International Network for the Availability
of Scientific Publications

Newsletter

No. 26, June 2004 ISSN: 1028-0790

 
In this issue:

Email alerts: To receive an email alert when new issues are published online - send an email to < > with "Email alert" in the subject line

© International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP), 2004. No parts of this publication may be reproduced for commercial use. Reproduction of articles for educational purposes is permitted only with acknowledgement of the source.

 

 

UGC-Infonet
E-journals consortium for Indian universities

by Dr T.A.V. Murthy, Prof Ajit Kembhavi, Dr V.S. Cholin

Indian Universities constitute one of the largest higher education systems in the world, with more than 310 universities/institutions, 14,000 affiliated colleges, 10 million students and 500,000 teachers. However, universities across the country are facing an acute shortage of funds to subscribe to costly scholarly journals and are deprived of access to the latest published literature. The situation calls for optimum use of resources through rational use of funds. Thanks to developments in technology, library consortia and licensing models, it has become possible to access online resources at more affordable prices.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has initiated a programme providing Internet access to scholarly literature in all areas of learning. The programme is wholly funded by the UGC. All universities which come under UGC's purview have been provided grants to obtain Internet connectivity under UGC-Infonet and from members of this programme. It will gradually be extended to colleges as well. The programme is being executed by Director, Information and Library Network (INFLIBNET) Centre, Ahmedabad which is an autonomous institution under the UGC. Access to various E-Journals formally began on January 1, 2004 and trial access was available from October 2003.

Cont'd

About INASP

INASP is a cooperative network of partners whose aim is to enhance worldwide access to information and knowledge. It has three immediate objectives:

  • to map, support and strengthen existing activities promoting access to and dissemination of scientific and scholarly information and knowledge;

  • to identify, encourage and support new initiatives that will increase local publication and general access to high quality scientific and scholarly information;

  • to promote in-country capacity building in information production, organisation, access and dissemination.

INASP are part of the ICSU (International Council for Science) family.

Director: Carol Priestley
Chair, Advisory Panel: N. Mukunda
Chair, Board of Trustees:
R. Campbell

Address:
>
Website: <www.inasp.info

Guest Editor:
Sarah Durrant

Newsletter Editor:
Pippa Smart

Layout & artwork:
Ard Jongsma


The views expressed in this newsletter are those of the authors, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of INASP.

Go to top

The E-Journals programme is a cornerstone of the UGC-INFONET effort, which aims to address the teaching, learning, research, connectivity and governance requirements of the universities. The effort was announced by the Hon'ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the network was activated by the Hon'ble Minister for Human Resources Development, Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, at the inauguration of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the UGC on December 28, 2002 at New Delhi. The E-Journals programme demonstrates how communication networks and computers can be used to stretch and leverage available funds in furthering these aims. The programme has been made possible due to close understanding and cooperation between the UGC, ERNET, the Inter-University Centres IUCAA, INFLIBNET and CEC, and national and international publishers.

Professor Arun Nigavekar, Chairman, UGC set up a committee to study the possibility of setting up a consortium of universities to obtain access Internet access to scholarly journals. The national negotiation committee set up by UGC recommended a number of resources covering all areas of learning. The first phase of the programme covers more than 50 universities and additional universities will join the programme when they have Internet access. It is expected that the entire university system will be covered under the programme very soon. Universities will become members of the consortium after signing a MOU with the UGC and INFLIBNET. The UGC provide funds for the programme, which will be free of cost for the universities.

The E-Journals programme aims to cover all fields of learning of relevance to universities including:

  • Arts, humanities and social sciences
  • Physical and chemical sciences
  • Life sciences
  • Computer science, mathematics, statistics

The literature made available through this programme includes research articles, reviews and abstracting databases. Access is provided wherever available to both current and archival literature. Portals are also available to enable users to navigate easily through the literature.

INFLIBNET has been given a responsibility to administer and monitor the programme and have independent electronic access to all the publications to help with the process. It will be provided with one free print copy of each journal subscribed under the consortium for archival purposes (by many of the publishers). A web site is designed to provide information to consortium members about the status of the programme at <web.inflibnet.ac.in/econsortia/
index.htm>. INFLIBNET also conduct training programmes to spread awareness and to develop expertise within the university community in the use of E-Resources. Special training programmes will be conducted on different university campuses by publishers of complex databases.

