All at EPT wish researchers everywhere a wonderful, peaceful and productive 2009!
Wednesday, 31 December 2008
Tuesday, 23 December 2008
In early September, the total number of IRs (as shown by the Registry of Open Access Repositories, http://roar.eprints.org/) was 1122. Of these, 173 had been set up in developing countries (15.5%). I rechecked these figures on December 16th and found that the total number of IRs had risen by 112 to 1234, of which the number in developing countries was now 262 (21%).
While, in this ~3 month period, the number of registered IRs had increased at a rate approaching 1/day, the supporting funder/institutional/departmental mandates - that have such a positive impact on filling the repositories - had also risen from 56 to 60, with 11 more under development (see http://www.eprints.org/openaccess/policysignup/). Moreover, in the same period the number of OA journals had increased by 242 (see Directory of Open Access Journals http://www.doaj.org/). OA was firing on all cylinders and things were moving ahead strongly.
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IRs (% in developing countries)
Furthermore, as reported elsewhere on this blog, usage of these OA resources was quite spectacular, demonstrating the real need that exists for this research information currently inaccessible to many. And, as we also learn daily (see Peter Suber’s OAN), with the arrival of Open Access a whole raft of associated developments are being funded and coming on line – new applications, search/support/networking improvements, IR workshops, software development workshops, open data workshops, policy meetings and conferences . . . As, following the invention of the motor car, so roads, garages, driving licenses, parking arrangements, car salesmen, maps and associated engineering services all emerged, so we now see a vibrant hum of OA activities around the world.
Only the most blinkered of us could imagine any kind of return to the old ring-fenced system that has caused such problems for developing country research (and research everywhere). And the research communities in the developing world blink their eyes as the light at the end of the tunnel begins to dazzle with new research opportunities.
This blog raises a glass half full of good wishes to all OA advocates and the researchers they work to support!
Posted by Barbara Kirsop, Trustee EPT
Monday, 24 November 2008
October 14, 2008 was the world’s first Open Access Day. The founding partners were SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), Students for FreeCulture, and the Public Library of Science. Open Access Day helped to broaden awareness and understanding of Open Access, including recent mandates and emerging policies, within the international higher education community and the general public (http://openaccessday.org/). Information about Open Access Day activities in Azerbaijan, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Mozambique, Poland, South Africa, Sudan.
Azerbaijan: Khazar University Library Information centre translated "A very brief introduction to Open Access" by Peter Suber into Azeri language (http://www.khazar.org/library/news.shtm#news1). Khazar University Library Information Center administrates Khazar University Institutional Repository (KUIR) - the fist institutional repository in Azerbaijan showcasing the research outputs of Khazar University staff (http://dspace.khazar.org; more information about the repository is here: http://www.eifl.net/cps/sections/services/eifl-oa/oa-news/2008_09_18_khazar-university). Contact person: Tatyana Zayseva, Library Information Centre Director, tzayseva[@]gmail.com.
Lithuania: Lithuanian research libraries consortium together with Lithuanian Ministry of Education and Science and the Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education organized the workshop about Open access in the Lithuanian Academy of Science on October, 14, 2008. Workshop program is available online (http://www.lmba.lt/doc/seminaras_spalio14.doc) and information about open access is also on the Lithuanian Research Library Consortium website (http://www.lmba.lt/OA/liet/oa.htm). Contact person: Dr. Gintare Tautkeviciene, Kaunas University of Technology, eIFL Open Access country coordinator, gintare.tautkeviciene[@]ktu.lt.
Macedonia: On the occasion of the International Open Access Day, Metamorphosis Foundation sent an open letter to the Ministry of Education and Science and the Government of the Republic of Macedonia calling them to instigate an initiative for systematic, prompt and efficient resolution for the acute lack of educational contents available online (e-contents) in the local languages in Macedonia (http://www.metamorphosis.org.mk/content/view/1264/61/lang,en/). Contact person: Bardhyl Jashari, Metamorphosis Foundation, bjasari[@]soros.org.mk.
