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Insights and articles related to knowledge management, information security, technology, data and analytics, business process automation, platform management, and other related topics, from our experienced team of consultants.

Knowledge Management and Open Access

At first glance, Knowledge Management and Open Access may appear to be quite different from each other. But in many ways, they represent the two different sides of knowledge sharing.
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Abby Clobridge

Abby Clobridge is the founder of FireOak Strategies. She works with clients around the world to enhance how organizations manage, secure, and share their knowledge. You can reach Abby at [email protected].

Knowledge Management & Open Access -- Two Sides of Knowledge Sharing

At first glance, Knowledge Management and Open Access may appear to be quite different from each other. But in many ways, they represent the two different sides of knowledge sharing.

Knowledge Management: Internal Knowledge Sharing

At its core, Knowledge Management is about maximizing the application and re-use of knowledge — usually, within a particular organization or even a subset of an organization. 

Then, the focus for many organizations is on internal knowledge: capturing, organizing, describing, sharing, and promoting the re-use and application of internally-generated knowledge.

Open Access: External Knowledge Sharing

In many regards, Open Access is the inverse of this process. 

Instead of capturing, describing, archiving, and harnessing an organization’s internal knowledge, Open Access focuses on external usage — how to aggregate, describe, and disseminate knowledge. 

The key to Open Access is to ensure that materials are discoverable via search engines and through standards-compliant repositories. Within the Open Access movement, the focus was initially on research-related knowledge captured via peer-reviewed, scholarly articles. However, that definition has been broadening over the past decade, and many organizations involved in promoting Open Access push for various types of research products (datasets, grey literature, white papers, case studies, databases, etc.) to be made openly accessible.

Knowledge management is about pulling together internal knowledge for maximum organizational re-use. Open access, on the other hand, is the external knowledge push -- maximizing discovery and re-use outside of where that knowledge was created.

Thus, in a typical push/pull model for knowledge sharing, OA represents the “push” side of the equation (disseminating knowledge to a global audience), while KM represents the “pull” (working to capture, collect, describe, knowledge for internal re-use). 

With both Knowledge Management and Open Access, the key is ensuring that knowledge is discoverable in order to maximize its reuse. 

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