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About the Author

Bart Knols
Medical Entomologist (Dodewaard, Netherlands)

Bart G.J. Knols (1965) is the Managing Director of MalariaWorld, the world's first scientific and social network for malaria professionals. He is a malariologist with a Masters degree in Biology and a PhD in Medical Entomology from Wageningen University, the Netherlands. He also obtained an MBA degree from the Open University (UK) in 2006, for which he won the prestigious international ‘MBA Student of the Year 2007 Award’ as well as the Alumnus of the Year Award from the Open University. With 11 years of working experience in Africa he has managed large-scale research and vector control programmes on malaria for ministries, international or national research institutions. He has worked for the UN (IAEA) as a programme manager for three years, has served as a consultant for the World Health Organization, and is currently a Board Member of the UBS Optimus Foundation, the second largest charity in Switzerland. He has published over 130 peer-reviewed research articles, has written 16 book chapters, and has served as senior editor on a WHO/IAEA sponsored book on implementation research. In 2007 he co-edited a best-selling book titled 'Emerging Pests and Vector-Borne Diseases in Europe'. He received an Ig Nobel Prize (2006), an IAEA Special Service Award (2006), and in 2007 he became a laureate of the Eijkman medal (the highest award in the field of tropical medicine in the Netherlands). He has been a member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences since 2004. Bart held an Assistant Professorship at Wageningen University until April '09 with projects across Africa. He currently directs K&S Consulting, a firm he founded in the beginning of 2007.

Post

The Power of WWW: You Are What You Know

Published 14th June 2010 - 32 comments - 13991 views -

Gabon, April 2009

Elodie Kibweme was a fourth-year medical student at the Omar Bongo University in Libreville, Gabon. She wanted to specialise in malaria research and particularly in drug resistance. Being highly motivated and energetic she devoured the few outdated books on the subject in the library, and then started visiting the local Internet Café close to the University on a weekly basis. 

internet cafeIf her pocket money would allow, she would spend hours scanning for scholarly articles on drug resistance, as this is what she considered the biggest problem for effective malaria control in her country. 

However, as the gross national product of Gabon was too high because of oil revenues, WHO’s HINARI scheme would not allow the University full access to scholarly articles, and in the Café the problem was the same: she could only access and read a few abstracts before her time was up. Her frustration and disappointment built up, as she desperately wanted to join the malaria research programme at the Albert Schweitzer hospital in Lambarene, but was not able to communicate with scientists there, or to gain sufficient knowledge to be enlisted in their programme. 

When Elodie was finally interviewed her hopes diminished further when she was being asked on the latest developments in the field of drug resistance research.  A week later she was informed that her application was turned down. Desperate, she turned to some international scholarships, but none of these wanted her either. After her graduation Elodie got a secretarial job at a local Bank and her dreams to become a medical practitioner to serve her country to reduce the burden of malaria were shattered for good.

Access problems in Africa

The story above is fiction. But Elodie’s story is a fact of life for thousands of young scientists and students in the developing world.

Access to information is a basic human right.  It is a condition for professional and public participation. For most people living in the developed world this is considered normal but access to information in developing countries remains pitifully small. As of December 2009, only 8.7% of the African population has access to the internet, compared to 53.0% and 76.2% of the European and US populations, respectively.

The inequity of access to information has two major forms: a) access, and b) the openness of access. 

Access. Although access remains low at present, Africa also knows the highest growth rate of usage for the period 2000-2009, a trend which is likely to continue. The cyber café industry is undergoing massive growth across the continent, therebygirsl computer rapidly expanding the community in search of medical information. Ghana alone has more than 150 cyber cafes, covering all major cities. Access in Universities and research organisations, however, remains only a fraction of that observed in developed countries. With the exception of South Africa, Mauritius, and most of North Africa, African universities are seriously constrained in the use of ICT by a lack of computer stations and a lack of access to affordable high-speed Internet connectivity. Indeed, the 2006 African Tertiary Institutions Connectivity Survey (ATICS) summed up the situation as “too little, too expensive, and poorly managed.” The survey report goes on to say that “the average African university has bandwidth capacity equivalent to a broadband residential connection available in Europe, [and] pays 50 times more for their bandwidth than their educational counterparts in the rest of the world.”  Under such conditions only senior staff has access, leaving the majority of students destined to find information elsewhere (back to the cyber cafés).

