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Programme brings open access to Africa

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BioMed Central is working to increase the visibility of scientific research from Africa with a set of initiatives designed to encourage African researchers to publish their work in open-access journals.

According to the publisher, only 0.7 per cent of all research published currently comes from sub-Saharan Africa, yet African researchers have a key role to play in finding solutions to the many challenges faced by African countries.

To help address this challenge, the 2nd Open Access Africa conference will take place from 25-26 October 2011 at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS), Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The free conference, organised in partnership with Computer Aid International, will provide a focal point to bring researchers, librarians and funders together to examine the opportunities and challenges for open access publishing in an African context.

BioMed Central is also launching a new free membership scheme for qualifying universities and research institutions in low-income countries. Foundation Membership will enable institutions to demonstrate their support for open-access publishing and offers a range of benefits which will enhance the visibility of the institution’s research output. Institutions are eligible to become Foundation Members if they are located in a country covered by BioMed Central’s Open Access Waiver Fund, have an official institutional policy in support of open access, and have published at least five papers in BioMed Central’s journals within the last three years.

In addition to this new programme, BioMed Central is also introducing what it describes as a new cost-effective open-access publishing and institutional-repository solution targeted at low-income countries, the ‘Open Access Package’. The Open Access Package provides a comprehensive and affordable open-access solution that offers Foundation members the tools to support both open-access publishing and self-archiving of scientific articles within their libraries.