Title: Building open access in Africa

Authors: Williams E. Nwagwu, Allam Ahmed

Addresses: Africa Regional Center for Information Science (ARCIS), 6 Benue Rd., P.O. Box 22133 UIPO, University of Ibadan, Nigeria. ' SPRU – Science and Technology Policy Research, The Freeman Centre, University of Sussex, Brighton BN1 9QE, UK

Abstract: Developing Countries (DCs), particularly those in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), are suffering from scientific information famine. The expectation that the internet would facilitate scientific information flow does not seem to be realisable, owing to the restrictive subscription fees of the high quality sources and the beleaguering inequity in the access and use of the internet and other Information and Communication Technology (ICT) resources. This paper aims to assess and evaluate Open Access (OA) movement as a proposed solution to avoid the restrictions over accessing scientific knowledge, particularly in SSA. The paper also outlines the opportunities and challenges in implementing OA in SSA. However, there are often mismatches between what the |donor| countries can reasonably offer and what the SSA countries can implement. Finally, the paper will discuss the slow uptake of the OA in Africa, the perception of the African scientists towards the movement, the non-expression of concern by policymakers and their implications on the scientific activities in Africa.

Keywords: open access; OA; open source; digital divide; information technology; communications; ICT; developing countries; Sub-Saharan Africa; SSA copyright; copyleft; open content; scientific knowledge; knowledge access.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.2009.021521

International Journal of Technology Management, 2009 Vol.45 No.1/2, pp.82 - 101

Published online: 30 Nov 2008 *

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