Unlock Local Research Potential With Open Access

Leslie Chan | SciDev.Net | December 8, 2011

The developing world is not well served by traditional research publishing, but can break new ground with open access, argues Leslie Chan.

Free and unrestricted access to research results and publications, known as open access (OA), is key to speeding up scientific discovery. There is also growing evidence that OA maximises the impact of research through better dissemination and uptake of research findings. But how can we make this a truly global and sustainable endeavour? This was much discussed at the recent Berlin 9 Open Access conference in Washington DC.

There was a recurrent theme: that in today's highly networked, open-knowledge environment, the traditional scholarly communication system — with the journal article as the key currency — can no longer serve the diverse needs of scholarship and discovery. Conventional methods of evaluating research impact based on journal citations, particularly the reliance on Thomson Reuters' journal impact factor, need to be reconsidered and redesigned to reflect new scholarly practices and the diverse means of engagement enabled by OA and the new wave of web tools ('Web 2.0')...