Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Regional journals can boost science capacity

Regional journals are essential for building science capacity in the developing world, says Wieland Gevers.

Building significant and sustainable science capacity in developing countries is an agenda that enjoys wide support. But how best to achieve it is still open to debate.

Part of the answer lies in promoting 'regional journals' — scholarly journals published in, and containing many original papers of regional interest, but with editorial and peer review practices equivalent to high-impact journals in developed countries. These are indispensable components of truly globalised scholarship, and cost-effective catalysts for contributions from hard-pressed scientists and scholars in developing countries.

In the highly profitable Western system of commercial journal publishing (now fighting to contain the contagion of open access), hard-working authors are often described as offering their manuscripts for free, quality-assuring other scientists’ work without compensation, and then paying heavily to read published work through costly subscriptions, outrageous downloading fees and out-of-control library budgets.

But these criticisms do not recognise the benefits scientists and scholars derive from being editors, peer reviewers, and contributors. Researchers are constantly alerted to new ideas and findings, interesting citations, methodological insights, and improved conceptual thinking arising from close reading of others’ work.


Source: www.scidev.net

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