Moldova: A blog about Open Access in Romanian language and a directory of Open Access Moldavian resources were launched on the Open Access Day: http://oarm.blog2x2.net/. Natalia Cheradi, eIFL Open Access coordinator in Moldova, Consortium eIFL Direct Moldova, spoke about Open Access on the National Radio and National TV (TV-4 channel). Contact person: Natalia Cheradi, the Open Access Coordinator for Moldova, cheradi[@]lib.ase.md.
Mozambique: Aissa Mitha Issak, eIFL country coordinator in Mozambique, wrote an article about Open Access to be published in the national newspaper and participated in the Radio Mozambique show. She also translated "We Support Open Access Flyer" featuring a librarian, teacher, funder, student and patient advocate, into Portuguese language. Earlier this year Aissa Mitha Issak organised a workshop about Institutional Repositories and Open Access in Maputo, Mozambique. The major outcome of this workshop was a project on the shared open repository for Mozambique, gathering the intellectual production of the academic and research staff in the country funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture and at the pilot stage covering three institutions. The University of Minho will assure the technical support. More information: http://www.eifl.net/cps/sections/services/eifl-oa/oa-news/2008_09_17_workshop-on. Contact person: Aissa Mitha Issak, eIFL country coordinator in Mozambique, amissak[@]apolitecnica.ac.mz.
Poland: Bożena Bednarek-Michalska, eIFL Open Access country coordinator in Poland, Nicolaus Copernicus University Library in Torun, Poznan Foundation of Scientific Libraries, translated into Polish "A very brief introduction to Open Access" by Peter Suber and "We Support Open Access Flyer"; different institutions put this information with Open Access Day icon on their portals and web-sites on October 14. Bożena Bednarek-Michalska sent letters to the ministries, Universities and other public institutions about Open Access. Web-sites about Open Access Day: http://www.ebib.info/content/view/1568/. ICM (Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematical and Computational Modelling), Warsaw, Poland posted blog posts about Open Access Day: http://boa.icm.edu.pl/blog/2008/10/open-access-day/ and http://creativecommons.pl/blog/2008/10/open-access-day/.
South Africa: In celebration of Open Access Day, Durban University of Technology Libraries hosted an informal open session on the Institutional Repository and how researchers can get their research ready for submission into the Repository. Contact person: Pam Govender, pamgoven[@]dut.ac.za; Web & IT Support Officer, DUT Library, ML Sultan Library, http://library.dut.ac.za. University of Pretoria had an Open Access happening of which the message was "You are in good company if you support open access" with posters all over campus, buttons, a message on the university's main web page (http://web.up.ac.za/default.asp?ipkCategoryID=2843&articleID=997 a powerpoint slide show running constantly in the library (http://hdl.handle.net/2263/7550), students with OA t-shirts speaking to other students. Two open sessions on the open access research repository were organised and attended by 60 researchers from across faculty. Contact people: Monica Hammes, Assistant Director: Open Scholarship, Quality Assurance and UP Centenary Academic Information Service, University of Pretoria, Monica.Hammes[@]up.ac.za and Ina Smith, Digital Research Repository (UPSpace) Manager & eApplication Specialist, Department of Library Services, University of Pretoria, Ina.Smith[@]up.ac.za. University of Johannesburg Library and Information centre promoted Open Access day (UJ Science Librarian Blog: http://ujsciencelibrarianblog.blogspot.com/2008/10/open-access-day-14-october-2008.html and UJ Librarians News: http://ujlibrariansnews.blogspot.com/2008/09/open-access-day-october-14-2008.html). Contact person: Pavlinka Kovatcheva, Subject Librarian: Sciences, University of Johannesburg, Kingsway Campus, pkovatcheva[@]uj.ac.za.
