Strategies for Open and Permanent Access to Scientific Information in Latin America: Focus on Health and Environmental Information for Sustainable Development

Collaborative approach to open access: Experience from Bioline International

Leslie Chan, Associate Director of Bioline International, University of Toronto Scarborough

Open access (OA) to scientific publications, and in particular to the results of publicly funded research, has been one of the most contested issues in scholarly communication today. Increasing, traditional publishers are experimenting with various OA publishing models. But due to the increasing attention to OA publishers such as BMC and PLoS, there is now a tendency to equal Open Access with OA publishing and also the tendency to conflate the author-pay model as the dominant OA publishing venue.

Bioline International (BI) hosts a group of 50 journals from various parts of the developing world and these journals are offering free online access without charging for author fee. BI is a distributed South-North collaboration with the severs based in CRIA in Brazil, the management centre based in Toronto, and with not-for-profit publishing partners from research institutions, scientific organizations and scholarly societies from various developing countries. The journals derived their funding from a variety of sources, including print subscriptions, advertising, government grants and aids subsidies from various local as well as international agencies. Funded by the University of Toronto libraries, BI does not charge the publishers hosting fee and it's goal is to serve as an open access platform that maximizes the visibility, usage, and citation of journal articles that are otherwise difficult or impossible to access due to poor international recognition and the lack of technical and human resources for online distribution by the local publishers.

In this presentation, we describe the technical infrastructure of BI, the workflow between partners, and the strategies we use to maximize the exposure and usage of the journal content through the use of Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) and other indexing services. In particular we focus on the download and usage pattern of articles in the BI system, pointing to the dramatic increase in download from other developing country users. This speaks to the evident need of literature from the South by researchers from the South and the shortcoming of other journal access programs that ignore this important component. We conclude by proposing further strategies on how to increase the benefits of open access through collaboration and a sustainable funding model.

  • The Global Alliance for Enhancing Access to and Application of Scientific Data in Developing Countries, of the United Nations Global Alliance for ICT and Development, UN G@ID
  • U.S. National Committee for CODATA
  • Brazilian National Committee for CODATA.
  • CODATA Task Group on Preservation of and Access to Scientific and Technical Data in Developing Countries