Present status

As of 31 March 2004, many publications, including more than 2000 scholarly journals, are available to 50 universities from the following organisations:

  • Project Muse
  • American Chemical Society
  • Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS)
  • Royal Society of Chemistry
  • Institute of Physics
  • Cambridge University Press
  • BIOSIS
  • Nature Publications
  • Science Online
  • JSTOR
  • Springer-Kluwer
  • Encyclopaedia Britannica
  • Elsevier Science
  • Emerald
  • J-Gate
  • Ingenta
NEW: African institutional repository

The library at the University of Namibia has produced an important innovation. It has identified, obtained, scanned and made electronically available in full text format a bibliography of publications by the University's academic staff members from 1992 to 2002. 

You may access these publications at the following website:
<www.unam.na/ilrc/library/documents.html

Discussions are in progress with several other publishers and their publications are expected to become available in the future. Access is available through individual university IP ranges. The remaining universities will join in phases.
One-day user awareness training programmes were conducted at more than 35 universities to provide orientation on the use of electronic journals and databases. Many more such programmes are planned over next couple of months.

Dr T.A.V. Murthy
Director, INFLIBNET Centre, Near Gujarat University Guest House, Post Box No. 4116, Navrangpura, Ahmedabad 380 009, India
Email: < >

Prof Ajit Kembhavi
Convener, National Negotiation Committee, UGC-Infonet, IUCAA Pune, India

Dr V.S. Cholin
Scientist-B, INFLIBNET Centre
Email: < >

Go to top

Global review on access to health information in developing countries

Despite many successful initiatives during the past 10 years, most healthcare providers in developing countries continue to lack access to essential information.

INASP-Health is facilitating a Global Review during 2004-5 to examine what has been achieved in health information, what works and what doesn't.

Why? Access to health information is becoming recognised as a prerequisite for the Millennium Development Goals. A shared goal is emerging of universal access to health information by 2015. The issue has never been so high on the political agenda. The recent draft 'World Report on Knowledge for Better Health' (WHO) argues that 'access to relevant, reliable and up-to-date health and health research information [in] the developing world must be improved and must take into account the needs of diverse groups of constituencies and stakeholders'.

Who is involved?
Participating organisations include: Association for Health Information and Libraries in Africa (AHILA), BIREME (Latin American and Caribbean Centre on Health Sciences Information), BMJ, Forum for African Medical Editors, Global Forum for Health Research, Interactive Health Network, International e-Health Association, The Cochrane Collaboration, The Lancet, Medical Library Association, Society for the Internet in Medicine, Wellcome Trust, WHO, and the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office.

We shall be consulting with all those involved in the use, creation and exchange of information for health professionals in developing countries.

Funding is being sought to cover the costs of coordination and developing-country participation.

How will it work? The review will start with a launch meeting at the British Medical Association on 12th July 2004, and the publication of a discussion paper in The Lancet. It will continue through a series of existing international conferences in 2004-5, complemented by structured dialogue on the email forum HIF-net at WHO - to join, email your name, organisation and professional interests to < >

How to contribute
The next issue of the INASP Newsletter will be on 'Access to information for health professionals in developing countries'. As part of the Global Review, we invite you to contribute. We are looking for articles that illustrate your experience, lessons learned, ideas and suggested ways forward. We are especially keen to receive contributions from Africa, Asia, Eastern Mediterranean, Latin America and Caribbean, and Western Pacific.

For further information, please contact Neil Pakenham-Walsh at < > and see <www.inasp.info/health/globalreview

Go to top

Sharing experiences about developing a regional social science virtual library

The Latin America and the Caribbean Social Science Virtual Library

by Dominique Babini


Availability of social science publications

Access to social science publications from Latin America and the Caribbean (and other developing regions) has always been a nightmare for institutions within the region and for other regions of the world. Many reasons contribute to this situation: very low numbers of copies printed of each academic book or journal; no international distribution and/or interlibrary lending because of excessively high costs of postal services; discontinuity of social science library collections due to discontinuity in support to social science research and teaching institutions; very few good social science libraries located outside main cities.