Sudan: Abdalaziz Gabir, Open University of Sudan Library and eIFL Open Access country coordinator in Sudan, published at the web-site of the Open University of Sudan (http://www.ous.edu.sd/) selected translations from English into Arabic about benefits of Open Access to contribute to the awareness raising among Arabic countries. These documents will be also disseminated via the web-site of the Ministry of higher education of Sudan. Contact person: Abdalaziz Gabir, Open University of Sudan Library and eIFL Open Access country coordinator in Sudan, abdalazizgabir[@]yahoo.com.
More information about events celebrating Open Access Day: http://oad.simmons.edu/oadwiki/Events_celebrating_Open_Access_Day.
We are pleased to announce that next year’s Open Access Week will be in October 2009, dates to be confirmed. To hear about the latest development please complete the form here: http://www.formspring.com/forms/?377428-uGOWZXQybK http://openaccessday.org/
Monday, 17 November 2008
Bioline International has now been working with publishers in developing countries for 15 years, helping to raise the visibility of the largely unrecognised research reported in their journals. There are now 70 journals from 17 countries using the Bioline platform and, because of the benefits of open access in terms of visibility, improved submissions, improved impact and even improved subscription levels to the printed versions, there is now a queue of other journals waiting to become partners.Usage of the open access Bioline material rises year by year (in 2007, for example, there were 3.5 million full text downloads made by readers from both the developing world and the industrial nations and usage up to mid-2008 is equally encouraging) showing a real need for the information in the journals.
The joint initiative between the
As no charge is made to partner publishers for document management or site maintenance, all such donations will be spent directly in enabling poorly known journals published in developing countries to reap the benefits of open access and become part of the international scene.Congratulations are due to the
Posted by Barbara Kirsop
Thursday, 6 November 2008
On this momentous day, when
This message of renewed hope for greater openness in sharing information, comes at a time when there is growing evidence of the manifest benefits for individual researchers achieved by providing open access to their research output. The OptimalScholarship blog of Alma Swan, http://optimalscholarship.blogspot.com/2008/10/reasons-researchers-really-rate.html, recently provided yet another very encouraging story showing how deposit of articles in the Queensland University of Technology repository has significantly increased the downloads/impact/citation of deposited research articles. The QUT’s most prolific author, a chemist, Ray Frost, found that citations to his work increased from ~300 to 1200/year once he had deposited his papers in the QUT open access repository in 2004, as the charts below show.
So if you researchers out there want to make a difference, want your research to lead to new developments, want to raise your career prospects, the means are in your hands. Deposit copies of your published articles in your institutional repository, or publish in an OA journal in the first place. Yes, you can.
And if your institute is so behind the times that it hasn’t yet established an IR (remember, free software, quick to set up, free help to hand), please let the EPT know on email@example.com. We need to know of any difficulties (and of any successes too) in making your research as widely accessible as possible. There are people that can help, but they need to know the scale and kind of problems you face.
Posted by Barbara Kirsop
Tuesday, 14 October 2008
Open Access Day – an historical perspective from the UK
As everyone is celebrating the first Open Access Day,
At this time, the country was rebuilding many hospitals that had been destroyed and it seemed an unlikely time to introduce such a revolutionary concept. The medical profession and its senior organisation, the British Medical Association, were appalled and saw the NHS as heralding the end of their cherished profession, the end of their prized status and indeed their livelihood. There were petitions, marches, heated debates and it seemed the battle was lost. But Bevan stuck firm to his vision and initiated a vigorous publicity campaign targeted at the general public. As the strength of the positive response from the population became clear, a few doctors wavered and agreed to join the NHS. It then became clear to the profession that if some of their community agreed, they would attract very high numbers of patients, leaving the deniers struggling for people to add to their list. They might be faced with empty waiting rooms and no income. At this moment in the campaign Bevan proposed that if doctors agreed to serve with the NHS, they could retain a part of their private practice. A deal was struck and the NHS came into existence, on time, over budget and under-prepared. Sick people – really sick people - flocked to their doctors, threatening to overwhelm the service, but demonstrating indisputably the great volume of untreated health problems within the population.