Openness of access. But absence of access and connectivity is only part of the problem. Even with a designated computer and 24/7 access (again, this is rare) access to medical information provides an additional hurdle. The primary obstacles are no longer technological but are related to issues of content licensing, distribution, and access control. The importance of ensuring that developing countries have access to the latest medical research was recognized by WHO in 2000, and this led to the HINARI initiative, a partnership with science publishers that provides free or low-cost online access to 3,750 journals for researchers working in the poorest countries. However, actual access has not met promises. A recent study published in BMC Health Services Research noted that users in African countries reported problems in accessing journal content through HINARI due to the technical requirements for login and authentication. Furthermore, because HINARI focuses on providing access at the institutional level, it does not fully address the access needs of practitioners, journalists, policymakers, and others who may not be affiliated with major institutes (and work from cyber cafes). In short, not only computerised access itself, but actual access to information that matters, is far from optimal.

Ethics

So whilst in the developed world we have the latest scientific knowledge at our fingertips, we deprive young scientists in developing countries of it.

Information builds knowledge. Knowledge empowers. Empowered people are better equipped to develop their country.

So why is it that access to scientific information is so difficult for young scientists in the developing world? It’s simply because they cannot afford the high subscription fees for scientific journals.

This is what we work hard for to change – at MalariaWorld. We believe that it is unethical to deprive doctors in developing countries of the latest scientific information in their field whilst children are dying in their hands. Put differently: Is it tolerable that publishers make huge profits on scientific information that the global research community has gathered but not make it accessible to those most in need of it?

You are what you know
 
Elodie Kibweme was a fourth-year medical student at the Omar Bongo University in Libreville, Gabon. She wanted to specialise in malaria research and particularly in drug resistance. Being highly motivated and energetic she devoured the few outdated books on the subject in the Library, and then started visiting the local Internet Café close to the University on a weekly basis. 
If her pocket money would allow, she would spend hours scanning for scholarly articles on drug resistance, as this is what she considered the biggest problem for effective malaria control in her country. 
However, as the gross national product of Gabon was too high because of oil revenues, WHO’s HINARI scheme would not allow the University full access to scholarly articles, and in the Café the problem was the same: she could only access and read a few abstracts before her time was up. Her frustration and disappointment built up, as she desperately wanted to join the malaria research programme at the Albert Schweitzer hospital in Lambarene, but was not able to communicate with scientists there, or to gain sufficient knowledge to be enlisted in their programme. 
When Elodie was finally interviewed her hopes diminished further when she was being asked on the latest developments in the field of drug resistance research.  A week later she was informed that her application was turned down. Desperate, she turned to some international scholarships, but none of these wanted her either. After her graduation Elodie got a secretarial job at a local Bank and her dreams to become a medical practitioner to serve her country to reduce the burden of malaria were shattered for good.
The story above is fiction. But Elodie’s story is a fact of life for thousands of young scientists in the developing world. As of December 2009, only 8.7% of the African population has access to the internet, compared to 53.0 % and 76.2% of the European and US populations, respectively
The inequity of access to information has three forms: a) access, b) the openness of access, and c) structured access. 
a) Access. Although access remains low at present, Africa also knows the highest growth rate of usage for the period 2000-2008, a trend which is likely to continue. The cyber café industry is undergoing massive growth across the continent, thereby rapidly expanding the community in search of medical information . Ghana alone has more than 150 cyber cafes, covering all major cities. Access in Universities and research organisations remains only a fraction of that observed in developed countries. With the exception of South Africa, Mauritius, and most of North Africa, African universities are seriously constrained in the use of ICT by a lack of computer stations and a lack of access to affordable high-speed Internet connectivity. Indeed, the 2006 African Tertiary Institutions Connectivity Survey (ATICS) summed up the situation as “too little, too expensive, and poorly managed.” The survey report goes on to say that “the average African university has bandwidth capacity equivalent to a broadband residential connection available in Europe, [and] pays 50 times more for their bandwidth than their educational counterparts in the rest of the world.”  Under such conditions only senior staff has access, leaving the majority of students destined to find information elsewhere (back to the cyber cafés).
b) Openness of access. But absence of access and connectivity is only part of the problem. Even with a designated computer and 24/7 access (again, this is rare) access to medical information provides an additional hurdle. The primary obstacles are no longer technological but are related to issues of content licensing, distribution, and access control. The importance of ensuring that developing countries have access to the latest medical research was recognized by WHO in 2000, and this led to the HINARI initiative, a partnership with science publishers that provides free or low-cost online access to 3,750 journals for researchers working in the poorest countries. However, actual access has not met promises. A recent study published in BMC Health Services Research noted that users in African countries reported problems in accessing journal content through HINARI due to the technical requirements for login and authentication. Furthermore, because HINARI focuses on providing access at the institutional level, it does not fully address the access needs of practitioners, journalists, policymakers, and others who may not be affiliated with major institutes . In short, not only computerised access itself, but actual access to information that matters, is far from optimal.
So whilst in the developed world we have the latest scientific knowledge at our fingertips, we deprive young scientists in developing countries of it.
Information builds knowledge. Knowledge empowers. Empowered people are better equipped to develop their country.
So why is it that access to scientific information is so difficult for young scientists in the developing world? It’s simply because they cannot afford the high subscription fees for scientific journals.
This is what we work hard for to change – at MalariaWorld. We believe that it is unethical to deprive doctors in developing countries of the latest scientific information in their field whilst children are dying in their hands. 
Is it tolerable that publishers make huge profits on scientific information that the global research community has gathered but is not available to those most in need of it?

