Two articles in this week's PLoS Medicine discuss the issues that need to be resolved to ensure that open access can provide for global information needs, and not just those of the developed world.
Leslie Chan, Barbara Kirsop, and Subbiah Arunachalam from the Electronic Publishing Trust for Development argue that access and distribution of public knowledge is currently governed by Northern standards, a situation that is increasingly inappropriate in what they call the "age of the networked Invisible College." Taking as a starting point that open access is sustainable and, in the way it builds independence has the capacity to establish a strong research base, they nevertheless say it is essential that standards for the assessment of journal quality and relevance in new open access journals do not ignore development needs nor marginalise local scholarship.
In a linked Editorial, the PLoS Medicine Editors agree that much remains to be done in improving access to information in the developing world. They note that by providing a logistical framework for open access, open access publishers have thus far done much to make it possible more widely. However, they conclude that the next crucial step is to engage with readers, researchers, and authors in the developing world to understand better their information needs
PLoS Medicine Editorial:
Funding: The PLoS Medicine Editors are each paid a salary by the Public Library of Science, and they wrote this editorial during their salaried time. No specific funding was received for this paper.
Competing Interests: The PLoS Medicine Editors' individual competing interests are at http://www.plosmedicine.org/static/editorsInterests.action. PLoS is funded partly through manuscript publication charges, but the PLoS Medicine Editors are paid a fixed salary (their salary is not linked to the number of papers published in the journal).
Citation: The PLoS Medicine Editors (2011) On the Path to Global Open Access: A Few More Miles to Go. PLoS Med 8(3): e1001014. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001014
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Essay by Leslie Chan
Funding: No funding was received for this article.
Competing Interests: Leslie Chan, Barbara Kirsop, and Subbiah Arunachalam are trustees of the Electronic Publishing Trust for Development, which promotes open access. Leslie Chan is the Director of Bioline International, which hosts the African Health Sciences journal.
Citation: Chan L, Kirsop B, Arunachalam S (2011) Towards Open and Equitable Access to Research and Knowledge for Development. PLoS Med 8(3): e1001016.
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