As we watched recent TV programmes on the battle for the NHS, it has been tempting to draw parallels with the drive towards OA. The publishers fear the advent of free global access to publicly funded research findings. They too fear their livelihoods will be damaged. As in 1948, there are misunderstandings, misinformation, technical uncertainties. But both the NHS and OA came into being to meet the needs of disadvantaged communities. When the NHS opened its doors, there was astonishment at the long queues of citizens waiting for free treatment. Similarly, as research articles have become available free to all, usage has rocketed and full text download statistics have amazed OA repository managers and OA publishers, demonstrating without doubt the information deprivation faced by much of the global scientific community.
And now, 60 years on, the NHS flourishes. People grumble of course, there have been little injections of commercialisation, and the service has elements in need of improvement, - but in truth the British treasure the NHS to such an extent that it has been proposed that its birthday be marked as a national holiday, “as a symbol of the countries’ commitment to fairness”. The doctors have adapted (and are still earning enviable salaries), the patients are beginning to forget how it used to be and make increasing demands, the health of the nation has improved beyond recognition. The courageous ‘Nye’ Bevan was vilified by the establishment, but today some of those that witnessed this social revolution have placed him on a pedestal, for ever grateful for his vision. And six years on from
Sixty years hence, on OA Day 2068, the international research community will look back on the old days and wonder how research was ever conducted without the access now becoming available - and if the history of the NHS is a model, there will be no turning back the clock.
On 5 July we start together, the new National Health Service. It has not had an altogether trouble-free gestation. There have been understandable anxieties, inevitable in so great and novel an undertaking…... My job is to give you all the facilities, resources and help I can, and then to leave you alone as professional men and women to use your skills and judgement without hindrance. Let us try to develop that partnership from now on.'
- Aneurin Bevan, The Lancet, 1948
Posted by Barbara Kirsop, Trustee and Secretary EPT.
Friday, 10 October 2008
Following the conference on Open Access and Research held in September in
, http://www.oar2008.qut.edu.au/, and hosted by Queensland University of Technology, the following statement was developed and has the endorsement of over sixty participants. Australia
The participants recognise Open Access as a strategic enabling activity, on which research and inquiry will rely at international, national, university, group and individual levels.
Therefore the participants resolve the following as a summary of the basic strategies that
1 Every citizen should have free open access to publicly funded research, data and knowledge.
2 Every Australian university should have access to a digital repository to store its research outputs for this purpose.
3 As a minimum, this repository should contain all materials reported in the Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC).
4 The deposit of materials should take place as soon as possible, and in the case of published research articles should be of the author’s final draft at the time of acceptance so as to maximize open access to the material.
Arthur Sale, a participant and strong advocate of open access said, ‘The Conference wanted to support the two Australian Ministers with responsibility for Innovation, Science and Health in their moves to make open access mandatory for all Australian-funded research.' The Declaration represented an overwhelming consensus of the active members of the repository community in
Monday, 22 September 2008
A recent contributor to the AMERICAN-SCIENTIST-OPEN-ACCESS-FORUM@LISTSERVER.SIGMAXI.ORG, Joe Esposito, made statements that need addressing. He said, in relation to the semi-automated ability to request copies of papers of articles archived in OA Institutional Repositories, ‘ Most authors, of course, will not be troubled much with requests because the articles are indeed available to most researchers through institutional subscriptions’, and later ‘. . . OA has little impact’, and finally ‘OA is a small idea’. By responding to this posting, I am aware that I am merely re-stating what is abundantly clear to the scholarly community, but less informed readers may be concerned by the statements made.