Category: Equality | Tags: ict, publishers, internet cafe, access,


Comments

  • inge on 14th June 2010:

    Hi Bart, thanks for pointing out one of the issues that should be at the basis of global development aid.

    Malaria kills some 3000 children everyday. There is a lot of information being published about malaria every week. Information that could save lives…
    It is a shame that this information is available to the ‘lucky happy few’.


  • Bart Knols on 14th June 2010:

    @Inge. Indeed.

    There is an ongoing dispute between the University of California and the Nature Publishing Group (see: http://www.nature.com/press_releases/cdl.html) about the costs of publishing and subscriptions, which are considered outrageous by the Californians. But Nature journals are not for free, and hardly accessible to scientists in developing countries. So why publish there anyway?

    My point is very simple: If people in can’t afford subscriptions to certain journals they’re stuck. Imagine how you feel if you can only read teasers all the time.

    But on top of that scientists in the developing world get stuck with the new way of publishing: through Open Access. Here the reader pays nothing, but the author does. A publication in an open access journal like Malaria Journal will cost you € 1100. So here again, this is something that many developing country scientists can’t afford.

    They’re stuck: with traditional subscription journals as well as with open access publishing. And who makes money out of all this: the publishers.

    So, with online publishing becoming more and more common, there is scope for a new world: in which reading and writing is for free.

    This can be done by paying just one person: the Editor of the journal. Editors are often the slaves for journals, work long hours for free or a marginal fee ‘because it is good for their career’. But what if we would pay them a small fee for every article they handle? Say € 100.

    If a journal like that would publish 200 papers per year, this would be € 20,000. This amount can surely be financed by some funding organisation. The only thing that changes is that the publisher is no longer involved….


  • Amin Azizi on 14th June 2010:

    Thanks once again for the useful discussion. This trend of limiting information is not something new. I was thinking that it is done by purpose as you can see that there is a huge debate about useless cultural and political subjects and international media cover that and use every effort to make propagenda for their case. This has never been in the media. I visited medical college in Afghanistan and students are taking notes from the lectures and thats it. Some lecturers sell their notes and only those notes count in exam. unfortunately the internet cafes are used for watching porno in some netcafes I visited. The net cafes are made in a funny way. I visited Peshawar university in pakistan and there were about 200 PCs in a computer hall for students but the students are not allowded to use them. Rector of the university told me that it is a security issue. I visited Christain medical college and due to security restriction I could not use my computer for 3 weeks. They have a stupid system of checking your personal data, passport and valid visa in order to give you access.


  • Bart Knols on 14th June 2010:

    @Amin. As you rightly point out, there are (unfortunately) many more reasons why information that is so essential to students and scholars is not being released. These may be of political origin (the Google disaster in China is a good recent example).

    In the blog above I mainly refer to the role played by publishers in making scientific information accessible to scholars, policy makers, doctors, etc. And that I fail to see (as Inge points out) why vital information is witheld from scientists in developing countries that need it most. This would be the cheapest of all projects to fund by a large charity like the Gates Foundation and sort the biggest effect in the long term.

    Publishers will sooner or later have to come forward and acknowledge that the internet demands free and unrestricted access to information. We are working together with Elsevier at the moment to make a reasonable number of publications each month accessible for free - a good starting point, though much more needs to be done.

