Open Access Comes To Africa

Britt E. Erickson | Chemical & Engineering News | December 17, 2012

Hundreds of scholars gathered in Stellenbosch, South Africa, last month to build a stronger case for making the results of scientific research freely accessible worldwide. Calling scientific knowledge the motor of economic development, delegates to the international gathering, the Berlin 10 Conference on Open Access, urged scientists to radically change how they evaluate and communicate their work.

The Berlin conference, an annual event first held in 2003 in Berlin, aims to raise momentum for increased access to the scholarly literature. This year’s meeting, Berlin 10, was held for the first time in Africa. It attracted more than 265 participants from 37 countries, including 16 African countries.

Berlin 10 focused on removing financial barriers that limit access to the scholarly literature, particularly for academic institutions in Africa. Open-access advocates encouraged African higher education institutions to develop institutional repositories and become independent digital academic publishers so they can distribute the work of their own scholars without the limits imposed by commercial publishers...