Open access publishing: A developing country view

Jennifer I. Papin-Ramcharan, Richard A. Dawe


This paper presents the experience with open access (OA) publishing by researchers in an academic research institution (The University of the West Indies (UWI) St. Augustine Campus) in a developing country — Trinidad and Tobago. It describes the two parallel but complimentary paths for authors to enable open access, i.e. of publishing in open access journals and/or self–archiving. The benefits to researchers of free access to information, increased research impact and possible solution to the “serials crisis” are highlighted. It suggests that advocates of OA should consider all possible difficulties that researchers may have with OA, so that these could be ameliorated. To this end, it considers the 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.
It concludes that there are indeed obvious and well–documented benefits for developing country researchers. There are though some disincentives that make it difficult for researchers in developing countries to fully participate in the OA movement. Apart from author–side or “page” charges, the limited number of open access journals in many fields of study and inadequate and unreliable ICT infrastructure and Internet connectivity often limit access and publication in OA journals. Thus, because of technical, financial, human and infrastructural limitations, OA via self–archiving is sometimes difficult for developing country researchers. It 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.

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