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[BOAI] Open Access in Developing Countries

From: Stevan Harnad <harnad AT ecs.soton.ac.uk>
Date: Sat, 15 Feb 2003 13:55:18 +0000 (GMT)


Threading:      • This Message
             [BOAI] Re: Open Access in Developing Countries from ept AT biostrat.demon.co.uk

On Sat, 15 Feb 2003, Subbiah Arunachalam wrote:

> Friends:
> 
> Here is a draft report on communication flow and information access in
> science in developing countries. I will be grateful for your valuable
> comments and criticism. There are two attachments: the text and the 
tables.
> Regards.
> 
> Arun
> [Subbiah Arunachalam]

Dear Arun,

I've read your article and it seems to give an excellent summary of all
the factors involved in the three problems at hand:

    (1) The DC (developing countries) *access* to (incoming) non-DC
    (and DC) research literature

    (2) The *visibility/impact* of (outgoing) DC research literature

    (3) The technology gap (the problem of access to modern networked
    computer resources in DC)

I cannot add anything about (3), though I have the feeling that
significant progress in (1) and (2) would help drive (3) -- though
clearly some headway on (3) is a prerequisite for being able to benefit
from (1) and (2).

I also understand that as (1) (immediate access) is most urgent for DC,
immediate measures, such as lower-toll-access, are essential now; there
is not the time to work and wait only for long-term open-access.

But I think there is no conflict. Let DC do anything and everything they
can do, now, to get lower tolls and more technology. But, *apart from
that*, nothing is lost by investing as much time and energy as is
available into (1), and thereby (2). (1) is open access, and what is in
the hands of DC researchers whenever and wherever (3) (technology) allows it
is BOAI-1, self-archiving their own research output (either in their own
institutional Eprint Archives or in Central ones at other institutions)
and/or BOAI-2, submitting it to open-access journals (BOAI-2) such as
BioMed Central or PLoS.

This local piece of self-help, multiplied many times over, in both the DC
and non-DC, is what will eventually provide the long-term open-access,
and it will at the same time provide (2): maximal visibility/impact for
DC research output. (1) comes slowly, collectively, but (2) can be quite
fast, for each researcher's own output.

I think this needs to be stressed, in your closing remarks about the
immediate needs vs. long-term open-access goals.

We are, after all, trying to create a reciprocal domino open-access effect,
and DC countries can help make it happen, and happen faster:
"Self-archive unto others as ye would have them self-archive unto 
you."
http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Temp/unto-others.html

Cheers, Stevan



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