Dear Colleague VCs, Rectors and Presidents of African HEI,

Greetings from the Secretariat of the Association of African Universities. It’s with much pleasure that I write to you all. Once again, the month of October is upon us and it is time to celebrate Open Access (OA).

What is open Access?

Free availability of research findings or knowledge on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited.” (Budapest, Bethesda and Berlin Declarations)

Open Access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. OA is entirely compatible with peer review, and all the major OA initiatives for scientific and scholarly literature insist on its importance. Just as authors of journal articles donate their labour, so do most journal editors and referees participating in peer review.

Whereas the internet has been very crucial in promoting access to knowledge, it will only be sustainable if software tools are interactive transparent, and content is openly accessible and compatible with existing softwares. That way global representation and access to knowledge will be achieved. Its worthy to note that our mission of disseminating knowledge is only half complete if the information is not made widely and readily available to society

At AAU and as a signatory to the OA declaration, We support the OA initiative. We strongly urge all of you to initiate policies that will give more visibility to your institutions and the research findings you generate yearly. We urge you to adopt one or more of the following policies to support OA.

Policies

* In hiring, promotion, and tenure, the university will give due weight to all peer-reviewed publications, regardless of price or medium.

* faculty who publish articles must either (1) retain copyright and transfer only the right of first print and electronic publication, or (2) transfer copyright but retain the right of postprint archiving.

* Adopt policies encouraging or requiring faculty to fill the institutional archive with their research articles and preprints

* all theses and dissertations, upon acceptance, must be made openly accessible, for example, through the institutional repository or one of the multi-institutional OA archives for theses and dissertations.

* all conferences hosted at your university will provide open access to their presentations or proceedings, even if the conference also chooses to publish them in a priced journal or book. This is compatible with charging a registration fee for the conference.

* all journals hosted or published by your university will either be OA or take steps to be friendlier to OA. For example, see the list of what journals can do.

During the week of October 22 -28, We urge you all to support your institutional libraries to undertake activities (talk shows, exhibitions, seminars, advocacy shows) to educate your faculty and students and empower them to support OA to research

There are lots of information on what can be done at the following links

1. What University managers can do to support and promote OA http://api.ning.com/files/2kQ80O9g*OVDostTeugxnS74XL1DSVgjvgklcAEXs5UsuJE8i53vF3J61n-aDPnCy-XTX0e42D-kY4qHorNc0Vf7bGS62pwR/WhatUniversitiesandAdminCanDoA4.pdf

I take this opportunity to encourage all faculty and University librarians to also visit the following links to learn of the activities to undertake to support and promote Open Access.

1. What Faculty can do to support and promote OA http://api.ning.com/files/zRFidZuXNPSiyVKVhJ40gWQ-uHZd4smwjFm0elVHTZDvWXKbY*8mAMPvwwaIAY6eC2kfO6hRxKs3kb7Ncf6FeB*VaQIOqbD-/Faculty

2. What University Librarians can do http://api.ning.com/files/h0siTHvWNEwQJ4abgSKYFNFew*NR0WyzDQB7Z7DPsN6eyuQwK7SO1Yjula8e4ZOpN5jDrB9X5veZs0V-yYFi3Pi6be4s7DAc/Librarians

It is my prayer that as we celebrate OA for the year 2018 we will all begin to put in place policies that enable us to share our resources as a continent and collaborate in researching and providing solutions for the advancement of the continent towards achieving sustainable growth.

I wish all successful OA celebrations.