Re: Access-Denial, Impact-Denial and the Developing and Developed World

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sun, 14 Mar 2004 22:50:34 +0000

On Sun, 14 Mar 2004, Sharon Stephens Brehm wrote:

> Although there are many benefits from OA, I am particularly interested
> in the impact OA would have on educational and economic development in
> transitional societies.

There is a good deal of OA activity in the developing world. Here are
some topic threads:

    "Access-Denial, Impact-Denial and the Developing and Developed World"

    "Third World Academy of Sciences and open access"

In a nutshell: Users in the South need access to Northern research
output. Southern research output also needs to be made more visible and
accessible to users in the North. The symmetry is instructive, because
it is not just the South that has impact and access problems: The South
is very much with all of us, as we all have far more Have-Not universities
than Harvards. And even the Harvards have an impact problem, if somewhat
less of an access problem than the rest of us:

Please see Subbiah Arunachalam's article "India's march towards open access"
on SciDev net

and Leslie Chan & Barbara Kirsop's important work through BioLine International

> When I had the opportunity to visit some university libraries in India and
> Africa, it was clear to me that they could never catch up with the library
> world as we used to know it in the US and Europe...
> I also wonder, however, if at least transitionally, we might need a sort
> of global OhioLINK to facilitate sharing those electronic resources that
> are not yet OA and providing access to materials that are not available
> electronically. (OhioLINK is the state-wide consortium of Ohio's college
> and university libraries along with the State Library of Ohio).

There are some such projects too, such as Hinari:

Others in this Forum will know more. But do not underestimate what the
Developing World has to offer the Developed World, rather than just vice
versa. Open Access is a two-way street.

> In these complicated and troubled times, I cannot think of a better
> project than for the rich countries to give their intellectual capital
> away in order to raise the level of education and development around
> the world.

And charity really begins at home here: If we make all of our own research output
OA, all other institutions worldwide, whether Haves or have-Nots, will be better
off (in terms of access) -- and so will we (in terms of impact)!

Best wishes,

Stevan Harnad

NOTE: A complete archive of the ongoing discussion of providing open
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Received on Sun Mar 14 2004 - 22:50:34 GMT

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