Uvania Naidoo (from UCT) and I (from NMMU) attended OpenCon 2014 in Washington DC this November. The conference brought 175 students and early-stage researchers involved in Open Access, Open Data and Open Education together. The Open Movement is driven by the belief that access to scholarly research, educational and medical resources should be freely accessible, reusable and easily distributed. A number of student-led open access projects from Nigeria, Kenya and Nepal were highlighted during the conference. There is currently no South African network, meaning that student advocates like myself and Uvania have felt isolated and have had no real means of connecting with other students with similar interests.
Accordingly, we propose to set up a nation-wide co-ordination network in South Africa: Open Access South Africa. Any students, at any institution in the country, interested in promoting or finding out more about Open Access, Open Data and Open Educational Resources are more than welcome to get in touch, which will enable us as students to co-ordinate action and support each other across campuses and institutions throughout South Africa. Once we have established said network, we hope to approach the Department of Education to discuss nationwide OA policy.