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Monday, May 19, 2008

Enhancing access enhances output

Information Philanthropy Initiatives: A Guide to Helping Libraries & Researchers Worldwide, Library Connect Pamphlet #11, April 28, 2008.  (Thanks to Research Information.)  From the sidebar on p. 10:

...Countries benefiting from HINARI — launched in 2001 and providing journal access since 2002 — have seen a massive increase in the number of authors publishing in international peer-reviewed journals, well in excess of the increase seen in the remaining nations of the world.

When looking at the number of authors publishing in peer-reviewed journals over the five-year period 2002–2006, we see 38% growth for non-HINARI countries but 63% growth for those signed up to HINARI.

When looking at the number of authors publishing in peer-reviewed journals over the five-year period 1997–2001, we see a growth rate of 20% for both sets of countries....

Update.  Also see the Elsevier press release, May 19, 2008.  Excerpt:

HINARI Access to Research Initiative announced today that its collaborative efforts to provide free and low cost access to health research in the developing countries have made a significant impact on advancing scientific discoveries in these regions....

An impact analysis, conducted by Elsevier, has shown that researchers in the countries benefiting from HINARI have begun to publish their findings in international peer-reviewed journals at a rate that is well in excess of the increase seen in the rest of the world....

Update. Also see Katherine Nightingale's article in SciDev.Net for May 27, 2008:

Kimberley Parker, HINARI's programme manager, says that with such a simple analysis it is impossible to prove HINARI alone has caused this increase....

"We believe we're a contributing factor in the growth. This particular piece of research was something that came to hand; we are pleased to be able to say that we look to be a contributing factor but we can't prove it." ...

HINARI's claims have drawn scepticism from some members of the open access publishing community and highlight the difficulty of measuring the impact of open and free access publishing.

"Of course access to research findings are bound to stimulate research activity, but it is hard to be sure that access programmes such as HINARI are the sole contributors to increases in scientific activity as measured by the number of publications in the developing world," says Barbara Kirsop of the Electronic Publishing Trust for Development....

Exactly. Enhancing access is bound to enhance research output. Any boost due to HINARI is bound to be mixed together with a greater boost due to OA.