Open access and open science more broadly have great potential to accelerate the research necessary to deliver on the SDGs, as well as to place high quality information into the hands of citizens, helping them take better decisions.

Yet openness alone does not guarantee equity in access to and use of information to support development. Furthermore, the abundance of free information sources online can all too often lead to confusion and the rapid spread of misinformation. The COVID-19 pandemic has only underlined the urgency of finding solutions.

This side-event will therefore explore the issues which governments and other stakeholders will need to resolve in order to realise the potential of open access and open science as accelerators of strong, sustainable and equitable development.

Speakers include (with biographies at bottom):

  • Omo Oaiya, Chief Strategy Officer, WACREN, Ghana
  • Ellen Tise, Senior Director, Library and Information Services, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
  • Jonathan Hernandez Perez, Researcher, UNAM, Mexico
  • Dilara Begum, Chair, Department of Information and Library Sciences, East-West University, Bangladesh
  • Juan Miguel Diez, Director, United Nations Information Centre for the Caribbean
  • Thanos Giannakopoulos, Head, Dag Hammarskjold Library

Moderators: Wouter Schalier, Hernán Santa Cruz Library, UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean; Stephen Wyber, Manager, Policy and Advocacy, IFLA

The session will took place on 5 May 2021, from 12:30pm to 2pm New York time.

Read our news story, and watch the event on IFLA’s YouTube channel.




Omo Oaiya

Omo Oaiya is Chief Strategy Officer of the West and Central African Research and Education Network, or WACREN. In this role, he is responsible for technical assets, counselling and supporting members on technical issues. He was part of the task team set up by the Association of African Universities (AAU) that led to the incorporation of WACREN, and has been at the heart of efforts linked to open access, including the People’s Open Access Initiative, and LIBSEBSE.


Ellen Tise

Ellen is Principal Director of Library and Information Services at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, and a past President of IFLA (2009-2011). She was also the first president of the Library and Information Association of South Africa from 1998 to 2002. She is currently chair of IFLA’s Advisory Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression. In addition to her library management work, she has published extensively on issues around access to knowledge, open access, and wider librarianship in Africa.


Jonathan Hernandez-Perez

Jonathan Hernández is an associated researcher at the Library and Information Institute at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, a past president of the National College of Librarians of Mexico. He is an active in research around misinformation, censorship, privacy, and digital forgotten are studied. His recent publications focus on information diversity on the internet, the digital forgotten and internet misinformation from a library perspective.


Dilara Begum

Dr. Dilara Begum is the Associate Professor and Chairperson in the Department of Information Studies and Library Management at East West University. Her research interests include information management, digital library, information literacy, open access and others. She is considered one of the pioneers of Digital Library buildings in Bangladesh and internationally. She was recognised as one of the  “Prof. Indira Parikh 50 Women in Education Leaders” in 2018 at the World Education Congress.


Juan Miguel Diez

Juan Miguel Diez is the Director of the UN Information Centre for the Caribbean, a role he has held since 2014. Previously, he was director ad interim of the UN Information Centre in Mexico City. Prior to joining the UN, he worked in Mexico as a reporter and producer with Television Azteca, and as a writer, editor and reporter for El Inversionista and El Heraldo de Mexico. He has been particularly active in work to develop and promote the UN Verified initiative.


Thanos Giannakopoulos

Thanos Giannakopoulos is the Chief Librarian of the United Nations Headquarters, where he has re-envisioned the Library as an open space for public dialogue, debate and knowledge sharing, as well as an essential component for the management of the UN’s parliamentary and research digital output. He has also strongly promoted public dissemination of UN content through the UN Digital Library, and several new scholarly communication and digital workflow products.