Internet impact on social sciences publication and dissemination

The Internet is revolutionising publishing, distribution and access to scientific results. In developing regions the Web provides a unique opportunity to challenge the difficulties mentioned above and explore new ways of publishing, disseminating and accessing research results. An example is the virtual library started in 1998 by the Latin American Council of Social Sciences (CLACSO), a network gathering 159 social science research and teaching institutions in 21 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean (see map). Today, the Reading Room of CLACSO's Virtual Library gives open access to more than 4,000 full-text books, periodical articles and papers. Visitors to the virtual library can download the full-text of books and articles, print them, and visit the bibliographic database to learn about other publications which do not yet have the full-text in the Reading Room. Soon, the Reading Room will have a search facility to help users find information by searching fields in the metadata, including the abstract and the full text itself.

Building cooperative virtual libraries requires training librarians and editors

To have a cooperative virtual library with full-text books, periodical articles and papers published by a network of academic institutions distributed in many countries requires training staff at the coordinating office (in this case CLACSO's library and editorial staff in Buenos Aires) and training a group of librarians and editors from participating institutions in different countries. CLACSO, with support from Sida (Sweden) and INASP (Great Britain) has invited editors of social science journals in the region to attend e-publishing events in Guadalajara (México), Valparaíso (Chile) and Buenos Aires (Argentina) to encourage editors to develop Web access to their publications.

In the past two years CLACSO has used a virtual campus platform to deliver a course to train librarians, editors and webmasters in basic services of virtual libraries and practice online input to existing virtual libraries. The experience of choosing a virtual campus platform, building teams for teaching and learning, developing the design of the course content and managing the course has been described in an article recently published in Library Management (vol.25, number 1-2, 2004, pp.72-78).



More information from

Dominique Babini
Latin American Social Science Council - CLACSO
< >
<www.clacso.org/wwwclacso/espanol/html/biblioteca/fbiblioteca.html

Go to top

Managing Digital Libraries:
IFLA-ALP workshop in Gaborone, Botswana

by Dr Dale Peters

Digital library development in Africa relies not only on a growing technical information infrastructure, but also on the skills development of information professionals. With this in mind, a workshop on Managing Digital Libraries was held from 23-27 February 2004 at the University of Botswana. An initiative of the IFLA Programme: Action for Development through Libraries, the workshop was conducted by the Digital Imaging South Africa (DISA) project <disa.nu.ac.za>.  

Twenty candidates were selected to represent ten African countries, in a conscious effort to break with the tradition of participation by invitation, perceived to have been ineffectual in the past. Candidates were required to demonstrate their interest and their personal commitment by submitting a proposal outlining a digital library project for their own institution. Critical support for this project and by implication for the future role of the candidate, was sought from a superior officer in that institution. A further level of accountability was added by the requirement of regular progress reports from each delegate. As a result, a sense of urgency was instilled in the proceedings, with the expectation of applied knowledge gained on the workshop.

Welcomed by Kay Raseroka, who herself has made history as the first African woman to be elected as President of IFLA (2003 - 2005), the participants were acknowledged as the best and the most visionary of Anglophone Africa's library and information professionals. The upbeat and celebratory tone was set when she urged that we never forget a great African past reflected in and transmitted through traditional and indigenous knowledge systems. Participants were inspired and struck somewhat in awe of their role in mediating local content by bringing this rich heritage to the global community.

Although the workshop comprised an intense week of presentations on theoretical issues and empirical exercises, the proceedings were punctuated by lively interactive sessions with open discussion around areas of concern. Issues arose around the need for transparent financial management and for reward systems linked to performance rather than expectation.

The presentations encompassed the management of both human resources and technological functions specific to the African region. Change management addressed important gender issues in the strong hierarchical structures of African society, and the challenge of developing a team-based culture, based on shared digital library skills. Practical exercises were aimed at building capacity in technical areas of expertise, ranging from digital conversion to the delivery of Web-based library services, to bridge the digital divide. Information management topics included an introduction to various metadata schemas, the use of XML and open source software options, with a practical demonstration of Greenstone digital library software.

It was expected that the workshop evaluation would reflect a high interest in management skills and less interest in technical areas. The evaluation indicated however, that many delegates lacked previous management experience, and felt challenged in that area. Another interesting outcome was that concepts of mark-up and metadata proved most challenging, and the evidence would unequivocally support the organisation of further workshops specifically on information management. As the technical infrastructure steadily grows, African librarians and information professionals recognise the need to update their skills in core areas of their professional engagement in digital library development.


