Monday, September 10, 2012

Open access for development: a battle still to be won

With the momentum for Open Access being unstoppable, the global science community must manage change to ensure poorer regions are not left behind. Earlier this year, the World Bank ,UK's Department of International Development (DFID)  and the EU announced that it would adopt an Open Access policy for all its research outputs and "knowledge products", which will be entered into a central repository that will be feely accessible on the Internet.  For scientists in the developing countries, where journal subscriptions are often unaffordable, this is their chance to benefit from this move. Free access to the latest research results from across the world is helping them become more effective members of the global research community — and helping global research to find local applications. However a word of caution has been thrown in:that  however attractive the concept of Open Access is , we should be careful about expecting too much too soon — in terms of both outcome and impact. Enthusiasm must be tempered with awareness of what can realistically be achieved, and of the pace of change required to ensure that a rush to Open Access does not have unwanted side effects.

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