Monday, 20 July 2009

OA developments in CIS countries and South Africa, with the help of the Open Society Institute, continues to make steady progress in the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries and in other eIFL countries with regard to open access and policy developments. The recent eIFL Newsletter highlights a number of major developments:
- A new Lithuanian law on science requires online access for publicly-funded research took effect on May 12, 2009 and was made possible through the commitment and hard work of the Lithuanian Research Library Consortium;
- In Poland, Krzysztof Gulda, Director of the Department of Strategy and Development of Science at the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, speaking at the conference Open Educational Resources in Poland on April 23, declared the interest of the Ministry in introducing open science models in Poland, as part of the current reform of the scientific system. In particular, he declared that the Ministry is considering introducing an open mandate for publicly funded scientific content;
- Implementation of the Belgorod Declaration on open access to scientific knowledge and cultural heritage was endorsed by 10 rectors in Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. And on May 28 Belgorod State University presented its digital repository ( followed by the V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University launching its digital repository eKhNUIR ( to implement the action plan of the Belgorod declaration on open access to scientific knowledge and cultural heritage at the university area of border regions of Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine for 2008-2013;
- In Ukraine, libraries advocated open access and the implementation of the national open access mandate and a new thematic digital repository –the Central and Eastern European Marine Repository. More than 150 Ukrainian University librarians endorsed the Open Access to knowledge statement on May 21 at the International conference “Libraries of the higher education institutions in the context of higher education modernisation” that took place in Sevastopol, Ukraine.
To implement the Open Access Mandate (open access to research funded from the state budget of Ukraine introduced in the Law of Ukraine On the principles of Developing Information Society in Ukraine in 2007-2015) the Vernadsky National library of Ukraine created a registry of 726 journals. Full text articles of 346 journals (starting from 2008) are already deposited here.
And the library of the Institute of Biology of the Southern Seas (IBSS), Ukraine, launched CEEMaR (Central and Eastern European Marine Repository) – a thematic digital repository covering the marine, brackish and freshwater environments and providing access to papers produced by the staff of the ECET institutes in Bulgaria, Poland, Russia and Ukraine;
- And in South Africa, the first African open access institutional mandate at the University of Pretoria and a new repository at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology was registered. On May 22, Monica Hammes registered the first African open access mandate of the University of Pretoria, South Africa:

More information about all these developments is available from

Sunday, 12 July 2009

From research to treatment

A child is dying of malaria in an African village. Medication available is minimal. Of what possible use is the most recent research being carried out in a distant university or research institute when what is needed is immediate and appropriate health care?

Yet, without past research we would not know about the antimalarial activities of peptide antibiotics isolated from fungi, as reported by Nagaraj, Uma, Shivayogi and Balaram in an American Society of Microbiology publication, and freely available from the Indian Institute of Science’s repository. We would not know about a recent study on the role of rapid diagnostic tests in managing malaria, published in PLoS Medicine. Nothing would emerge to improve the treatment of malaria in the future.

There is a chain of communication in health knowledge, stretching from the primary research publication, through the development and application, through publications that ‘translate’ the knowledge appropriately for health care workers and on to the treatment of those in need. This is discussed in a recent publication by three EPT Trustees, Chan, Arunachalam and Kirsop, in the Open Medicine journal. The authors argue that if the first link in the chain is broken, the development of essential new treatments will not take place. They show that free and open access to the latest research findings is critical for the exchange and sharing of research findings that will accelerate new treatments.

The Open Medicine journal is a non-profit open access journal that encourages the free use of published reports and data. Its mission is to ‘facilitate the equitable global dissemination of high-quality health research within the health community; to promote international dialogue and collaboration on health issues; to improve clinical practice; and to expand and deepen the understanding of health and health care’.