Global South. Scholars increasingly are under pressure to make their work “open” through sharing their research as reusable open data and open source software, and making their publications open access. Scholarly “openness”—for example, open data, open access, open source—is intended to facilitate the free flow of information, to address barriers to access, and to foster global intellectual conversations. Do attempts at promoting openness in scholarship create new forms of exclusion or hierarchy? How are Southern scholars and publishers’ experiences with open access and open data taken into account within conversations on developing standards and models for open access and open data in the Global North? What are the unanticipated risks created through the implementation of models for open data or open access?

We have lined up some great speakers already and expect a lively discussion. Please save the date and see the schedule below for more information.



9:15-9:45 || Registration, Breakfast

9:45-10:00 || Welcoming Remarks

10:00-11:00 || Introduction and Keynote

11:00-12:30 || Situating Open Access in the Global South

Open Access can and has been approached and implemented in many ways to serve its diverse constituencies. Similarly, participation in Open Access scholarship takes many forms, whether in readers’ use, re-use, and engagement, or in authors’ publication and sharing. How are multiple models of OA being considered to reflect the different needs of open access’ participants, particularly in the global south? When and how do open policies and practices improve global participation in both the production and consumption of open scholarship? How, for instance, does the adoption of APC-funded open access affect authors around the globe?

12:30-1:30 || Lunch

1:30-3:00 || What is Predatory Publishing? Questioning the Critique of Open Access Journals

There is energetic opposition to the open access movement in the form of listings of ‘predatory’ journals. As activists, watchdogs, and research integrity experts take the central stage of OA debates, we have seen an increase in the use of inflammatory predator-prey language and in the moralization of publishing matters. This has come along with a decrease in available space to ask more terminological, theoretical and empirical questions about academic and publishing markets, and about past, ongoing, and novel North-South hierarchies these markets derive from and now sustain.  Even more worryingly, current debates ignore pressing questions about distributive justice within the context of the North-South divide and seem immune to postcolonial and transnational critiques.

3:15-4:45 || Researcher Experiences

A conversation with international researchers from UC Davis and the surrounding area about their experiences with and perspectives on the effects of open access and open data on their research.

5:00|| Reception


9:45-10:45 || Keynote

10:45-11:00 || Break

11:00-12:30 || Risks and Opportunities in Digital Openness Beyond the Journal, Part 1: Open Objects and Digital Things

Technological innovations have made it much easier and cheaper to convert real world entities into digital representations (e.g., 3D scans, genome sequencing, etc). This digitalization, and the ease of sharing that information has revolutionized the study and exploitation of these objects.  One use of this data is that it allows people to synthesize these entities from the data (e.g., 3D printing, synthetic biology). Such synthesis comes with both benefits (e.g., rapid and cheap dissemination) and risks (e.g., biopiracy, inaccurate representation of the original objects). This panel asks about these risks and benefits in relation to the Global South.

12:30-1:30 || Lunch

1:30-3:00 || Risks and Opportunities in Digital Openness Beyond the Journal, Part 2:  Open Digital Information

While open data offers scholars serious benefits such as transparency, sharing and pooling of knowledge, there are some risks involved, some well appreciated, some less so. The best example comes from medical research, where extensive protocols are in place (though not always used) for protecting privacy of data.  Less appreciated are risks in other areas. For example, poachers of animals and plants utilize scientific publications to find and capture newly discovered or rare species. Similarly, archaeological information can be used by looters.  This panel explores issues which blanket policies on openness do not address and considers how policies on openness could learn from fields such as anthropology and medicine which have experience protecting privacy. What role do/should journals play in the “hiding” of such information? How have different disciplines developed tools and practices to deal with issues of privacy, confidentiality, and sharing information? How do the practices for protecting information affect research and knowledge sharing?


May 25 @ 9:30 am
May 26 @ 3:00 pm
Event Category:


King Hall
Davis, CA United States + Google Map

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