Centering the knowledge periphery through open access
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Centering the Knowledge Periphery through Open Access. ARL Membership Meeting: The International Dimensions of Digital Science and Scholarship Ottawa, Canada May 17-19, 2006. Leslie Chan Bioline International International Studies and New Media studies

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Centering the Knowledge Periphery through Open Access

ARL Membership Meeting: The International Dimensions of Digital Science and Scholarship

Ottawa, Canada May 17-19, 2006

Leslie ChanBioline International

International Studies and New Media studies

University of Toronto at Scarborough


  • Current state of knowledge production and access to knowledge in the developing world

  • Will Open Access bridge the knowledge gap between the North and the South?

  • Lessons from Bioline International

Arthur J. Carty

National Science Advisor to the Prime Minister

International Association of Technological University Libraries, Quebec 31 May 2005


“African countries need to have in place appropriate mechanisms and infrastructure for training and exploitation of knowledge. This will enable them to make meaningful evidence-based policy, in order adequately to address local needs and participate in the international community on science and technology issues.”

Network of the African Science Academies and the science academies from the G8 countries (2005)

Disparity in scientific output

  • The G8 countries account for ~85% of most cited articles indexed in ISI

  • The other 126 countries (mostly in the developing world) account for ~2.5 % (King, 2004)

But ISI’s Science Citation Index has serious biases

Dominant Model of Knowledge Dissemination

From the Centre to Periphery



invisible knowledge

Perpetual the cycle of poverty and dependence

The 10-90 Gap

  • 10% of the global health research spending is allocated to diseases affecting 90% of the world population

  • So how relevant is scientific knowledge generated in the North for health and development in the developing world?

Lown and Banerjee (2006) The Developing World in The NJM

Flow of information

  • North to South is important for South

  • South to South is also important as contexts are more relevant

  • Is South to North important for North?

  • Definitely yes:

    • Tropical and infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS, malaria, etc.

    • Alternative including herbal medicine

    • Epidemiological data

    • Epidemics and new diseases

    • Biodiversity for global understanding

International collaboration

  • International collaborations result in higher citation impact

  • What about researchers in the developing countries?

Journals from developing world

Limited circulation

Fewer authors and subscriptions

Circle oflimitedaccessibility

Poor visibility and readership

Limited recognition

Fewer citations

Dominant Model of Knowledge Dissemination

From the Centre to Periphery

invisible knowledge

Stopping the cycle of poverty and dependence

Open access enable Peer-to-Peer sharing

… and new model of

Knowledge creation,

Sharing, and


But need to better understand

Barriers to


Modes of

knowledge creation

Cultures of


Bioline International

“… the small deal”

What is Bioline International?

  • Electronic aggregator of full text journals from developing countries

  • OAI data provider

  • Serve as open access platform for journals without the necessary infrastructure

  • A South-North collaboration

Bioline International

  • Development - using open source software and open standards

  • Advocacy - Aims to influence scholarly communication practices and access to research literature

  • Research - Will open access improve the visibility and impact of journals from developing countries? How effective are research libraries in enabling international collaboration?

Core Partners


UT, Canada

CRIA, Brazil

Funding Support

  • University of Toronto Libraries

  • Department of Social Sciences, U of T at Scarborough

  • Open Society Institute, Information Access Program

Publishing Partners

  • Scholarly and Scientific societies from 17 countries

  • Research centres in biology and medicine, university-based publications,

  • All non-profit and willing to experiment with free online access

  • Most are supported by local subsidies and international aids

Meta-data exchange and dissemination partners

  • Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) -

  • The eGranary Digital Library -

  • Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative (HINARI) -

  • -

  • Scientific and Technical Information System -

  • University of Toronto Libraries - T-Space -

New Partnership with SPARC!

Recent additions

  • International Journal of Environment Science and Technology (Iran)

  • Iranian Journal of Environmental Health, Science and Engineering

  • African Health Sciences (Uganda)

  • Health Policy and Development Journal (Uganda)

  • Brazilian Journal of Oral Sciences

  • VITAE Academia Biomedica Digital (Venezuela)

  • Medical Journal of The Islamic Republic of Iran

  • Iranian Journal of Pharmacology and Therapeutics

  • Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition (Bangladesh)

  • African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development (Kenya)

Key events: June 2003, full open access

Jan 2005, full OAI compliant

Increased visibility

  • Traditional directories and indexes ( e.g. EBSCO’s A-Z service, Ulrich’s Serials Directory), ISI Web Content

  • Directory of Open Access Journal (DOAJ), African Journal Online (AJOL), Virtual Health Library of Latin America and Caribbean (BRIME), Latindex, Africa Index Medicus, eGranary Digital Library

  • Accessibility from library catalogs through OpenURL

  • Also accessible through HINARI and AGORA

Journal of Postgraduate Medicine

  • Quarterly journal

  • Based in Mumbai, India

  • Print circulation <400

    • Limited to school

  • Paid subscription ~100

    • Majority from India

  • 50-80 articles published / year

Making more accessible

JPGM at Bioline

JPGM at OAI server

Archived at multiple places

JPGM at PubMed


Circle of Accessibility

Bioline International


OAI services


OAI servers








e.g. DOAJ

Downloads and visitors

Data: D.K. Sahu

Geographic distribution of visitors (n = 500)

Article submissions

International submissions

Projected Impact Factor

Economics of OA-P for India

Effect of OA on subscriptions

Circle ofaccessibility

OA as a tool for dissemination

Open access

More authors

and other benefits

Increased visibility

Larger readership

Wider recognition

Increased citations


  • OA is increasing the visibility, accessibility and impact of some of the journals from developing countries

  • Collaboration is key and low cost

  • Open linking is crucial

  • Need to develop value-added services with OA databases and open standards

  • Alternative and more inclusive measures of research impact is emerging but OA is the foundation

  • Long term funding is uncertain

Thank you!


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