Dr Dale Peters
Project Manager, DISA: Digital Imaging South Africa
Email: < >

 

Go to top

Institutional repository at the Indian Institute of Science, India

by T.B. Rajashekar and Francis Jayakanth

The Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, was started in 1909 and is perhaps the oldest centre of its kind in India. The Institute also has a very high international standing in the academic world. It provides facilities for post-graduate research and teaching in several important emerging areas of science and engineering. The Institute currently has more than forty academic departments, with about 2500 active researchers pursuing research. It has about 500 faculty members and 2000 students. IISc publishes about 2000 research papers per year.

The Institute has one of the best computing and network facilities in the country and researchers have online access to a large number of e-resources, including leading bibliographic and citation databases, data sets, over 6000 e-journals and other web resources. Access is provided and managed through SciGate, the IISc Science Information Portal <www.ncsi.iisc.ernet.in>, and E-JIS - the E-Journal Information Service <e-jis.ncsi.iisc.ernet.in>.

The e-print archive (institutional repository) '[email protected]' was established and launched towards the end of 2002 <eprints.iisc.ernet.in>. This was preceded by experimentation through student projects with Greenstone digital library software and 'Eprints.org' e-print archiving software. We were also influenced and motivated by the open access movement. We realised that institutional repositories have great potential to improve the visibility and impact of our research publications. Repositories also facilitate improved research knowledge management by collating the institute's research output in one place. IISc e-print archive used campus-wide email publicity to drive home the following benefits to our researchers:

  • Helps establish priority for research findings
  • Broader results from cross-searching through worldwide eprint repositories
  • Wider access and visibility
  • Improved impact and citation of their work
  • Opportunity to share unpublished ideas and know-how
  • Rapid communication of research
  • Long-term preservation of research papers
  • Integrated view of IISc research
  • Value-added services such as individual and departmental online publication lists
  • Practical support for citation linking.

We also pointed them to studies which have shown that freely available online research papers tend to be cited more than papers in toll-access journals. We have also been careful in stressing the fact that e-print archives are not an alternative to the existing journal publishing system - they are a complementary effort to provide open access to research papers so that their access is not restricted solely to journal subscribers.

We have kept the design of our archive fairly simple and straight-forward. It uses version 2.1.1 of EPrints software developed at University of Southampton. We have customised it in terms of required document types, document formats and metadata. We have used the IISc organisational hierarchy (faculty, divisions and departments) for subject browsing instead of a traditional classification scheme. We developed our submission policy and included it on the site. We have integrated Greenstone digital library software to support full text searching. We have also included an FAQ and publishers' copyright/archiving policy page reflecting the information provided on the RoMEO project site <www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo.php>.  While browsing and searching the archive is freely available to everyone on the Internet, access to user registration and submission pages are restricted to our intranet. Submitted documents are checked for their validity during moderation stage as per the submission policy, before becoming available for online access. We have registered our archive with OAI service providers like ARC <arc.cs.odu.edu> and OAISter <oaister.umdl.umich.edu/o/oaister>. 

Our experiences so far

Though we are proud that IISc eprint archive is the first of its kind to be set up in India and has been considered exemplary, self-archiving so far has been extremely sporadic - till today we have only about 160 papers submitted to the archive. We realise the need to understand and address the key concerns of our researchers.

Two concerns often expressed are: possible violation of copyright/ publishing policy of publishers, and the necessity of submitting to an institutional rather than a disciplinary archive. Most importantly, many researchers do not seem to be convinced of the importance and need for self-archiving and benefits of open access. A more vigorous promotional campaign is required to address this.

We also realise that we have to devise more proactive strategies for enhancing content in the archive. One new strategy we are implementing is to systematically scan open access journals and commercial journals which permit post-print archiving, to identify IISc papers and add these to the archive. We are also identifying pre-prints in disciplinary archives to add these to our archive. We also plan to identify papers from the most prolific of our authors and add these to the archive.

We believe that as the number of papers in the archive grows, it will attract other researchers. We are also exploring the possibility of working with our administration to evolve an institutional level policy for self-archiving. At the technical level, we are adding value through features such as author browsing, which allows researchers to browse their research papers quickly and easily. A key challenge we are facing is to evolve a consistent rendering format for author names.

