Wednesday, October 21, 2009

ISP Celebrates Open Access Week with New Research

The Information Society Project at Yale Law School today launched three new reports on the state of access to knowledge in comparative national perspective. The new works feature research on challenges of intellectual property and innovation in three developing countries. The launch is timed to coincide with the first-ever international celebration of Open Access Week, October 19-23, 2009.

Open Access Week seeks to raise awareness of the importance of open access to research. In today's world, proper use of digital publication platforms and open copyright licenses can greatly facilitate the spread and impact of academic research. Consistent with these values, the research launched this week carries a Creative Commons license and is available for free download at the Yale ISP website.

In developing the reports, the Yale ISP partnered with academic institutions abroad at the University of Buenos Aires, the University of Addis Abeba, and the University of Cape Town. Research teams within these and other institutions have joined with the Yale ISP to form the A2K Global Academy, a network of academic centers dedicated to research, education, and policy analysis promoting access to knowledge.

The project has already resulted in two books, both forthcoming from Bloomsbury Academic this winter: Access to Knowledge in Brazil: New Research on Intellectual Property, Innovation and Development, and Access to Knowledge in Egypt: New Research on Intellectual Property, Innovation and Development.

Research examining related topics in India and China was launched in August. The newest installment, featuring insights into the state of access to knowledge in Argentina, Ethiopia, and South Africa, completes the series of seven reports. Topics addressed by the research include: open source software, alternative business models for cultural production, exceptions and limitations to copyright, ICT for development, access to medicines, open educational resources, technological standards, and biotechnology.

The three-year research project was supported with funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, as part of an initiative supporting international academic collaboration on access to knowledge challenges and opportunities.

“Innovation is the basis for economic growth and finding solutions to pressing problems,” said Lea Shaver, director of the ISP’s research program in access to knowledge. “But law and policy do not always support innovation optimally, nor ensure that new knowledge spreads as widely as it could. This research offers important guidance to policymakers, particularly in the context of developing countries.”

Continuing its academic work in this area, the Yale ISP will host a major conference on access to knowledge and human rights on February 12-13, 2010, at Yale Law School.

The Yale Information Society Project is an intellectual center at Yale Law School that studies the implications of new information technologies for law and society, guided by values of democracy, human rights, and innovation. For more information, visit