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Open Access and Liberal Education: A Look at Armenia, Azerbaijan

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Open Access and Liberal Education:
A Look at Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia
D. Aram Donabedian, MLS, MFA
John Carey, MLS, MA
Hunter College Libraries
Hunter College
City University of New York
Introduction
Under Soviet rule, libraries in the South Caucasus enjoyed a
steady level of support. In the post-Soviet era, however, they
face increasing budgetary challenges and must seek alternatives
to commercial publishing and licensing models. In addition,
hostilities and political instability have compounded the
problem of decreased funding.
We assessed the status of the open access movement and
Internet use in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. We also
examined how developing affordable models for scholarly
communications is crucial to strengthening liberal education and
civic participation in these developing democracies.
Internet Use and Penetration in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, 2008
Population
Armenia
2,968,586
Percentage of
Population Online
172,800, or 5.8%
Growth of Internet
Use, 2000–2008
476%
Azerbaijan
8,177,717
1,500,000 or 18.3%
12,400%
Georgia
4,630,841
360,000 or 7.8%
1,700%
ACRL Information Literacy
Competency Standards
for Higher Education,
Standard 3:
“The information-literate
student evaluates
information and its
sources critically and
incorporates selected
information into his or her
knowledge base and value
system.”
Internet Filtering
Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia are
developing a reputation as leaders in
the development of next-generation
controls that block selected content.
Three Generations of Controls
1st generation: Firewalls at key
Internet choke points
2nd generation: Overt track—legalized
content controls
Covert track— ��just in time’’ blocking,
plausible deniability
3rd generation: Counter-information,
surveillance and data mining
Armenia:
5 OA Journals, most focusing on
science:
Mechanics, Physics,
Mathematics, Biology . . . also
“Historical-Philological”
Digital Library
Fundamental Scientific Library
Seeks “mass digitization” of NAS
journals
Critical Information Literacy and
the Librarian/Instructor’s Role
Soviet model:
•
knowledge as a "truth" transferred from professor
"experts" to accepting students
VS.
Critical pedagogy:
•
studies the social, cultural, political, and economic
dynamics of teaching/learning
Low transparency: filtering is
unacknowledged or disguised as
network errors
South Caucasus Countries by Regime Type and Filtering Practices
Country
Regime Type
Filtering
Methods Used
Level of
Filtering
Transparency
Armenia
Hybrid
2nd and 3rd gen.
Substantial
Low
Azerbaijan
Georgia
Authoritarian
Hybrid
2nd and 3rd gen.
2nd and 3rd gen.
Selective
Selective
Low
Low
Open Access Publishing in the South Caucasus, 2011
Open Access
Institutional
Federal-level
Open Access
Journals
Repositories
Digital Libraries
in the South
Armenia
5
0
1
Azerbaijan
3
1
0
Caucasus
Georgia
5
0
1
Armenia, Azerbaijan, and
Georgia are all actively engaged
in open access activities and in
developing modern scholarly
communication resources. These
three countries currently publish
a number of open access
journals, and all possess some
form of either a digital library or
institutional repository.
The Critical information literacy process:
•
Teach students to question the social, political, and
economic forces involved in the creation and use of
information
•
Draw attention to the role of the individual in
information-based power structures
•
Achieve critical agency to actively engage with the
political and social conditions
•
Cultivate an informed and dynamic citizenry
Azerbaijan:
Institutional Repository
KUIR: Khazar University
Institutional Repository
Diverse subjects
The region’s only IR
3 OA journals
international affairs, general
academic research, etc.
Georgia:
5 OA journals, heavy on technical
subjects (mathematics, computer
science)
Digital Library of the National
Parliamentary Library of Georgia
Electronic theses, dissertations,
e-resources
Reference
Donabedian, D. A. & Carey, J. (2011).
Open access and liberal education: A look at
Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia.
Slavic & East European Information Resources
12(4) .
RECOMMENDATIONS
пѓ� Nurturing liberal education
пѓ� Encouraging democratic
participation
As they build democratic institutions, South
Caucasus countries can strengthen and
transform the educational models that help
provide the foundation for civic participation
in the following areas:
Open Access:
•
provides greater access to content for
researchers in the South Caucasus
•
encourages national innovation
•
encourages transnational collaboration
by providing global access to the
scholarly output of South Caucasian
researchers
•
breaks down the pay-walls that make
scholarly literature inaccessible
Internet’s Role—Control vs. Community:
•
Powerful tool for networking
•
Offers counter-narrative to statecontrolled media
•
Fuels economic development
•
Fosters free speech
•
Engages people in civic participation
Image: Parajanov, S., Director. (1988). Ashik Kerib [Motion picture]. Armenia: KINO International..
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