With a view to helping other academic and research institutions in India to set up their repositories, we are conducting and participating in workshops and projects focusing on open access through institutional repositories. We believe that this will pave the way for setting up national level harvesting services and demonstrate the relevance of interoperable institutional repositories as a viable means for improved and open access to Indian research papers. We are hopeful of achieving greater success in the coming months.


T.B. Rajashekar and Francis Jayakanth
National Centre for Science Information
Indian Institute of Science
Bangalore 560 012, India
Email: < >
and
< >

Go to top

INASP and Lund University Libraries to jointly develop low bandwidth electronic library information navigator

INASP has linked up with Sweden's Lund University Libraries to adapt and extend the existing Electronic Library Information Navigator ([email protected]) system so it can be used by universities and research institutes in developing countries. ELIN facilitates end-user access to electronic information resources and offers library staff easy administration tools to manage this electronic content.

Via agreements with many publishers and other information providers, [email protected] compiles metadata about millions of information resources so they can be searched through a single user interface with cross searching and merged search results. The resources available can be tailored to fit the licences and access rights of the university providing the service. A key characteristic is the use of open standards that allows all kinds of data sources to be accommodated in the system.

In the next few months, the current [email protected] application will be adapted and optimised for (s)lower bandwidth environments and tested in several different situations in Africa and Asia. If the pilot proves to be successful, we plan to develop an open source version that can be freely downloaded and used by libraries in developing countries.

For more information contact Martin Belcher at INASP < >. Brief information on [email protected] can be found at: <pluto.lub.lu.se/about/one.html>

Go to top

JSTOR: the scholarly journal archive

by Bruce Heterick

JSTOR is a not-for-profit organisation founded in 1995 with a broad mission to help the scholarly community take advantage of advances in electronic technologies. Its initial objective has been to build an archive comprised of the back volumes of important scholarly research journals, including a significant corpus of humanities and social sciences literature. The goal in building this centrally shared electronic archive has been to lower the system-wide costs associated with storing and preserving these academic materials while simultaneously increasing their use.

Today, nearly 2100 academic institutions in 82 countries have licensed access to the archive, contributing fees to support the preservation and ongoing maintenance of the archive.

JSTOR's approach to archiving seeks to balance the needs of libraries, publishers and scholars for the good of the entire community. For example:

JSTOR always digitises journals back to volume 1, issue 1. In doing so, we retain the look and feel of the original publication for preservation purposes, and also employ technology to allow enhanced usability for scholars. Users see exact replicas of the original published pages and can navigate through an issue just as they would in the print version.

The JSTOR archive does not include current issues. It has always been important to us to not jeopardise our participating publishers' current content revenue streams. We allow publishers to select a moving wall, which defines the gap between coverage in JSTOR and the most recently published volume of the journal. For example, if a journal has a moving wall of 3 years, and it is presently the year 2004, journals will be available up to 2001. The length of the moving wall, 3 years, is constant, but the wall moves with the passage of time. At the end of the year, a new volume will be added. Important in the context of this discussion, the moving wall also provides libraries with an archive of material on which they (and their constituents) can rely.

Today, there are over 250 publishers contributing journals to the archive. Eleven collections are available online, representing some 400 journals and over 14 million journal pages of content. During 2003, nearly 16 million articles were printed from JSTOR, and users searched the archive more than 130 million times.

For many institutions in the international community, participation in JSTOR is helping provide access to many important scholarly journals that the library never owned previously in paper, and probably never would be able to afford to own, in any format, in the future. These institutions have been enthusiastic in their support of JSTOR and in their use of the archive. Creating a framework for building these 'communities' of JSTOR participants that will benefit the participants in their use of the archive will continue as our outreach to the international library community expands. It is our hope that we can use the feedback from our international participants to enhance our collections and our services, thus improving the value of the JSTOR archive to scholars, students, and libraries around the world.


More information about JSTOR participation can be found online at: <www.jstor.org/about/ intl.participation.html

Bruce Heterick
Director for Library Relations, JSTOR
Email: <


Armenia workshop

A workshop on 'Access to information and knowledge as an effective way for sustainable development' was held in Yerevan, Armenia in May, organised by Bioecomed NGO, Armenia. The co-organisers and supporting organisations were the British Council Armenia, 'National Capacity Self-Assessment' Project (UNDP/GEF NCSA-Armenia), UNESCO-ROSTE, and the Organisation on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

38 delegates attended the workshop, including scientists, university staff, librarians and information personnel from the Universities and S&T institutions of Armenia and Georgia. Also present were 40 delegates from local organisations (including both state and non-governmental) that deal with R&D.

