Wednesday, February 25, 2009

SFI research boosts African science

Turns out that SFI's policy of encouraging open access publication of the research it funds could have a big pay off for scientists in Africa and in developing countries around the world.

SFI recently sent out a note that said ...

Where a research publication arises in whole or in part from SFI funded research (i.e. where one or other of the researchers concerned receives SFI funds in support of their endeavours), the SFI Open Access Availability of Published Research Policy will be adhered to.

...and SciDev.Net has now reported that research published in Science recently demonstrates that "making articles freely available online can widen the participation of developing world scientists in global science":

Researchers at the University of Chicago in the United States measured the extent to which making papers available on an open access basis affected how many times those papers were cited, and by whom.

Using Thompson Scientific's Citation Indexes and Fulltext Sources Online, they surveyed 26 million articles from more than 8,000 journals, their associated citations from 1945–2005 and online availability from 1998–2005.


"Our study shows that people who have access to journals in poor countries use them," says James A. Evans, the leading author of the research, published in Science last week (20 February). "If they weren't freely available they wouldn't use them with the same frequency, and they may not be able, as a result, to themselves publish in top journals."

Ironically it looks like you've to pay to get full access to the original paper in Science!

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