    Thanks for your comment.


  • Radka Lankašová on 14th June 2010:

    Bart,

    what do you think is the real cause of limited internet access? Is it the cost of internet lines (waves, cables..) that is too high for developing countries or governments maybe find it useful students (and population in general) do not have access to many pieces of information that politicians put in infavourable light?


  • Bart Knols on 15th June 2010:

    @Radka. Thanks for comment. I believe the problem is layered.

    - Too few young scientists have access to a good computer
    - The internet connection they have is too slow and too expensive
    - The access they get may be restricted for political reasons (e.g. China)
    - The access may be impossible because of the costs of subscriptions to online scientific journals.

    And here in the west we are talking about empowering people in developing countries? I’m not at all surprised that the gap between science in developed and developing countries is widening BY THE DAY.

    It is not uncommon these days to visit a conference where delegates may be talking science in a language that is certainly english, but incomprehensible unless you are fully engaged in this type of research. People working in the molecular sciences are notorious for this…

    I’m afraid that developing countries are floating further away from the developed world because of this… we need to bridge this gap, don’t you agree?


  • MF on 15th June 2010:

    Hi Bart,
    I’ve also experienced quite some problems with internet in the African countries I visited, even though I stayed in relatively big research institutes. Only then you realize what a privilige it is to have open access to knowledge, and how terribly demotivating it can be when you’re deprived of it.

    And what I also find very frustrating is that my own research department (in a developed country) is not willing to pay the extra costs for Open Access publications, even when there’s ample money. I recently had a nice publication in a high output journal and the open access fee was around E1500,-. This is peanuts compared to the amount of money we have in the project (or how much is spent by our professors travelling all the time), but the option wasn’t even open for discussion. I find this extremely frustrating, since my main motivation for working in malaria research is to make an actual contribution to society. Not making important research findings accessible for the countries that need it the most is in my opinion unacceptable.

    So thanks Bart for your efforts to help solve this problem. If you guys at MalariaWorld have a journal, I’ll definately send my next publication to you!


  • Radka Lankašová on 15th June 2010:

    Bart,

    thank you for opening my eyes. I guess we take many things as granted and don´t even realize this is not so.

    I can´t find the proper word for what you are describing in your brilliant article (as always) - the people who are efected by malaria - they live in malaria coutnries, they can catch it, they can die of it, they work hard on research, they treat people and save their lives, yet they do not have regular and easy access to information they need so desparately!

    I can imagine solution is not easy for many reasons you mentioned in your comment. It is fantastic you don´t give up and try to help. Thank you for that.


  • Bart Knols on 15th June 2010:

    @MF. Thanks for your contribution.

    It is indeed true that many of the more ‘traditional’ journals offer the option these days to have the article online for free (open access) if you as an author pay an extra amount. In my opinion this should be made obligatory for scientists from developed countries when they publish research that is of direct relevance to the developing world. Indeed, as you say, not making research findings accessible is unacceptable.

    Looking forward to seeing your manuscript!


  • Bart Knols on 15th June 2010:

    @Radka.The battle goes on. It is hard for me to step back when I see this situation. It is so frustrating to see talented people in developing countries (which I meet often) but notice that they are not ‘up to speed’ because they are being deprived of essential knowledge for the reasons mentioned above.

    Frustration then turns to energy, and I start trying to do something about it…


  • Radka Lankašová on 15th June 2010:

    Bart,

    I may be a bit off track now, but would older computers help?

    Do not understand me wrongly - I am not certainly suggesting to make a trash bin out of Africa. But I know some companies who change computers rather frequently and they “old ones” recycle though they could still be used.

    Maybe this could be one of the ways? I know it is not systematic and it is just a drop in the ocean, but it could help for a few universities?


  • Bart Knols on 15th June 2010:

    @Radka. By all means! There are organizations that specialise in refurbishing old computers and sending them off to developing countries.

    Check out:
    http://www.carec4dc.com/
    http://www.computeraid.org/

    More on the web if you search for ‘computers for developing countries’.


  • Radka Lankašová on 15th June 2010:

    Bart,

    good! Here is one concrete activity how to help not only by writing.

    I love the idea!

    Thanks for contacts.


  • Bart Knols on 15th June 2010:

    @Radka. I would be over the moon if one of my blogs on TH!NK3 translates into action. If you move forward with this and manage to donate ‘old’ computers to some organization, please let me know! Excellent, and many thanks in advance.


