Altruism as the founding pillar for open monograph publishing in the Global South

RAJU, Reggie (2017) Altruism as the founding pillar for open monograph publishing in the Global South. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2017 – Wrocław, Poland – Libraries. Solidarity. Society. in Session 232 - Academic and Research libraries, FAIFE and Copyright and Other Legal Matters.

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Language: English (Original)
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Abstract

Altruism as the founding pillar for open monograph publishing in the Global South

The primary purpose of publishing research output is for it to be read by the widest possible audience. Unfortunately, cost has become a major barrier to access limiting readership to only those who can afford to pay. Open access is viewed as the process to overcome the cost barrier to the end user. One of the founding pillars of open access is altruism. However, open access has been marketed to researchers as a means of growing their profile through showcasing their work. Essentially, the pragmatic purpose has taken precedence over the altruistic and social justice underpinnings of open access. The open access movement, within the African context, is challenged by a myriad of difficulties ranging from exorbitant cost of bandwidth to extremely poor electricity infrastructure. Compounding these difficulties is the poor financing of academic libraries to the extent that many academic libraries have not bought any books for a number of years; and subscriptions to journals are extremely low. In essence, researchers in Africa and the community at large have very little access to scholarly content. A further challenge is that in recent years there has been a significant drive for access to local (decolonised) content to support the demand for a decolonised higher education. It is against the a fore mentioned challenges that the University of Cape Town Libraries developed its strategic plan to take on the role of ‘library as publisher’. At the core of this strategic plan is the altruistic principle which is in line with the University’s social responsiveness agenda. The books published are done via diamond open access and addresses as far as it possibly can, African challenges such as bandwidth, electricity and costs.

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