Open Discovery Space

The United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) announced its digital publications will now be inclusive to the public and free of charge. This announcement is a result of its recent adoption of The Open Access Policy. UNESCO is the only member of the United Nations to carry out the policy so far. The principle of open data and the element of progress have been recognised by other institutions including The World Bank and The Wellcome Trust, who have started to operate the Open Access Policy.

The policy states that anyone can freely download, translate and distribute UNESCO’s publications and data. The irrevocable right of access to copy and make derivative works in any format to the organisation’s collection of publications however must be within reason and under lawful conditions. Moreover, the Open Access Policy stipulates that from July 2013 hundreds of downloadable digital UNESCO publications can be made available for the utilisation of users through an Open Access Repository which has a multilingual interface. This feature allows people of different backgrounds to access the same information globally according to their linguistic preference.

The reason behind why UNESCO is allowing a broad and unfettered access to its informational knowledge is due to its commitment to the rhetoric that open data equates to human development. Open data will also enable policymakers, researchers, and the general public to build and expand on their existing knowledge. As UNESCO is an intergovernmental organisation, its fundamental interest is to ensure data and resources are made available to the widest possible audience.

This progress is of interest to Open Discovery Space as it focuses on how information can be made more accessible through ICT innovation to ensure human development and progress in education.

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