Not a Proud Day in the Annals of the Royal Society

From: Barbara Kirsop <barbara_at_BIOSTRAT.DEMON.CO.UK>
Date: Thu, 24 Nov 2005 14:24:17 -0000

I am appalled at the recent statement made by the Royal Society regarding
access to research publications. Apart from misunderstanding the
proposals made by the Research Councils UK (RCUK), the following
statement indicates the total lack of understanding of the world^s
research needs:<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns =
"urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

^A young post-doctoral researcher in mathematics at an Ethiopian
university has different needs and different means compared with an
established senior research fellow in pharmacology [at] a <?xml:namespace
prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />UK
company's laboratory.^

What are the different needs of an Ethiopian scientist, pray? Researchers
everywhere need access to the world^s research information. Those that
are less privileged need it most. The advent of the open access archiving
policies, now widely accepted by visionary academics, solves the problem
and greatly strengthens the international scientific communities and our
ability to solve global problems (think only of bird flu, AIDS,
environmental disasters, climate change).

Institutional Repositories (IRs) require the continuance of journals, as
92% of 9000 publishers asked have accepted, including enlightened S&T
publishers such as Elsevier. The aim of IRs is not the demise of
journals, but quite the contrary.

It is shameful that one of our most senior scientific bodies misstates
the present OA situation and dismisses the needs of poorer nations.
Thankfully, this is not the case of such organisations as UNESCO, ICSU,
CODATA, IFLA, CERN, CNRS, INSERM, INRA, INRIA, and all universities in
the Netherlands and Scotland, many universities in the UK, USA,
Australia, Canada ^^. and recently of WSIS. All these support the
concept of institutional repositories for publicly funded and published
research results.

The Royal Society should join with the international scientific community
in embracing the new technology that has such huge potential for science
and the economies of the poorer countries.

Barbara Kirsop

Electronic Publishing Trust for Development

Received on Thu Nov 24 2005 - 16:22:17 GMT

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