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SERP-P team participates in an open knowledge event at IDS

Two representatives of the Socioeconomic Research Portal for the Philippines (SERP-P), together with 24 other participants from regional and international knowledge organizations, partook in the partnership meeting of the Global Open Knowledge Hub (GOKH)—an open knowledge initiative of the Institute of Development Studies (IDS)—on October 21–23, in Brighton, United Kingdom. The event, which centered on the theme “Engaging in Open Knowledge through Partnerships”, brought together delegates from Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

To kick off the three-day seminar-workshop, Kelly Shephard, head of the Open Knowledge and Digital Services of IDS, stressed the importance of evidence-based research and the will and capacity to share evidence and knowledge. In this line, Shephard said the gathering aimed to (1) share experiences and understandings in response to specific learning needs, particularly in open knowledge and licensing; (2) plan and develop thoughts and actions to take the GOKH program forward; and (3) build mutual understanding and develop future pathways between and among GOKH members and funding partners.

In addition, the seminar-workshop was designed to reflect on the challenges and opportunities in adopting open knowledge approaches in other regions and sector-specific organizations.

Aside from open knowledge landscape and content licensing, the participants of the event were also immersed to the complexities of multilingual work, importance of building knowledge consortia and sharing stories of change, initiatives and advances in the Global Library for Development Studies, and the costs and barriers of adopting open knowledge.

A peer-assisted learning activity was also employed to determine the common challenges faced by some GOKH partners and explore the solutions that other partners may offer.

Open knowledge agenda

According to Melissa Leach, director of the IDS, inequalities start with knowledge—who gets it and who does not. This echoed the increasing demand for open knowledge adoption. However, Shephard said that the institutions that adopt open knowledge approaches are mostly from the North. She furthered that this scenario has created a divide between the haves and the have nots.

As a response, the IDS committed itself to an “open knowledge agenda that harness digital innovation to connect evidence to real change”. Open knowledge, hence, becomes one of the priority agenda in the Institute’s strategic plan for 2015–2020.

Open knowledge, according to the IDS, encompasses related terms such as “open access”, “open content”, and “open data”. In particular, it defines the sharing of research knowledge in digital, online format (i.e., how the content can be reused, revised, remixed, and redistributed). As one of the leading advocates of open knowledge, the IDS created the Open Knowledge Hub (OKHub)—the online platform of the GOKH project—that focuses on sharing information and knowledge that are digital, online, and free of charge and most reuse restrictions.

Linking SERP-P and GOKH

As one of the original members of the GOKH program, the SERP-P team played an important role in the conception phase of the OKHub during the partners’ inception meeting almost two years ago. Sheila Siar, project manager of SERP-P and director for research information of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), and Ronald Yacat, then technical consultant of SERP-P, participated in the January 2014 meeting, which was also attended by representatives from other GOKH partner-organizations. Since its conception, the SERP-P has continued to contribute PIDS materials to the OKHub.

On this year’s gathering, meanwhile, the SERP-P has strengthened its contributions by participating in designing the future pathways for the GOKH project. The team also highlighted the effect of the GOKH project on the SERP-P, which includes: (1) a wider reach for PIDS publications, (2) stronger linkage with other organizations that are into knowledge networking, (3) and increased motivation and reputation among the knowledge community.

Likewise, Peter Mason, web applications developer at IDS, said that aside from a wider reach and better discoverability, the GOKH project also offers the IDS branding.

The SERP-P was represented by Jane Alcantara and Mark Vincent Aranas, PIDS information officer for publications and project coordinator of SERP-P, respectively. The event was attended by the following institutions and organizations: University of Zimbabwe, Soul Beat Africa, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, Observ’action, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Sula Batsu, Soluciones Prácticas, Evidence and Lessons from Latin America, Information Training and Outreach Centre for Africa, Electronic Information for Libraries, Land Portal, Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, International Initiative for Impact Evaluation, UK Department for International Development, and Korean Development Institute. (Mark Vincent Aranas)