Denise Rosemary Nicholson (BA HDipLib (UNISA), LLM (WITS)) retired from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa (Wits) in December 2020, after nearly 38 years’ professional service in various library posts. She has 24 years’ experience in copyright issues, open access, and scholarly communication. She is well-recognised internationally, regionally and in South Africa, for her advocacy and promotion of access to knowledge, open access, and copyright awareness, and her campaign for more balanced copyright laws in South Africa and other developing countries. She has been a member of various copyright projects and committees in South Africa and abroad. She was a co-founder of the African Access to Knowledge Alliance in 2005, which was involved in a number of key projects in Africa until 2010. She has been invited, with full sponsorship, to speak at many conferences around the world during the past 24 years. She has published many articles, book chapters, newspaper articles, and blog items. She has had input into various policy and other documents for international, regional, and local organisations. For 22 years, she offered a free online information service on various topics, including copyright, scholarly communication, access to knowledge, predatory publishing practices, open access, open science, traditional knowledge, access for people with disabilities, etc. On retirement, she had to close her online newsletter which had over 8000 subscribers globally. She has received a number of prestigious library awards, as well as the Wits Vice-Chancellor’s Academic Citizenship Award (2015) for her sterling work in copyright and access to knowledge matters nationally, regionally, and internationally.
She is currently an expert copyright advisor to the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Committee on Copyright and Other Legal Matters, the Library Association of South Africa (LIASA), and the official copyright spokesperson for the National Council for Library and Information Services (NCLIS), an advisory body for the Minister of Sports, Arts, and Culture.
She is continuing her work in the above fields through her new consultancy, Scholarly Horizons, which offers advisory services, webinars/workshops, and other services to the higher education, research, and library sectors, as well as to corporates, NGOs, Government departments, and others. Through project work, she collaborates with international, regional, and local organisations to promote access to knowledge and research integrity. She has recently been invited to serve on the Steering Committee of the EIFL African Project and the Advisory Board of Fidelior.