Sunday, August 23, 2009

Globalizing Science Publishing

Wieland Gevers, Emeritus Professor of Medical Biochemistry at UCT, has an interesting editorial (gated, I think) in this week's Science about how to make scientific publishing truly global by including the developing world. An excerpt:
Publishing in scientific journals is the most common and powerful means to disseminate new research findings. Visibility and credibility in the scientific world require publishing in journals that are included in global indexing databases such as those of the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI). Most scientists in developing countries remain at the periphery of this critical communication process, exacerbating the low international recognition and impact of their accomplishments. For science to become maximally influential and productive across the globe, this needs to change.


How can the global reach and potential impact of scientific research in Africa and other developing countries be optimized? Of primary importance is boosting the quality and quantity of work that is locally published, through measures including review of submissions by peers from within and outside the country, skilled editing, and exploitation of local niches and special research opportunities. A proliferation of journals, short-lived publications, print-only journals, and poor distribution constitutes a picture that must change. A nationally organized project can probably make the biggest difference, with investment by government and research-support agencies, as well as wide participation by local and regional scientific communities.

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