The purpose of the workshop was to raise awareness of the regional academic communities about Web information resources. A wide range of speakers attended from Armenia, Georgia, and Western countries.

The workshop included three main sections: Scientific and educational resources; Resources on global conventions and technology transfer; Resources promoting S&T collaboration.


For further information:
Anna Boyajyan Chair-woman, Bioecomed NGO, Armenia
Email: < >
Web: <www.bioecomed.am

Go to top

Dev-Zone: change for a just world

By Justin Kemp

Dev-Zone is a specialist information centre focused on development and global issues. Located in Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand, Dev-Zone is a programme of the Development Resource Centre, a not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation governed by a charitable trust.

Dev-Zone's organisational values emphasise a people-centred, holistic and sustainable approach to development. As we recognise that all cultures offer valid solutions to development problems, Dev-Zone provides information from a wide-range of perspectives, with a focus on enabling the voices of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged to be heard. These values are reflected in Dev-Zone's activities, our library holdings, the information on our website, and in our publications.

Dev-Zone is committed to principles of the Maori version of the Te Tiriti O Waitangi/Treaty of Waitangi, which recognises the distinct roles and responsibilities of Tangata Whenua (Maori) and other citizens of Aotearoa New Zealand. We actively incorporate our Treaty commitment into our organisational policies and practices.

Dev-Zone's activities include promoting development-related information and information sources, raising the profile of campaigns and organisations, publicising events, training and employment opportunities, and connecting people and organisations working in development. Because we understand the importance of people influencing and being involved in the processes that shape their lives, a central tenet of our work is to provide people with information on how to take action on development and global issues.

Aotearoa New Zealand is a Pacific nation and Dev-Zone is working to build strong links with our Pacific neighbours: our website and emails cover information on development issues affecting Pacific peoples, we provide a means of disseminating information from the Pacific to a global audience, we connect those working in the development field through the Pacific Development Directory (a joint project with the Pacific Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organisations) and we provide and actively promote the Pacific material held in the Dev-Zone library.

Central to our organisation is our library. Available to Aotearoa New Zealand residents, the Dev-Zone library is a one-of-a-kind collection of books, journals, annual reports, hard-to-get videos and reference material. Our holdings include an extensive range of country-specific material as well as resources on contemporary development and global issues.

The Dev-Zone website is fast being internationally recognised as a significant online resource for people working and interested in development. Our Knowledge Centre provides over 7000 links to websites, articles, reports and other online material on a variety of issues such as globalisation, development practice, human rights, indigenous peoples, disasters, peace and conflict, and much more. We also have a Development Employment database - one of the first places people searching for work in the development field look.

Our email updates provide an easy-to-access means of obtaining the latest information from Dev-Zone. These updates can keep you up-to-date with what's happening in development, the latest additions to our library and website, and the latest jobs and opportunities from our employment database.

Our work benefits a wide community of development NGOs, consultants and practitioners, community organisations, other libraries and resource centres, tertiary institutions, government departments, the media, and the general public. We have over 4000 registered users of our library and regularly send out over 21,000 emails to subscribers. What's more, these services are totally free to all of our users.

Justin Kemp
Email:
Erratum: in the print version of the newsletter the author of this
article was incorrectly given as Maria McMillan - we apologise for this error.

Go to top

Open access is fair and equitable

by Helen J. Doyle and Melissa Hagemann
PloS
<www.plos.org

PloS is a nonprofit organisation, governed by a ten-member Board of Directors, chaired by Harold Varmus, former director of the US National Institutes of Health.

The Open Society Institute <www.soros.org/initiatives/information

OSI is a private operating and grantmaking foundation that serves as the hub of the Soros Foundation's network. OSI's Information Program works to provide access to knowledge and has supported the eIFL Project as well as the open access movement.

For information about the OSI/PloS Membership program: <www.soros.org/openaccess/grants.html


Further information on Open Access

There is a great deal of debate about the future of scholarly publishing, particularly the future of access to research. For more information and opinions about Open Access publishing, see the following websites:

<www.nature.com/nature/focus/accessdebate>  for an online debate about Open Access issues

<www.alpsp.org/htopics.htm>  which provides a list of links to sites of interest


The views expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of INASP.

