11 November 2008

Open Access in the Developing World - Berlin 6

(Note: My notes for some panels may not be as extensive / as much of a data dump as others. This one will focus on a few main themes and concepts that resonated particularly.)

"We are never completely contemporaneous with our present. History advances in disguise; it appears on stage wearing the mask of the preceding scene and we lose the meaning of the play." - RĂ©gis Debray, "Revolution in the Revolution?"

Arun (Subbiah Arunchiam, Center of Internet and Society, Bangalore, India) led his individual presentation with a snippet of this quote from Debray. Most developing countries have not yet made the transition from the past to becoming contemporaneous with the present -- neither have they seen the same levels of transformative impact of science and technology as other more advanced countries.

A couple of main themes from this session include the local importance that knowledge from developing countries serves -- based on local evidence, often having a direct impact on local policy making. Clearly, access and resources are main issues for those in the developing world, whether they are characterized as "middle economy" players, "developing countries" or what have you. Access and scarcity of resources plague a significant percent of the world's population, though this panel provided examples more focused on different publishing models (SciELO, MedKnow) that better helps get the scholarly canon into the hands of their countries' researchers - as well as integrate into the broader global scientific knowledge exchange.

Solange Santos gave a wonderful presentation on SciELO (Scientific Electronic Library Online) - an electronic library based in Brazil covering a wide array of the countries' scientific journals. SciELO has been up and running since 1997, serving as a "meta-publisher" somewhat of over 500 journals. We have been working with our contacts in Brazil and at SciELO to integrate the Creative Commons licenses - conversations that continue to this day.

I'm glad Santos was able to make the haul over to Dusseldorf to join us. SciELO is a very interesting example of a publishing model in a developed country.

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