Open Access has become a major topic of discussion in the West; as, too, related issues of publication. Why in the ‘West?’ because access to digital technology as well as to many journals is generally absent in developing countries. It is deeply troubling to watch the rapid increase in this global divide.
While in some countries – Kenya, South Africa, for example – there is some improved access, in more impoverished countries – such as here in Burundi – there is absolutely none. Not one university or research institute has been able to move much beyond Google searches. The Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute in South Africa leads the publication of a series of documents that are suitable for technicians and veterinarians and that are keyed to situations in Africa – such as this one – we need more initiatives like this!
There are also international organizations having document portals – such as the CGIAR, the World Bank and FAO – but the available documents are often limited to their own publications. Additionally, training of students, researchers, professionals, and Interested Others in use of these portals is generally lacking.
Why don’t some of the donors weight in on this issue? I frankly do not know. But continue gently prodding potential donors – FAO, having a large operation here in Burundi, is one possibility, and there are others. I’m hoping to be working with one of the local (but internationally linked) universities on this issue. Some of the major international publishers, such as JSTOR and SAGE, offer special programs for universities in poorer countries, but these possibilities are often not known; another angle.
In the meantime, here is a bit of a humorous turn, helping to keep us all tuned-in to these important issues. If the last link – a video – doesn’t display properly, do open it; it’s brilliant!
- Friday Funnies: Lessons in Resistance & Resilience of Plants, Animals & People (dianabuja.wordpress.com)
- New Research on Open Access and the “Superstar Effect” (publishing.umich.edu)
- “The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Poorer: The Effect of Open Access on Cites to Science Journals Across the Quality Spectrum” (digital-scholarship.org)