A REPORT OF THE OPEN ACCESS WEEK CELEBRATION IN MICHAEL OKPARA UNIVERSITY OF AGRICULTURE UMUDIKE (MOUAU), ABIA STATE, NIGERIA.


In compliance to the actions to be taken as submitted in our proposal to International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP) which attracted the grant of $500 in support of the OA week in MOUAU, Thursday 27th October 2011 was the day the university wide lecture on Open Access was held. It was titled: Open Access: A New Paradigm for Academics in MOUAU. The arrangements to this colorful event were fantastic.

 

It all began on the eve of the OA Week, Sunday night, when the big banners were hung at strategic points, with fliers shared allover the campus. Both the banners and the fliers had enough introductory information on OA, its benefits for academics and an invitation to attend the lecture.

 

On Monday 24th October 2011, the Secretary of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, MOUAU Branch, was contacted for release of mobile phone numbers of all academic staff in MOUAU. From 10.00AM on Tuesday 25th October 2011, lecturers and researchers were getting mobile alerts on their phones reminding them for the OA lecture. T-shirts were made for the team members, bearing INASP Logo and the inscription: Open Access in MOUAU on the front and at the back. Table water, soft drinks and biscuits to serve as entertainments on the lecture day were purchased.

 

On Wednesday 26th October 2011, the University Librarian, Mrs. Ahiaoma Ibegwam, who happens to be a member of my team, read a copy of the OA invitation letter to the university senators present at the 139th Senate meeting of the university. Earlier on, the Vice Chancellor of the University, other Principal Officers, Professors, Directors, Deans, Heads of Departments, Lecturers and Researchers had been communicated formally in writing. The Public Relation Officer of the University was prepared and the lecture day was expectantly awaited.

 

On that D-day, Thursday 27th October 2011, early in the morning, the ETF Hall, venue for the lecture, was already cleaned, decorated and set for the programme. At about 10AM, the Guest Speaker, Chief Sir Moses Nwosu, a Doctoral Student of the Department of Library and Information Science, Abia State University Uturu, arrived.  One after another, a population of 124 persons was attained. So, at 12.15PM an opening prayer was said and The Vice Chancellor, Professor Hillary Edeoga, represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor E.N.T. Akobundu, read the opening remarks, acknowledging the support of INASP as he declared the celebration open.

 

The P.R.O of the University was the Master of Ceremony (MC). She called for the welcome address, which was perfectly delivered by me (See photo 1). Next, the Guest Speaker was on the rostrum to lecture the expectant Principal Officers, Professors, Deans, Heads of Departments, Lectures and Researchers, including eleven Post Graduate students and four academics who came from neighboring Institutions on the invitation of the team. It was a PowerPoint reflected lecture and lasted for 50minutes. During this period the refreshments were served.

 

While the long applause for the Guest Speaker faded away at the end of his lecture, the MC started receiving signals for questions. This led to a discussion forum, where both the Speaker and I answered a lot of questions, with practical examples, direction to online links, subject discipline archives, open access journals, copyright status of some journal publishers on open access and many more. This period took a lot of time that the MC had to end it and suggested that participants should meet with me in my office after the programme. Really, while it was interesting to see how academics in MOUAU quickly wanted to embrace this global visibility by the interest of their various questions, it was also astonishing that ignorance was the factor at work and is so rooted that a day lecture may not be ideal to uproot it.

 

However, amidst few unanswered questions because of time, the University Librarian had to call for open declaration of OA by members. Everybody present raised their hands in support for the initiative and as much people as the podium could contain gather on it for a group photograph.

 

After it, a Professor in the midst thanked INASP for the support but regretted that there is no Institutional Repository in MOUAU to guide them further on this global initiative that must be adopted. Thus, the celebration came to an end. Everyone bided each other goodbye, with many participants coming to me to say a thank you, request for phone number or get my office address.    

 

As a matter of fact, this is a comprehensive report of OA Week celebration in MOUAU. All relevant photos are attached along with the video. Take your time to view them one by one please.

 

Thank you for this opportunity Anne.   

 

WRITTEN AND SUBMITTED BY:

CHIMEZIE .P. UZUEGBU

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