Monday, September 23, 2019

Open access leading to the goal of Intellectual freedom

      Intellectual Freedom and open access both advocates for the increased access to information. The difference is that the former one is the basic right of humans to seek, receive, adhere to, express information and ideas and later is the initiative to remove barriers in the access of information and increasing access to maximum, so that the right of intellectual freedom can be exploited. Access to information is necessary not only for the development of an individual but for the social, cultural, economic and technical development of the country. Therefore, there are many initiatives, programs, and projects by various non-profit organizations or the group of organizations working in the direction of achieving the goal of intellectual freedom.

What is Intellectual freedom?

 Intellectual freedom is a basic human right of the individual to access, explore, consider, and express their views freely without restrictions.

According to Article 19 of the UDHR (Universal Declaration of Human Rights) 1949,
“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”1

However, there are many issues related to intellectual freedom which involve the restrictions to access due to some social, political, ethical and other pressure. These include Academic freedom, Internet filtering, Censorship (book Censorship, Censorship of films, music, and maps, video games Censorship). The phenomenon of Cyberbalkanization has given rise to a new form of the Internet which is Splinternet also putting barriers in the access of information. 

Libraries  and intellectual freedom

No one can deny that libraries are the natural centers for learning, considering, talking about information and expressing the ideas. Freedom of access to information has been the motto of the library community across the world. Intellectual freedom is the core responsibility of the institutions of libraries because they aim to provide free access to information to all and they are engaged in the activities of increasing the accessibility of all kinds of information to all. Freedom of access to information is the right of citizens to not only express any view but also to have access to the fullest range of views expressed in various information resources of libraries.
    According to the IFLA Statement on Libraries and Intellectual Freedom(1999) which is in the support the intellectual freedom right of the individual as defined in UDHR 1949. IFLA, therefore, calls upon libraries and library staff to adhere to the principles of intellectual freedom, uninhibited access to information and freedom of expression and to recognize the privacy of library user.2
IFLA urges to library institutions to work towards the directions of the fulfillment of the aim of Intellectual Freedom by accepting, encouraging, taking initiatives for unrestricted access to information and freedom of expression.

What is Open Access?

Open access refers to any publication that is freely available to readers at no cost and has no restrictions/limited restrictions of reuse provided by the open license.

In the case of journals, Publication paywalls restrict a substantial amount of research results reach the researchers based on which they keep the foundation of new research. Open Access is free, unrestricted online access to scholarly peer-reviewed publications. Open access movement is helping the researchers in developing and least developing countries to have access to the articles that their libraries do not subscribe due to financial issues. 
Publications can be made accessible to the public either by publishing in open access journals or archiving previously published works in an open access repository or by Self-archiving. PlanS for making the full and immediate access to the research publications have been launched and working in the direction of their aim of open access.

An enormous amount of scientific and technical literature generated in Government research organizations needs to be open access to reach to the maximum users. Initiatives like
"Open-data government initiatives in different countries like of US Government, of UK government and launched in October 2012) of Indian Government to provide access to the government generated data sets, services, and applications of high value to the public. Provided that the data must comply with GDPR. Similarly, data related to national security and integrity cannot be shared. The objective of such initiatives is data must be available to all without any discrimination, i.e. to a certain group of people, or people of certain fields."3

Growth in the research and technological advancements are necessary for sustainable growth and development of any country. The research output of any country depends upon the availability of resources and reading materials for free or at a lower cost. Open access helps in reaching these goals.
However here is an issue regarding open access mandate in few countries which restrict the freedom to publish, i.e. it puts limited choices of where to publish, for researchers of that country. Others have questioned, "whether an obligation to publish open access is a restriction on academic freedom."4

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