The annual OpenCon global conference brings together the most promising students and early-career scholars advancing open access, open data, open educational resources, and many other aspects of open scholarship. However, OpenCon is more than a conference; it is also a growing international community who supports sharing knowledge and advocating for transparency in order to lead to better research and education worldwide.
Latin American representation in the OpenCon community has been growing since 2014. At OpenCon 2016, we had the largest number of Latin American participants up-to-to date, and for the first time, were able to hold an entire session in Spanish and Portuguese. Participants from 10 countries — Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, México, Nicaragua, Perú, and Puerto Rico were there. The outcome of that session was the establishment of an international organizing committee dedicated to setting up a regional satellite meeting — OpenCon Latin America (OpenCon LatAm).
After 2016 OpenCon’s summit, a group of advocates from the region continued working together for the celebration of this LatAm satellite event, which was held in Mexico DC in October, 2017. During the previous months, the event was collaboratively planned through monthly calls. There were several panels with the aim to discuss the main challenges to advance Open Education, Open Access and Open Data in the region, but also to acknowledge those communities and movements that have been promoting them for at least two decades.
Some of the presentations can be found in the open repository of the event here.
At the global OpenCon event, an unconference was held among those participants from Latin America, with the goal to decide which country could host the next regional satellite event. Buenos Aires, Argentina, was the final choice, given the presence of several participants in the city that could promote the event locally. OpenCon LatAm 2018 will be hosted at the Metropolitan University for Education and Work (UMET), during Saturday 29th of October.
The purpose of this year’s event continues to be the discussion of both the challenges, ongoing projects and experiences that involve several communities working towards openness in academia and education.
The event will be opened with a talk by Dominique Babini, who has been one of the main figures promoting Open Access in the region for more than two decades. After that, the morning panel brings together experts from Chile and Colombia that will present the current landscape of openness in the region and to discuss with the audience the next steps to advance these experiences.
Later in the afternoon, a panel inspired by the idea of an Open University will present several projects that promote openness and transparency inside universities: from an open government project at the National University of La Plata, to an Open Scientific Hardware development experience in the Faculty of Exact and Natural Sciences of the University of Buenos Aires, and the cases of “libre” software development in the National University of Mendoza and community labs in Brazil.
Finally, we will offer four workshops: to of them for the development of kits (on open science and open education) and the others on open data and open licences. There will also be an unconference discussion on open access journals. We hope these are the spaces where students and early careers researchers will have the opportunity to get hands-on into some of the main issues that the region is facing in its advancing of an open ecosystem of practices and institutions.