  • Radka Lankašová on 15th June 2010:

    Bart,

    I felt blessed and honoured when I became part of this competition. Soon after its start I realized I can not really compete with other bloggers, I am, unlike many of you, not a third world specialist. I wish I could become one in four months, but I am realistic.

    When you read my posts I write about “my world”, things I can do myself. Naive as I am I believe if more people did the same we may not need Deep Horizons etc.

    The more I read very interesting posts, some of which were very strong, the more I felt I wanted to contribute. Maybe this is the way. The competition started through computers and it would be nice if it ended with them - in Africa. It would be a nice parallel and the circle would close and start again. Young people would get a chance for whatever they wanted.

    I can not promise I would get computers for talented students and scientists, but I can promise I WILL try to do so.

    And yes, if I succeed, I will inform you.


  • Bart Knols on 15th June 2010:

    @Radka - great. Keep on trying.

    I would like to respond to your first point about not being able to compete with other bloggers. My answer to this is simple: DON’T. If competition is the goal than it is not worth contributing to. With over 3 million page views so far, TH!NK3 is much bigger than a blogging competition - we all, you, me and the rest of the gang, are raising very important issues, and we’re opening people’s eyes. That’s what this is all about…so keep it up!


  • Radka Lankašová on 15th June 2010:

    Bart,

    another good lesson - always chose the right words!

    By “compete” I did not mean a “hurdle race”, not at all. This is not the aim of this competition. On the contrary, it is about help and awareness and opening eyes and ears of other people.

    I only terribly clumsily expressed I am not as knowledgeable as other bloggers. But I am getting better every day!


  • Bart Knols on 15th June 2010:

    @Radka - I’m sorry if I misinterpreted your comment. Happy to see that we view the vallue of TH!NK3 along the same lines.


  • Radka Lankašová on 15th June 2010:

    Bart,

    no worries smile.

    We are on the same boat.


  • Daniel Bridges on 15th June 2010:

    I think it is important to note that some funding bodies have recognised the need to make research accessible. I am funded by the Wellcome trust and they insist that all our publications are open access. There is ringfenced money available for this so that even stingy groups have no excuse (in fact I believe it is a qualification for accepting the grant)!

    I don’t know how other funding bodies compare however…


  • Bart Knols on 15th June 2010:

    @Daniel. Thanks for this additional information.

    But let’s not forget: Who is paying here? And who is being paid? Now it is the Wellcome Trust spending large sums of money to pay publishers. Ringfenced money could also be used for funding additional projects or fellowships instead.

    The point I am trying to bring up here is not that we should find an organisation (like the Wellcome Trust) to cough up the money to pay publishers for Open Access, but rather that it is high time that we redefine the roles of the various parties involved in the publishing process.

    We have Open Access. But we need Open Access 2.0: where authors can publish for free, and readers have access for free. The only person to be paid is the editor of the journal, the rest can all be done online these days. That will be a big step forward for scientists in developing countries, agreed?


  • Daniel Bridges on 15th June 2010:

    Bart.

    Free access and free publishing - couldn’t agree more. Be great to see that dream realised! Ultimately to achieve this we need to change the model. However, I just wanted to recognise that Wellcome (and possibly other funders) have decided to ensure that the research they fund is available to all (albeit by paying publishers). Perhaps like you say, they just haven’t thought big enough i.e. Open Access 2.0 Have you approached any of the funding bodies with this idea? I believe that Wellcome would be very receptive.

    I really think that at least in the north (developed world), hard copy articles have almost been consigned to history as a primary source of information. Everyone goes online, and traditional publishing must be in decline (think of the rise of e-book readers). Anyway, I think everything is available to transition to a new publishing model. So two things are needed:

    1) Money to pay the journal editor (at a fraction of the cost of producing a similar number of articles with a publisher).
    2) Scientists willing to publish in the journal.

    The latter will take time as impact factor is the plumb line by which scientists careers are judged, and therefore is critical in determining who will submit articles.


  • Bart Knols on 15th June 2010:

    @Daniel. Couldn’t agree more with your two points ref what is needed, thanks.

    Now - who cares about an impact factor. We’re solving global diseases like malaria. As far as I know that has nothing to do with impact factors…

    Thing big means thinking beyond impact factors - I am very curious to see if scientists dare to come forward when we plan to replace the impact factor with the relevance factor: how important the piece of research is in terms of solving the problem…


  • Iris Cecilia Gonzales on 15th June 2010:

    Bart,

    In the Philippines, there are areas that still have no electricity, and especially, internet connection. You are right cost is a major problem.


