Najeeb noted: [http://www.hifa.org/dgroups-rss/open-access-85]
"Last week I attended an international conference in Europe and the organizers of the conference did not stop celebrating participants from Africa, which was great. The only problem is that there were only two yes two registered participants from Africa. How can we (non African scientists) discuss the issues of Africa access to knowledge in the absence of African researchers, information specialists and policy makers?"
I would like to suggest that virtual communications of practice such as HIFA can partly meet this need. Such discussions are much less expensive, much less environmentally damaging, and much more inclusive.
Of course, there will always be a need for face-to-face events, but if just 0.1% of the money that is currently spend on F2F events could be invested in virtual communities of practice, the results could be transformational. As HIFA has shown repeatedly, virtual thematic discussions can be stand-alone or they can be highly complementary as inclusive platforms for discussion in the weeks leading to a F2F event. If any HIFA members are planning an international conference, please consider the potential for HIFA to host discussions in the lead-up period.
Best wishes, Neil
HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with almost 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages (English, French, Spanish, Portuguese). Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG firstname.lastname@example.org