OA Self-Archiving for publicly funded research

From: Barbara Kirsop <barbara_at_biostrat.demon.co.uk>
Date: Thu, 30 Sep 2004 08:07:28 -0400

Barbara Kirsop, Leslie Chan, Subbiah Arunachalam, Secretary and Trustees
Electronic Publishing Trust for Development, UK

Dear All,

As the time for our discussion draws to a close we would like to register our
thanks to UNDP for providing this facility. We imagine that there will be an
analysis of contributions and a summary of the discussions, which will be valuable
to us all.

However, as an organisation working to promote equality of access to published
refereed research both to and from the science communities in the developing world,
we would also like to register our disappointment on two counts:

1. It is disappointing that there have been only 7 contributions so far from the
developing world (with the notable exception of our colleague, Subbiah Arunachalam),
and 3 of these were from India. Is this because few people in the less advantaged
countries are aware of the forum, or is it because they are not yet in the OA loop?

2. It is also very disappointing that in spite of our efforts to distinguish
between OA Publishing and OA Archiving right at the start of this debate (see
message http://groups.undp.org/read/messages?id=97277), misunderstandings still
exist - as Steven Harnad's recent message clearly shows

We would like to support once more Stevan's reminder that OA is not OA Publishing
(OAP), but OA Archiving (OAA) too, and that OAA is affordable and do-able by all
institutes straight away. The acceptance of this fact will have incalculable
benefits to us all, but especially to the poorest nations. Fortunately, this is
now becoming understood by governments and policy makers, as the UK S and T Select
Committee report and the US NIH statements are now recommending or requiring that
publicly funded research is archived in institutional archives (see
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200304/cmselect/cmsctech/399/39903.htm and the US http://www.taxpayeraccess.org/congress.html).

Academic communities in poorer countries can take advantage of servers anywhere in
the world offering OAA services, without the need to set up their own independent
servers straight away. This way they get immediate visibility for their own
research output. As an example, the Bioline eprints server
http://bioline.utsc.utoronto.ca now holds two thousands papers from developing
countries and all articles are searchable through Google, OAIster and many other
search engines. All of the 220 other archives listed in the Directory of
Institutional Archives http://archives.eprints.org/eprints.php? all are

We ask that UNDP and its sister UN organisations urgently consider how OAA can
very quickly and at minimal cost change the science opportunities for those
currently disenfranchised. Global participation could take place without further
delay. The international agencies can make a strong commitment to support the
establishment of OAAs (that close both the N to S, S to N and S to S information
gaps). Their help is needed to raise awareness of OAA for both policy-makers and
the research communities. At the same time, workshops can be supported at key
institutes in the different regions to provide the technical assistance to help ^
institutes set up their own archives. A start has been made in India, Brazil and
China, but it is clear that much more needs to be done.

As the two messages highlighted above explain, OAA changes nothing else (neither
current publishing nor refereeing practices), but immediately opens the door to
equality of access.

Barbara Kirsop, Leslie Chan, Subbiah Arunachalam
Secretary and Trustees of the Electronic Publishing Trust for Development

20 September- 4 October 2004: gpgNet Forum on "Open Access to Scholarly
Publications: A Model for Enhanced Knowledge Management?" Co-hosted with the
Open Society Institute (OSI).

Read background paper to the discussion at http://www.gpgnet.net/topic08.php
View messages posted to this forum at http://groups.undp.org/read/?forum=gpgnet-oa

To post your comments on the issue, send them to: gpgnet-oa_at_groups.undp.org
Received on Thu Sep 30 2004 - 13:07:28 BST

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