Accidental open access and the hazards involved: Preliminary experiences on Internet-based publishing in a Peruvian university

Eduardo Villanueva


The importance of Open Access for developing academic and scientific research is beyond discussion. On the other hand, it is also certain that most OA initiatives have arisen from the academic communities of the developed world, assuming a whole set of practices and an ethos that is not necessarily shared all around the world. As an example of these differences, the case of a casual and non–intended approach to Open Access distribution of content, as it has happened in the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú from 2000, is presented. A significant amount of information, both administrative and academic, has been published at the institutional Web site. This has happened without formal policy, and by individual initiatives of departments interested in distributing content of potential interest for the Peruvian academic community. There are some misgivings about the end results, the appropriation of the information outside of this University itself; this is consequence of specific cultural and social attitudes toward digital content and the way that the Internet has been socially shaped in Peru. This paper tries to explore both the de facto policies that should had been turned into formal ones, and the consequences of the informal nature of the relationship with content and the cultural prevalence of intellectual piracy, not to be confused with real, for–profit content piracy. The research and policy issues resulting are also discussed.

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