Africa: MSF Pioneers Opening Up Access to Humanitarian Data
Médecins Sans Frontières (“Doctors without Borders”: A French humanitarian-aid organization) are planning to make the data collected by its research and clinical staff freely available online. MSF say this is the first time a medical humanitarian organisation has made its research open access in this manner. This exciting development could lead to two way benefits. Researchers from a range of countries will be able to learn from the first hand data and pioneering work that the MSF conducts, which will include ‘Records of HIV treatment and care, treatment for drug-resistant tuberculosis and human African trypanosomiasis, and a database of nutritional surveys.’ While from their own point of view the MSF staff will be able to use outside research on their data for health benefits for the communities they work with.
UCL presses ahead with open access
In exciting news the University College London plans to start using their repository as a publishing platform. UCL Press, previously licensed to commercial publishers, is now a department within the institution’s Library Services. Significantly the UCL Press will also publish open access monographs. The initiative aims to find new methods that will ensure the sustainability of monographs for future researchers. Paul Ayris, the Library Director of UCL, discusses the origin of this idea and the impact it may have on publishers and monographs in the linked article.
The Top 20
Thanks to our ability to track the origin of user requests for Surrey papers from the SRI Open Access Repository we are able to identify the amount of downloads from individual countries. The top 3 countries (U.K, U.S.A and China) are quite predictable however the further down the list you go the more interesting reading it becomes. As part of the news blog we are going to look at which countries are in the top 20 and pick out a particular Open Access story that concerns this country. This week our news blog focuses on South Africa, currently ranking 20th in terms of requests from SRI, with 12,701 downloads (14/01/14). It is of course very encouraging to see South African researchers so interested in the work of Surrey Academics. The following article and attached interview illustrates both the differences of Open Access in South Africa but also the shared hope in the outcomes that Open Access may deliver.
Michelle Willmers on the state of Open Access: Where are we, what still needs to be done?
This article is from Richar Poynder’s blog, which is dedicated to “observing and reporting on the evolution of the Open Access (OA) movement”. The article has both a commentary on the unique role of Open Access in Africa as well as a Q and A with Michelle Willmers. . Project Manager of the OpenUCT Initiative at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. The blog and interview make very interesting reading, commenting on the politics of South African Universities with regards to Open Access, the Green/Gold debate in a South African context as well as the difference in teaching/research ratio compared to a typical academic in the U.K.
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