If it is true, as he states, that ‘the articles are available to most researchers through institutional subscriptions’, how is it that when material *is* made OA, hundreds and thousands of articles are downloaded daily? How is it, for example, that of the 13,000 records archived in the Universidad de Los
In spite of research findings to the contrary, he also concludes that ‘OA has little impact’. But people have different interpretations of what is ‘impact’. To some, it just means citations. Important, yes, but as all researchers know, at the start of a new project, it is standard practice to find and read a considerable number of papers, some recent, some not, and the knowledge this provides feeds into their future work, directing their understanding, broadening their horizons, providing technical information (methods, procedures . .) and only a little of this will be cited in future publications. This ‘impact’ arising from their reading and discussions with colleagues is near-immeasurable, but is essential to the successful conduct of research programmes. If impact equals recorded future usage, statistics of the magnitude of downloads being shown from OA IRs (see ‘Bring on the IRs’ on this blog, March 2008) and OA Journals (3.5 million full text downloads from developing country journals distributed through the Bioline International system in a year . . . sharply increasing usage figures from the OA MedKnow journals published in Mumbai . . .) now demonstrate clearly that this information, previously locked away in vaults, is needed and downloaded by researchers for professional purposes, not for fun.
And if the concept of OA is ‘a small idea’, how is it that approaching 55 highly regarded international and national organisations have required that it be adopted? How is it that there are now 1145 registered OA Institutional Repositories (increasing by ~1/day)? How is it that there are now 3617 registered OA Journals?
Posted by Barbara Kirsop
Thursday, 11 September 2008
OA between two hurricanes
An InterAcademy Panel workshop on ‘Open Access to Scientific Literature and other Digital Scientific Information Resources in Central America and the Caribbean: Focus on Education and Health for Sustainable Development’ was organized by the Cuban Academy of Science – between hurricanes. In spite of weather worries, speakers arrived and everything took place in excellent order, organized seemingly near-single handed by Alejandro Caballero de Rivero of the
My impression is that many of the
There were presentations on how the Creative Commons License works, how institutional repositories work, how the InterAcademy works, what is underway in the different Cuban ministries. The research networks infrastructure progress was described and OA policy developments in
The IAP will be working on projects to support OA developments, following a final discussion on needs and opportunities.
The arrival of the hotel parrot in the beautiful tropical atrium at coffee breaks was much appreciated and led to interesting conversations.
Thursday, 28 August 2008
The British Association for the Advancement of Science’s ‘Festival of Science’ will include a special forum (see http://blogs.openaccesscentral.com/blogs/bmcblog/entry/biomed_central_at_the_festival), organised by BioMedCentral, to discuss how research and open communication can help to advance medical understanding of diseases prevalent in developing countries. It will take place at the University of Liverpool, UK, on Wednesday September 10th at 16.00 hrs and is free to all
BioMed Central’s Publisher, Matt Cockerill, will chair the forum. Speakers include Hattie Begg, Advocacy and Research Officer of African Medical and Research Foundation; Dr Colin Sutherland, Lecturer at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Editorial Board Member of Malaria Journal, Barbara Kirsop from the Electronic Publishing Trust for Development; and David Dickson, Editor of SciDev.net.
Monday, 4 August 2008
International Workshop for Open Access to Scientific Literature and other Digital Scientific Information Resources in
This workshop is part of the InterAcademy Panel on International issues (IAP) Program on Promoting Access to and Use of Digital Knowledge Resources, focusing on countries with developing and transitional economies, and follows a previous IAP initiative on Access to Scientific Information in Developing Countries.
So within the framework of this Program, the
The initial announcement can be found on the
Details of the programme are now available by clicking on the PDF link at the bottom of the announcement.
Monday, 21 July 2008
 A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the Indian Association of Universities and the Association of Netherlands Universities which includes the statement (under the heading ‘Access to publications’) that ‘The Parties will promote among their members open access to scientific and scholarly publications.’
