Open Access in developing countries – attitudes and experiences of researchers

Authors : Andy Nobes, Sian Harris

Open Access is often considered as particularly beneficial to researchers in the Global South. However, research into awareness of and attitudes to Open Access has been largely dominated by voices from the Global North.

A survey was conducted of 507 researchers from the developing world and connected to INASP’s AuthorAID project to ascertain experiences and attitudes to Open Access publishing.

The survey revealed problems for the researchers in gaining access to research literature in the first place. There was a very positive attitude to Open Access research and Open Access journals, but when selecting a journal in which to publish, Open Access was seen as a much less important criterion than factors relating to international reputation.

Overall, a majority of respondents had published in an Open Access journal and most of these had paid an article processing charge. Knowledge and use of self-archiving via repositories varied, and only around 20% had deposited their research in an institutional repository.

The study also examined attitudes to copyright, revealing most respondents had heard of Creative Commons licences and were positive about the sharing of research for educational use and dissemination, but there was unease about research being used for commercial purposes.

Respondents revealed a surprisingly positive stance towards openly sharing research data, although many revealed that they would need further guidance on how to do so. The survey also revealed that the majority had received emails from so called ‘predatory’ publishers and that a small minority had published in them.

URL : Open Access in developing countries – attitudes and experiences of researchers

Alternative location : https://zenodo.org/record/3464868

Managing research data at an academic library in a developing country

Authors : Shamin Renwick, Marsha Winter, Michelle Gill

Managing research data has become an issue for many universities. In the Caribbean, the St Augustine Campus Libraries at the University of the West Indies are keenly aware of the need to support researchers in this regard.

The objectives of this study were to identify current practices in managing research data on the campus and to determine a possible role for the Campus Libraries. A pilot study of 100 researchers on the campus was conducted. A

nalysis of the 65 valid responses revealed that while researchers owned data sets they had little knowledge or experience in managing such. This low level of awareness is instructive and validates a role for the Campus Libraries to play in supporting researchers on campus.

The Campus Libraries need to sensitize researchers about what data planning and managing research data entail as well as provide technical assistance with actual data storage.

URL : http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0340035216688703

Does Online Access Promote Research in Developing Countries? Empirical Evidence from Article-Level Data

Authors : Frank Mueller-Langer, Marc Scheufen, Patrick Waelbroeck

Universities in developing countries have rarely been able to subscribe to academic journals in the past. The “Online Access to Research in the Environment” initiative (OARE) provides institutions in developing countries with free online access to more than 5,700 environmental science journals.

Here we analyze the effect of OARE registration on scientific output by research institutions in five developing countries. We apply a difference-in-difference estimation method using panel data for 18,955 journal articles from 798 research institutions.

We find that online access via OARE increases publication output by at least 43% while lower-ranked institutions located in remote areas benefit less. These results are robust when we apply instrumental variables to account for the information diffusion process and a Bayesian estimation method to control for self-selection into the initiative.

URL : https://ssrn.com/abstract=2870617

Positioning extension Massive Open Online Courses (xMOOCs) within the open access and the lifelong learning agendas in a developing setting

Author : Bernard Nkuyubwatsi

Recent reports on xMOOCs indicated that underprivileged learners in need for higher education have minimally been reached by these courses. While the open access agenda is needed to reach such learners, most MOOCs were developed from societies that shifted toward the lifelong learning agenda.

In this paper, xMOOCs are positioned in both the open access and the lifelong learning agendas in a developing country context. Findings from ten xMOOCs are presented and discussed. The findings suggested that two of the ten xMOOCs may contribute directly to the open access agenda and two xMOOCs may contribute indirectly to the same agenda.

Nine xMOOCs were found to have the potential to contribute to the lifelong learning agenda. These findings may inform policies and practices that underpin opening up higher education and open education in general.

URL : Positioning extension Massive Open Online Courses (xMOOCs) within the open access and the lifelong learning agendas in a developing setting

Alternative location : http://www.jl4d.org/index.php/ejl4d/article/view/126

 

Do developing countries profit from free books? Discovery and online usage in developed and developing countries compared

Author : Ronald Snijder

For years, Open Access has been seen as a way to remove barriers to research in developing countries. In order to test this, an experiment was conducted to measure whether publishing academic books in Open Access has a positive effect on developing countries.

During a period of nine months the usage data of 180 books was recorded. Of those, a set of 43 titles was used as control group with restricted access. The rest was made fully accessible.

The data shows the digital divide between developing countries and developed countries: 70 percent of the discovery data and 73 percent of online usage data come from developed countries. Using statistical analysis, the experiment confirms that Open Access publishing enhances discovery and online usage in developing countries.

This strengthens the claims of the advocates of Open Access: researchers from the developing countries do benefit from free academic books.

URL : http://dx.doi.org/10.3998/3336451.0016.103

Opening access to agricultural information in Ghana Kenya…

Opening access to agricultural information in Ghana, Kenya and Zambia :

“Agricultural innovation systems in Africa need to have access to both local and global agricultural sciences and technical information if they are to have an impact on agriculture and food security initiatives on the continent. While access to global agricultural information resources and innovations is relatively easy, local agricultural content is generally not visible and easily accessible. Providing access these important resources, through institutional repositories of metadata records and associated full-text documents, is one pathway of ensuring that the content generated locally is easily accessible within the country, region and around the globe. This paper highlights three initiatives implemented by national research institutes in Ghana, Kenya and Zambia aimed at opening access to agricultural information and knowledge resources. It also presents the major challenges faced in the implementation of the initiatives and the key lessons learned that could be useful when implementing similar initiatives.”

URL : http://eprints.rclis.org/18921/

Open Access Initiatives in Africa — Structure, Incentives and Disincentives

Building open access in Africa is imperative not only for African scholars and researchers doing scientific research but also for the expansion of the global science and technology knowledgebase. This paper examines the structure of homegrown initiatives, and observes very low level of awareness prevailing in the higher educational institutions and research institutes, organizations and governments.

Increasing penetration of internet as well as growing proficiency in its use account for any evidence of OA movement in the region. The absence of interest and willingness of governments and policy makers to take a role in building the movement in the region makes any observed progress a fragmented one.

URL : http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2012.11.024