Open access publishing: a developing country view

Open access publishing: a developing country view

Benefits of open access publishing for researchers based in development countries

This paper presents the experience with open access (OA) publishing by researchers in an academic research institution, the University of the West Indies (UWI) in Trinidad and Tobago. It describes the two parallel but complimentary paths for authors to enable open access: publishing in open access journals and/or self–archiving.

The authors highlight the benefits to researchers of free access to information, increased research impact and possible solution to the “serials crisis” and suggests that advocates of OA should consider all possible difficulties researchers may face  with OA publishing, so that these can be addressed and improved. In order to identify these, the paper takes at look at UWI researchers’ knowledge of OA, their access to the scholarly literature, open access archives/repositories at the UWI and related issues of research and library funding, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), and infrastructure/Internet connectivity.

The authors observe that, while there are obvious and well–documented benefits for developing country researchers, there are also some disincentives that make it difficult for these researchers to fully participate in the OA movement. Aside from author–side or “page” charges, the limited number of open access journals in many fields of study in addition to inadequate and unreliable ICT infrastructure and Internet connectivity often limit access and publication in OA journals.

The paper concludes that much more should be done to ensure full participation in the open access knowledge community by developing country researchers, including direct technical assistance in implementing institutional repositories (IRs) and more financial assistance and support from international agencies to build the necessary human resource capabilities.

[adapted from authors]