Date(s) - 05/09/2022 - 08/09/2022
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The OSSAN 2022 Conference in South Asia was organized by DST-CPR, IISc, Bangalore, and was held between 5th -8th September 2022. It aimed at fostering open science among the researchers in the region as well as establishing a network of like-minded individuals to help them collaborate.
Dr. Tandon, in his address said, ‘Knowledge democracy is foundational to open science’. He began his presentation by speaking of the South Asian history of knowledge production and knowledge sharing. How society had a very active role to play, they identified students, invited scholars because they had a particular contribution to make. The relationship between the knowledge produced in the community and the knowledge produced in the university were much more symbiotic and ongoing than has been the case in recent centuries.
The history of knowledge in South Asian region goes much beyond the history of western science. Our knowledge system is built on experience and innovation in a vast range of areas from food system to water harvesting to health care to crafts. These knowledge systems were not monolithic, it emerged in each socio- ecological region. These knowledge systems were contextually relevant because they produced solutions to everyday problems.
Our vast indigenous community, throughout the sub-continent, has been a repository of great source of knowledge. It is important therefore to remember that multiple forms of knowledges which help produce solutions and innovations for civilisations to advance had embedded linguistic and cultural insights. These are not knowledges produced in mono- linguistic European languages. Knowledge is not only produced in the lab and academics it is produced in everyday life. The last 2 years have been a perfect example of this where the communities survived using their experiential knowledge. It is important that we keep ourselves open to multiple ways in which knowledge is produced, stored, utilised, and disseminated.
Speaking of the UNESCO’s Recommendation of Open Science, 2021, Dr. Tandon emphasised on openness not just to scientists but to the society and community practitioners. When we talk about openness of science, we need to consider openness of science and its findings to practitioners in a way that produces locally relevant solutions. The recommendation also talks about multiple ways of approaching science using participatory research. Open Access needs to be considered Open Access beyond professionally trained scientists trained in science. Openness to society also means co-producing knowledge with the heterogenous societal actors. Including citizens using participatory approach is an integral part of open science policies and practices. We need to move towards knowledge society where the governance of knowledge is open.
The concept of knowledge democracy acknowledges the importance of multiple knowledge systems, such as organic, spiritual, and land-based systems; frameworks from social movements; and the knowledge of marginalized or excluded. It is about open access for the sharing of knowledge, making it a powerful tool for taking action in social movements to deepen democracy and to struggle for a fairer and healthier world.