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[BOAI] eForum on "OPEN ACCESS to Scholarly Publications: A model for enhanced knowledge management?"

From: Peter Suber <peters AT>
Date: Thu, 09 Sep 2004 22:14:43 -0400

[Forwarding from Inge Kaul and Vikas Nath.  --Peter.]

Dear Colleagues,

We invite you to participate in the upcoming eForum on "OPEN ACCESS TO
hosted by the global public goods Network (gpgNet):

The eForum will run from 20 September through 4 October 2004.

To subscribe to this forum, send a blank email to:
subscribe-gpgnet-oa AT  or, go to:

There exists a rapidly expanding stock of scientific knowledge. Yet,
access to this pool of knowledge is often difficult. A primary reason for
this is the relatively high price of scholarly journals, their printed and
their web-based versions. This situation, it can be argued is both
inequitable and inefficient.

Initiatives have been undertaken to demonstrate that scientific knowledge
need not necessarily be published in forms that make access expensive - or
even impossible. It could be provided free of charge - through open access
to it - without detrimental effect on scientific knowledge production and
preserving the peer-review process that is key to validate scientific

With open access, fees to meet the publishing costs - when required - are
paid up front when articles are accepted by a journal, rather than by the
readers. Access to the journal is then provided for free.

Today, about 5% of academic publishing follows the open-access model.
But the model is quickly gaining ground, including among both for-profit
(BioMedCentral -BMC) and not-for-profit (Public Library of Science PloS)


The key points suggested for the debate are:

1. What are the main pros and cons of open-access scholarly publishing?

2. Thinking in particular of scholars in developing countries (and the
fact that research grants may not be as easily available for them than for
industrial-country scholars), could they face a new disadvantage?  What
sources will be available to pay these fees when authors cannot get their
funder or employer to pay them? Will all open-access journals be able to
waive processing fees in cases of economic hardship, as PLoS and BMC do?
Should the international aid community maintain a fund/facility to help
meet these costs?

3. Is the open-access model of publishing more likely to be successful in
some than in other fields? What would determine the likely success?

4. Could the open-access model of knowledge management be applied beyond
scholarly academic publishing?


To aid debate on the topic, read a detailed overview of how open access to
scholarly publications works by Peter Suber, Open Access Project Director
at Public Knowledge, Washington, D.C, available at:

Also read how the Budapest Open Access Initiative defines "Open 

Join us for this debate and share with us - and the global public - your
observations on this topic.

Inge Kaul
Office of Development Studies

Vikas Nath
global public goods Network (gpgNet) Forum

United Nations Development Programme
336 East 45 Street
New York NY 10017 USA
Email: info AT

--- intends to serve researchers, policymakers, business and civil
society as a platform for information exchange and discussion on issues
concerning the theory, policy design and practice of providing global
public goods.

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