Open Access Publishing for Developing Countries

Open Access Publishing idea is to provide people, independently of where they live, with equal access to knowledge and information online. Particularly it is important to developing countries and regions which have higher inequality. Until the emergence of the internet, the academic community relied heavily on research articles in expensive offline scientific journals published by many commercial publishing houses in the Western world. Very small numbers of libraries in the developing world could afford such journal subscriptions because of the lack of funding. The technological era transformed journals online and let libraries and researchers to follow this trend and benefit from the spread of knowledge.

Open Access Publishing

During history, libraries and institutions in developing countries had little or no finances to subscribe to expensive publications and journals. As a consequence, access to knowledge and scientific research was limited or restricted. The emergence of internet technology has brought a new model for dissemination of knowledge at little or no cost to both the developed and developing world. Open access books and journals emerged in response to the restrictive access to knowledge in scholarly and scientific journals imposed by commercial publishing houses via subscription fees, license fees, or pay-per-view fees. It grants to all users a free, irrevocable, worldwide, right of access to, and a license to copy, use, distribute, transmit and display the work publicly and to make and distribute derivative works. For example, Proud Pen Limited Publishing house from the United Kingdom ensures that publications are available to a diverse global audience, which includes those who are otherwise unable to access quality academia due to a lack of resources. Furthermore, open access lies in the distribution speed and cost factors. Publishing Houses like Proud Pen Limited aim to make publishing decisions within three months of receipt of the full manuscript and conclude the publication process within three months of receiving the final research paper. Once an article is deposited in an open access repository, it becomes available almost immediately to the readers, there are no delays from editing, printing, or shipping as in the case of print volumes (Miller, 2006).

The most likely to benefit from the Open Access Publishing initiative are researchers and institutions in developing countries. Because of limited financial resources available in these countries to pay for subscription charges for research and academic journals, they can now publish worldwide with smaller costs. It will help ensure stable development in these countries as well as curb the ‘brain drain’ syndrome which has resulted from the migration of many scholars and academics from the developing countries to other developed countries. The success of the Open Access Publishing initiative coupled with adequate research funding in developing countries will help check this trend. Open access, in addition to providing equal access to knowledge, could also facilitate development in the developing world.

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