The full text may be viewed from: http://www.ez.nl/Actueel/Pers_en_nieuwsberichten/Nieuwsberichten_2008/maart_2008/
 Full text downloads of papers presented at ELPUB Conference, June 2008 can be accessed from http://www.elpub.net/
 Full text downloads and video's of presentations at the recent ICTP workshop in
Note: EPT Trustee Leslie Chan was the organizer of the ELPUB Conference in
 On July 17th,
Sunday, 13 July 2008
The journal Nature has published two letters in their correspondence section relating to developing countries and open access, see http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v453/n7194/full/453450c.html.
Headline 1: ‘Open access more harm than good for developing countries’
Headline 2: ‘Future of open access could be online and peer reviewed’
[H1] The provision of unprecedented volumes of research information now freely available to all with access to the Internet (3489 OA Journals; 1101 OA institutional repositories) translates into a growing resource of scholarly information for supporting research webwide. This is hardly harmful, and is not what the author was referring to.
[H2] OA has always been online and peer-reviewed. OA journals are peer reviewed just as are toll access journals, and institutional repositories contain already published articles that have also been peer-reviewed.
Three letters sent to Nature correcting misinterpretations and misunderstandings were refused publication.
As statistics from OA Journals and OA IRs now show, usage of OA resources by the countries disenfranchised from use of toll access journals is extremely high. This is not surprising - without OA, the sick, the hungry and the poor continue to suffer from lack of information and their countries continue to struggle to develop strong and independent research structures. Therefore, the headlines created by the Nature editorial team are factually wrong and damaging to sustainable development. Such headlines certainly make it difficult to read future Nature correspondence with any degree of trust.For further discussion on this issue, see http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/2008/07/more-nature-coverage-of-oa-in.html in Open Access News .
Posted by Barbara Kirsop
Friday, 4 July 2008
If you are looking for an authoritative and comprehensive article on the background and rationale for open access and its importance for developing countries, you could do no better than read, “Excluding the poor from accessing biomedical literature: A rights violation that impedes global health” by Gavin Yamey, published in the international journal, Health and Human Rights, Vol 10, No 1 (2008), and available (OA) online from http://www.hhrjournal.org/index.php/hhr/article/view/20/88.
This is an excellent article that introduces the issue of human rights into the open access debate. It provides many quotes from researchers in the developing world that bring real-life examples of how closed access damages public health and restricts the development of academic strength in low-income regions of the world. And it matches these examples with the considered views of many international organisations and authorities, reiterating the widely accepted view that economic growth is dependent on a strong and independent research base.
But the article is already out of date. Since its publication the number of organisations introducing open access mandates has grown from 11 to 46, with a further 8 under development. Moreover, the article focuses almost exclusively on OA publishing, whereas the increasing volume and usage of free material available from institutional repositories is only touched on. This is a pity as the development of interoperable OA repositories is the fastest, cheapest and easiest means to get authors’ versions of already refereed and published research findings into the hands of those that need them. Perhaps Yamey can be persuaded to write a second insightful article on the importance of OA IRs to research and sustainable development . . . and he could include the huge benefit OA provides in making the ‘invisible’ research carried out in the poorer countries globally ‘visible’.