Open-access publishers such as the Public Library of Science (PLoS) and BioMed Central (BMC), the two major open access publishers of biomedical literature, employ a radically different model for financing scholarly publication. Peer-reviewed articles are made freely available electronically and the costs of publication are paid for up-front with funds from the authors' grants or institutions. The open access model offers great hope for easing the present situation in which scientists in poorer countries are being virtually excluded from the journal publishing world. However, despite widespread agreement about the value of open-access journals, a misconception about publication charges has been perpetuated: specifically, that open access journals will exclude authors who cannot pay the journal's publication fee. The persistence of this misconception is dangerous because it allows critics of the open access model to question the model's founding principles of equity and fairness.

In truth, virtually all open-access publishers agree that in an open-access world, everyone should have equal access to read the literature and to contribute to the literature.

But, recognising that not all researchers have access to grant or institutional funds to pay publication charges, both PLoS and BMC offer 'no questions asked' fee waivers to any author who states an inability to pay a publication charge. The PLoS policy states that any paper judged by peer review to be worthy of publication must be published, regardless of the authors' ability to pay. Our business model accommodates a substantial proportion of fee waivers, which is particularly important during this time of transition from subscription-based to open-access publishing.

Like BMC, PLoS also aims to reduce financial barriers for potential authors in PLoS Biology and PLoS Medicine (and future PLoS journals) through its Institutional Membership Programme. This provides authors affiliated with member institutions publication-charge discounts. The Open Society Institute (OSI) sponsors PLoS Memberships on behalf of institutions in selected developing and transitional countries - authors from these member institutions receive full publication charge waivers. One of OSI's core goals is to support open-access publication and unrestricted sharing of knowledge.

Another mechanism to address the problem of differential ability to pay publication fees is to create a source of funds dedicated to covering such charges on behalf of authors in a particular discipline, from a particular geographical region or type of institution, or at a certain stage in their career. Such pools of money can be kept completely separate from editorial decisions, and simply exist for authors to tap into, should their article be deemed worthy of publication. These funds could be maintained at an institution for use by its own researchers or managed by a philanthropic organisation or the publisher itself. For example, a portion of the funds that universities save through the cancellation of expensive journal subscriptions could be designated for an open access publication 'pool'.

Philanthropic support of open access such as OSI's sponsorship of PLoS Institutional Memberships is a simple yet powerful way to address the inequities and unfairness of the current subscription-based scientific and medical publishing system. We encourage other funding organisations to follow OSI's lead. And we encourage qualifying institutions to apply for PLoS Membership through OSI, and participate in the broadest possible sharing of their scientific discoveries.

Helen J. Doyle, Director of Development and Strategic Alliances, PLoS
Email: < >
Melissa Hagemann, Program Officer, OSI
Email: < >


Go to top

Preparing materials for translation with the SMOG technique

Calling All Communicators!

The following article was submitted to the Newsletter in the hope that it provides inspiration and guidance to those interested in improving their written communications, which could be anything from newsletters and fact-sheets to translated work, journal articles or business communications.

by Nyomi Graef and Ross James

We were involved in a project to translate English-language health promotion materials into other languages, in order to train trainers in Indonesia, Cambodia, Mongolia, Russia and the Philippines. The national trainers were to use the translated materials to train community-level health professionals to prepare and implement radio programming for health promotion. Our task in the process was to prepare the materials for translation by improving comprehension and readability levels, and we would like to share some of our experience and advice to help communicators everywhere.

Of the available tools used to evaluate the readability of printed materials the SMOG formula is the most widespread (SMOG = Simplified Measure of Gobbledygoop). The purpose of the formula is to reduce the number of polysyllabic words (words of three or more syllables) in a text, as words of less than three syllables are easier to read. The basic steps are to select 30 sentences from a text, then circle all polysyllabic words. Find the nearest perfect square root for the total of circled words and add a constant of three. This gives the SMOG, or reading grade level, that a person must have reached if he or she is to fully understand the text being assessed. A score of 10 or less is usually regarded as being of a level that most people could understand.