  • Bart Knols on 15th June 2010:

    @Iris. The issue of connectivity and hardware does of course remain an issue, and there will be parts of the developing world that will be slower to pick up.

    But my point is much more serious: I am taking about students in Manilla, Nairobi, La Paz, Mexico city, and Peshawar, where electricity and connectivity are much less of a problem.

    By serving students in these places with free access to scientific information we serve the generation that will be the next to develop their nation. Isn’t that what we all hope?


  • Iris Cecilia Gonzales on 15th June 2010:

    Yes Bart. I totally agree with you and I hear what you’re saying. It’s just so frustrating in developing countries. There are too many challenges—will power, access, budget. Oh, but ofcourse, hope springs eternal. There is very poor funding for scientific information, research and even beefing up public libraries.


  • Bart Knols on 15th June 2010:

    @Iris. Thanks - but don’t despair, there are initiatives underway that will bring changes to better access to scientific information. It is just that the scientific world needs to catch up with the idea and break loose from traditional patterns.

    But it will happen, shall we bet on it? grin


  • Iris Cecilia Gonzales on 15th June 2010:

    Haha. No need to bet on it Bart. Yes. It will happen.


  • Daniel Bridges on 16th June 2010:

    Who cares about impact factors? Well I guess the scientists whose career is judged by the quality (read impact factor) of their research. After all the best researcher isn’t going to be able to do any research without funding. Ultimately all of us involved in malaria research should be trying to do ourselves out of job - solve the problem and we become redundant. I would certainly welcome the day when malaria is eradicated and my job disappears!

    Perhaps you could outline how you would see the relevance factor being determined?

    I don’t know how this fits in with all the things you are doing, but I would be very interested in helping out with any application to Wellcome for funding to get this thing off of the ground (if that would be useful).

    @Radka - sending old computers to Africa is a great way to improve access to IT. However we need to empower people rather than create dependency. I saw a project in Malawi that refurbishes donated computers. With a little bit of funding some Malawians were trained how to repair / refurbish computers. With that knowledge and some donated equipment they now rent some of those computers (and service backup etc) to small companies. Other computers have been used to set-up a series of internet cafes. These revenue streams pay the computer technicians salary, and fund subsidised IT classes.


  • Giedre Steikunaite on 16th June 2010:

    Bart, great post.

    You’re talking about young scientists, but the problem of internet access is of course much wider. Many of us in the Minority World take the internet for granted (I myself was extra super hyper mad when first Virgin, then British Telecom cut me off for like a week or two each - I felt dis-empowered and disconnected from the world not only literally, but also mentally), and internet is indeed a powerful tool for everyone.

    I saw some BBC programmes about internet access in Africa, how it can help farmers, for example. I don’t remember the numbers exactly, but the cost of it was breathtaking! It was crazy money for simply checking your email. Obviously this needs to be changed, both in science and other areas of life. As you say, internet empowers, and that poor fictitious Elodie should not be denied her right for that.

    On another note, I just find it funny how you wrote to Radka, “..you, me, and the rest of the gang..” smile The gang! wink I agree on what you both say about this platform. I guess we all feel similar about TH!NK3… Thank you.


  • Bart Knols on 16th June 2010:

    @Daniel. Exactly, impact factors build careers but have nothing to do with malaria. Good observation and precisely the point. We have created an artificial world that because of impact factors deviates the focus away from what matters…controlling, if not eliminating, malaria.

    Relevance factor: Yes, we have some ideas about this. For instance, once a paper is put online and published, MalariaWorld members can rank it on a scale of 1-10 in terms of ‘the contribution this article makes towards solving the malaria problem’. By the time 100 members have given their vote, the average score will appear online with the paper. So this goes beyond the ‘highly accessed’ that Malaria Journal uses. Imagine if you score a 9 for your article, then it must be pretty important I guess…

    @Giedre. Yes - I agree that the problem is much wider, but very much more so for ‘them’ compared to ‘us’. Cost remain prohibitively high in Africa, but will hopefully fall when high-speed internet is becoming more widely available and the competition between providers goes up.

    And yes, I consider us a gang…hope you don’t mind.


  • Giedre Steikunaite on 16th June 2010:

    Of course I don’t mind, I actually find it nicely funny smile


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