Tuesday, 24 June 2008
The ELPUB Open Scholarship Conference in
‘Open Access in
‘Issues and challenges to development of institutional repositories in academic and research institutions in
‘Brazilian open access initiatives: key strategies and challenges’, Sely M S Costa, Fernando C L Leite
Characteristics shared by the scientific electronic journals of
‘An overview of the development of open access journals and repositories in
‘Opening scholarship: strategies for integrating open access and open education’, Eve Gray, Melissa Hagemann, Heather Joseph, Mark Surman,
‘African universities in the knowledge economy: a collaborative approach to researchinh and promoting open communications in higher education’, Eve Gray, Marke Burke,
It is clear from these presentations that there is much work remaining to be done in terms of raising awareness about open access, addressing uncertainties and providing technical support. However, there are very encouraging signs of progress that will lead to increased adoption of OA as the benefits become recognised. It should be noted that these presentations relate to adopting in-country OA technologies and not to the very impressive usage of OA resources now taking place, and reported in this blog earlier (see
Saturday, 14 June 2008
The International African Institute at the School of Oriental and African studies (SOAS:http://www.soas.ac.uk/) has announced that the journal Africa is to be made available free to institutions and libraries in qualifying African countries as a result of an arrangement between the International African Institute and the Edinburgh University Press.For further information, see:
Here is what is said about the journal:
“Journal of the International African Institute
The International African Institute and Edinburgh University Press are pleased to jointly announce that their flagship journal
It is good that this journal will be more widely available within
Tuesday, 10 June 2008
A letter from Dr Gadagkar, IISc in India, published in Nature (453, 427-562, 22 May 2008) under the headline ‘Open access more harm than good in developing countries’, referred to the policy from a minority of Open Access Journals to require payment from authors, while making material free of charge to all readers. Rightly, the letter said this was damaging for authors from poorer countries. However, the author was not aware that by far the majority of OA journals (67% of journals in the Directory of OA Journals, and 83% of society published journals) make NO charge to authors. Unfortunately, the Nature headline, quoting out of context, sent the totally erroneous message that
A number of people wrote to Nature to put the record straight, but it is unfortunate that none of these letters have been accepted for publication. In order to clarify the misleading message portrayed by the headline and the misunderstanding in the content of the letter, the letter sent by three of the EPT Trustees is shown below. The letter firstly corrects the impression that all OA journals make a charge to authors, and secondly highlights the vast and growing volume of research articles now readily available to all through the interoperable OA institutional repositories. We hope this will help correct the unfortunate impression given by the headline in Nature.
As Trustees of the Electronic Publishing Trust for Development working with research scientists and publishers in developing countries* for over a decade, we write to correct misunderstandings conveyed in the correspondence from Raghavendra Gadagkar (Nature, 453, 450,
First, the choice for researchers in the economically poor regions is not between ‘pay to publish’ versus ‘pay to read’ since by far the majority of “Gold” Open Access (OA) journals make no charge to authors whatsoever. Most are therefore free to both authors and readers. Second, the alternative “Green” route to OA for universities is to create low-cost institutional repositories (IRs) -- in which their researchers can self-archive their publications to make them freely available to all users with Internet access -- and this has already been adopted by about 1300 institutions worldwide. A growing number (44) of universities and funding organisations (including Harvard, Southampton, Liège,
Usage of these resources by developing countries is now well recorded. As examples, usage of journals published in developing countries (and making no charge to authors or readers) was recorded by Bioline International as having reached 3.5 million full text downloads in 2007. Usage of research publications archived in IRs shows
It is clear from these small but representative examples of usage that OA has huge benefits for the progress of research in the developing world, and advances steadily.
Subbiah Arunachalam, Flat No. 1, Raagas Apts, 66 Venkatakrishna Road, Chennai 600 028, India. Tel: +91 44 2461 3224, Mobile: 97909 2941
Leslie Chan, University of Toronto, Department of Social Sciences, 1265 Military Trail, Scarborough, Ontario, M1C1A4, Canada, Tel: +1 416 287 7505
Barbara Kirsop, Electronic Publishing Trust for Development, Wilmots, Elmton,
Electronic Publishing Trust for Development, http://www.epublishingtrust.org
Bioline International, http://www.bioline.org.br)
* Please note that we use the term “developing countries” for convenience while recognising its limitations.
Thursday, 5 June 2008
Elsevier publisher has claimed that the WHO HINARI program (of providing free access to articles made available by collaborating publishers to registered organisations in certain low income countries) leads to a significant increase in the number of publications from researchers in the qualifying countries. This claim has been criticised by a number of e-publishing experts. The conclusions were arrived at from an informal study of ISI data carried out by a person at Elsevier publishers. Critics say that ‘without knowing the methods and the data, the conclusions are meaningless. For all we know, the increase could be due largely to open access literature being increasingly available to scientists in the developing world. There are other measures of impact other than publishing in ISI indexed journals, and these may be particularly relevant to researchers from the developing world. We desperately need good research on publishing and citation patterns of researchers from developing countries to better understand the various effects of the different means of increasing access’.
