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American University - Washington College of Law
Responding to rapid and steep increases in the cost of scientific journals, a growing number of scholars and librarians have advocated “open access” (OA) to the scientific literature. OA publishing models are having a significant impact on the dissemination of scientific information. Despite the success of these initiatives, their impact on researchers in the developing world is uncertain. This article analyses major OA approaches adopted in the industrialized world (so-called Green OA, Gold OA, and OA mandates, as well as non-OA information philanthropy) as they relate to the consumption and production of research in the developing world. The article concludes that while the consumption of scientific literature by developing world researchers is likely to be significantly enhanced through such programs, promoting the production of research in the developing world requires additional measures. These could include the introduction of better South-focused journal indexing systems that identify high-quality journals published in the developing world, coupled with the adjustment of academic norms to reward publication in such journals. Financial models must also be developed to decrease the reliance by institutions in the developing world on information philanthropy and to level the playing field between OA journals in industrialized and developing countries.