Open Access in Third World Countries Presentation by Ronald Kirsop
Introduction The momentum Open Access (OA) publishing has gained in the current digital revolution is extraordinary. It is a powerful movement that allows third world countries to access information that would other wise be off limits due to stunted development. Although this may be a altruistic characteristic on the world level there has been an increased amount of debate on the principles of OA publishing in relation to relevance, integrity, validity, prestige and dissemination. Although one of the leading discussion focuses on bringing OA information to third world countries it is not as simple as understanding what is good for mankind. It is also not a two-sided debate but one of more complexities that involves benefits as well as setbacks for parties that are not particularly keen of losing business. There is no doubt that developing nations would benefit from Open Access articles, however, will the publishing and copyright organizations profit? Probably not. But is profit the end-all for business models that could potentially shift the development of developing nations? This revelation makes the Open Access argument one of ethics, responsibility and selflessness.
Problems Third world countries are not receiving the support needed to access OA information. Without OA these countries are likely to fall further behind in research practices that contribute to the rest of the world. Without research the quality of life will diminish in consideration to health and furthering science. Corruption in government will rise further holding third world countries back in world related progression.
OA Archiving: The procuring and making of previously published materials available on the Internet
OA Publishing: A process of validating, certifying through the process of publishing which includes: Reviewing, editing, design, production, marketing and distribution (Ferwerda, 2010).
Information Retrieval: Searching a body of information for objects that match a search query.
Third World Country: In an industrial nation there are certain criteria met such as health, education, employment, resources, and money. A third world country does not meet these criteria.
Pros of OA OA Benefits include:
The reduction of money spend on print journals.
Current OA system is under reformation which is resulting in access regardless of money paid, widely disseminated research information from third world countries and information delivery in a timely fashion (Kirsop,2008).
Funding organizations are empowering authors and institutions to advertise OA in order to provide support for widely accessible information. (Kirsop, 2008).
Provides visibility and applicable impact on countries.
Authors maintain copyright information resulting in publication in more than one journal.
Doctoral thesis has had a positive affect when openly published by keeping countries up to date on new areas of study.
Benefits of OA will eventually outweigh the costs of implementing digital in place of print journals. (Kirsop, 2008).
Ensures digital preservation (Wooldridge, Taylor & Sullivan, 2009)
Cons of OA Problems with OA publications include:
Generally falls on the authors. Authors are focused on future research, not advertising. (Kirsop, 2008)
Authors pay for publication which can make them less likely to publish in OA journals.
Articles are sometimes out of date by the time it reaches the developing nations. (Kirsop, 2008)
Governed by copyright:
Prohibit authors from archiving work under repositories. Authors can only publish in one area if they lose copyright.
Many articles published are in English. This makes information inaccessible for a large majority of nations (Scholze, 2008).
Access may not be enough. Training on how to use databases may be required for OA to be properly implemented. (Parker, 2009)
Fees can be confusing and deter individuals from publishing under OA.
Why is OA needed? Scientific Advancements: Conservation, Environmental stability, Quality of life, Agricultural sustainability (Ramos, et al., 2009) Combating poverty (Gordon, 2010) and Medical information (Kirsop, 2008). Gain of Independence Against Government and Industrialized Nations: Corruption, Exploitation, Defenselessness, Inappropriate means of research (Gordon, 2010).
Where is the OA Support? Developing nations are not receiving support for OA publications because of:
Traditional print journals are the norm and they are expensive, subscription based journals that want to “unhinge” the OA market so they can continue to make money (Kirsop, 2008).
The Digital Divide plays a part in the access of OA journals. Few developing nations have access to digital technologies (Baker, 2009).
Political instability and government corruption.
Racial, religious and gender discrimination (Baker, 2008).
Who the OA Debate Involves: The OA debate involves more than just the third world countries and the OA providers. Forces that are working for or against the initiative include: Traditional print journals
Against for marketing and monetary reasons.
Organizations helping the OA initiatives
Whether it be for selfless or advertising purposes.
Author’s involvement in correcting the crisis
Self advertising and choosing to publish with OA.
Authors against OA
Because of payment process or the “less reputable” stereotype.
Provide information access and support because of duty and responsibility to developing nations.
End-user or developing nation.
Problem Solving The problem with OA is at such a high level of complexity and so many parties are intertwined that it is impossible to find one solution that will benefit everyone. This means that there is going to need to be an overlapping of solutions in order to include the interests of the majority involved.
Libraries have had a hand in information retrieval and information dissemination since the implementation of OA journals. Because of library foundations many work endlessly to bring OA publications to third world countries in a fair and representative way. Libraries help by:
Making the dissemination of information a top priority whether it be domestic or abroad. Pushing for higher funding that will be needed to increase digital initiatives to combat the digital divide. Continuing to provide free information. Hosting OA articles through and creating digital libraries.
Digital libraries have been tested and proven to be beneficial when researching various sciences and accessing OA resources. (Ramos, et. al., 2009).
Professional organizations in developed countries (i.e. ALA) can support professional organizations in third world countries (Baker, 2009). Help with the language gap by offering sources to help ESL or other language (Parker, 2009). Maintain the ethical and social justices in the practices of OA. Support an innovative and positive OA model along side other OA stakeholders (Baker, 2009).
Future Research Much of the content in current literature on Open Access talks about the reasons third world nations need to have access. This is an important topic, however, it needs to be elaborated to the extent of giving higher statistical outputs that countries could produce if they had access to these journals. Saying “please” to the different bodies hindering the Open Access initiative is not going to help. Statistics will. There needs to be further research on what countries are researching and how those fields of study will benefit larger, industrialized nations.
A few examples of these statistics are: One fifth of peer reviewed OA journals are from developing countries (Baker, 2009). Also, 75 of the poorest countries subscribe to two or less journals (Kirsop, 2008). Statistics such as these provide a strong base for arguments that fight for OA implementation.
Future Research Digital Divide theories have been thrown around a great deal in current literature. There has not been a sound statistical study showing whether the gap is closing or widening in two years. When speaking of digital means this is a millennium. Researching the divide will give a better idea on how to implement OA to digitally savvy countries.
Training individuals on how to use Open Access technology should be an area of study. Simply giving technology to individuals will not solve the problem they need to be taught how to use the technology.
Future Research The halt on publishing information that has been previously published in a different medium should be examined. Not all “old” information has a no or negative effects on research.
It is possible that information published to a digital platform after it has been published in print can have beneficial affects on continuing research.
Open digital repositories may have several ways in which they could work with copyright to make print papers openly available.
Old information is not necessarily bad. Many third world nations could benefit by seeing how researched conclusions or classic studies ran their course and became an important topic of discussion.
Conclusions It will be some time before third world nations will benefit from unrestricted access to OA journals. The amount of “red tape” that needs to be taken down will provide much work for organizations supporting the OA initiative. Print journals will need to be reconstructed in a way to take down the monopoly on publishing.
Certain aspects of print journals may need to be eradicated for the good of information retrieval.
Conclusions OA can rapidly grown if issues are evaluated with in respect to the benefits of mankind. OA supports claim that “starting small while thinking big” is the only way to create an information dissemination model that will help all who participate. There are many aspects of OA that need to be worked on, however, it is one of the best opportunities that third world countries have in competing or collaborating with developed nations.
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