Kimberly Parker, HINARI Program Manager, has since said that “with such a simple analysis it is impossible to prove HINARI alone has caused this increase.... We believe we're a contributing factor in the growth. This particular piece of research was something that came to hand; we are pleased to be able to say that we look to be a contributing factor but we can't prove it. ... “. Others have said that increased access whether through the increasing number of open access resources or through donor programs are bound to stimulate research activity, and it requires in depth studies to show whether programs such as HINARI are the sole contributors to increases in scientific activity.
Usage figures are critical to assessing the value being made of research publications, and happily those from OA resources are increasingly being monitored and made publicly available for study (see other postings to this blog). It would be good to have access to the usage figures of the UN programs (HINARI/AGORA/OARE) so that their comparative value can be assessed.
Friday, 16 May 2008
There is to be a special session devoted to activities taking place in (or of importance to) developing countries, with presentations from Brazil, Bulgaria, China, India, Mexico and South Africa. These presentations will be webcast so that we may take part in this interesting session.
Details of accessing the webcast will be made available nearer the time.
This conference is being organised from the University of Toronto, the home of Bioline International (http://www.bioline.org.br). BI now makes available on an open access basis 76 journals published in developing countries. In 2007 BI recorded 3.5 million full text downloads from these journals, showing how valuable this material is to the international scientific community.
Thursday, 24 April 2008
The presentations and posters at the recent OR08 Conference at the University of Southampton, UK, are now available online at http://pubs.or08.ecs.soton.ac.uk/. There is much valuable material relating to repositories to be found from this link.
Included in the OR08 posters was one presented by the eIFL Open Access program manager, Irina Kuchma. The title of the poster was ‘Open Repositories in Developing and Transition Countries: Results of eIFL.net Activities’. The text version and poster version are available from:
The poster included a case study of IR developments in the
Tuesday, 22 April 2008
Two valuable documents have recently been made available and could be of interest to the research communities in
1. The report of the CODATA meeting (http://www.cria.org.br/eventos/codata2007/) that took place last autumn, ‘Strategies for Open and Permanent Access to Scientific Information in
Friday, 18 April 2008
Institutional / Funder OA Mandates
There are now over 40 mandates requiring authors to deposit articles arising from research conducted in their organisations in their institutional repositories (IRs) – see ROARmap for details of existing and agreed mandates. The number includes prestigious organisations such as the Universities of Harvard and Southampton, the NIH, the Wellcome Trust and many more. Moreover, the council of the European University Association (representing nearly 800 European universities) has unanimously recommended the establishment of interoperable institutional repositories.
In spite of this growing trend, some researchers object to being ‘mandated’ to deposit their papers. They think it will interfere with their professional independence.
I find this attitude difficult to understand. On accepting their research position, researchers are ‘required’ to carry out research; they are ‘required’ to report the outcome of their research in institutional reports and in journals of their choice. Their institutes and funders have provided the resources for the research in order to increase knowledge and they rightly wish to justify their investment and ensure the research findings are as widely known as possible. By depositing articles in their interoperable institutional repository authors are hugely increasing the distribution of knowledge to the global academic community (see, for example EPT BLog, March 26th 2008). So what’s the problem?
Those that have access already to much of the research information they need for their work may not feel there is any need to take another few minutes (because that’s all it takes) to deposit their publications in their IRs. But by deciding not to bother to do this, they are denying the 80% of the world’s researchers who live in less economically advantaged regions the means to access the research they need, to develop strong national research structures that in turn will lead to robust and independent economies. That’s the problem.
Researchers should consider an institutional or funder mandate as merely an additional small ‘requirement’ that can make a vast difference to the progress of science and the resolution of many of the world’s problems – unless of course their research is of limited value. . . .
Posted by Barbara Kirsop, Trustee and Secretary EPT