Open access under threat

The open access movement has been a great benefit to the world’s researchers and practitioners as journal subscriptions in high-income countries have soared to the point where they are unaffordable. News from the USA suggests that its success has begun to worry publishers including many of those in the health and medical fields to the extent that they are trying to pass an act which will reverse the law that states that Federally funded research uses open access journals to disseminate its research. The present legislation is particularly important in ensuring rapid global distribution and availability of research coming from the National Institutes of Health through PubMed Central. The main supporter of the proposed legislation is the Association of American Publishers, though some members have resigned from it in protest.

Colleagues in much of Africa will be immune from these concerns as currently they can benefit from HINARI, OARE, and AGRICOLA. But we need to consider what would happen when low-income countries (the present beneficiaries) become middle-income and high-income countries; the results could be disastrous for learning and research. So the continuance and expansion of open access is vital to us all.

Thanks to Peter Morgan, Letter from the President, Journal of the European Association for Health Information and Libraries v.8:28-29. 2012.

Jean Shaw, Phi

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About jgreigshaw

I work with Partnerships in Health Information which promotes partnership between libraries in Africa and the UK with an emphasis in African leadership. I have visited Kenya, Mali, Uganda and Zambia though Phi has contacts in many more African countries.
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