Some grammatical changes are also effective:

a) Remove verbs that clutter the sentences, e.g.
Interviewers should be able to demonstrate friendliness, courtesy, sincerity, and familiarity with the purpose of the study,
becomes:
Interviewers should be friendly, courteous, sincere, and familiar with the purpose of the study.

b) Change negatively-worded phrases to be positive and avoid double negatives, e.g.
The goal is to avoid under-use of resources, and not miscommunicate the findings,
becomes:
The goal is to increase use of resources, and communicate the findings.

c) Use an 'active voice', e.g.
Our aim is encouraging further development,
becomes:
Our aim is to encourage further development.

We would be happy to provide interested readers with a document that describes our experiences in more detail and provides further examples.


Nyomi Graef
Curtin University of Technology;
Dr Ross James
Health Communication Resources
Email: < >

Go to top

Licensing and negotiation online workshop

In conjunction with the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and INASP, 5 people are participating on a 5-week distance learning course on Licensing and Negotiation from 17 May to 18 June. Colleagues are taking part from the following institutes and organisations: University of Nairobi, Kenya; University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia; University of Malawi, Malawi; INASP.

The course has 5 overall objectives:

  • To introduce participants to the legal underpinnings of the licensing of electronic information resources
  • To alert participants to the players and factors at their home institution that affect licensing
  • To walk participants through specific terms and conditions and areas that make up a license
  • To give participants hints on how to negotiate the terms they need
  • To inform participants of what needs to be done after the license is signed.

In collaboration with the ARL, the initial course participants and librarians in partner countries, INASP hopes to be able to develop elements of the course for wider implementation through its training programmes, adapting modules to conditions experienced within developing countries. It is hoped that modules and full courses will be available for local adaptation and use within individual institutes and library consortia in PERI countries and beyond.

Full course details can be found at: <www.arl.org/training/licensing.html

Enquiries about future licensing and negotiations skills training can be directed to Martin Belcher or Sarah Durrant at INASP.
< > and < >

Go to top

Training materials available from INASP

The following training workshop programmes and associated materials are available from INASP.

Introduction to "Using the Internet"
3-5 day practical workshop. Workshop materials are available in: English, French, Russian, Spanish and Portuguese.

Electronic Journals and Electronic Resources Library Management
4-5 day practical workshop. Workshop materials are available in: English, Spanish, Portuguese, French and Russian.

Accessing Information in Developing Countries
This one day workshop is intended to provide an outline of the issues associated with accessing information in developing countries.

Electronic Information Resources for Health Workers
3-5 day practical workshop. English language only.

Web Page Design and Authoring, leading to Library Web Pages
4-5 day practical workshop. English language only.

ICT Troubleshooting for Librarians and Information Personnel
2 day workshop. English language only.

Introducing the Internet for Public Libraries in Africa
5 day practical workshop. English language only.

Proactive Librarianship: Marketing and Public Relations: A Manual for Workshop Presenters
The manual has been created to provide a practical guide for organisers and presenters of workshops in running successful training events in their own region. English language only.

These training materials are freely available on the INASP website - see <www.inasp.info/training>  or contact Martin Belcher for further information < >

Go to top

African Journals OnLine (AJOL) African management

INASP are hoping to move AJOL to African management in 2005, and are sending out a specification document to invite expressions of interest from African organisations. If you are interested, please contact Pippa Smart < >

International Workshop on Strategies for Preservation of and Open Access to Scientific Data

This workshop is being organised in Beijing China on 22-24 June 2004 by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (MOST), and the CODATA Task Group on the Preservation and Archiving of S&T Data in Developing Countries, the Chinese National Committee for CODATA and the US National Committee for CODATA. The workshop will provide an interdisciplinary forum and promote a deeper understanding of long-term preservation, archiving, and open access to scientific data in the developing country context.

See <www.codata.org>  for further information

AJOL continues to grow

AJOL continues to grow, accepting new titles all the time. We now have 185 titles from 21 countries in Africa, and over 11,000 articles on the website. Visit us at <www.ajol.info

Go to top
The next INASP Newsletter will be published in November 2004, and will comprise a special issue on health information (see p.3). Suggestions, ideas and contributions are welcomed, and should be sent to
Neil Pakenham-Walsh at: < >

International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications
Website: <www.inasp.info
Visiting address:
58 St Aldates, Oxford OX1 1ST, UK
INASP Home Page | Newsletter Go to top