“Access to data is a huge problem. Bangladesh collects a large amount of hydrological data, such as for stream flow, surface and groundwater levels, precipitation, water quality and water consumption. But these data are not readily available: researchers must seek out officials individually to gain access. India’s hydrological data can be similarly hard to obtain, preventing downstream Bangladesh from accurately predicting flows into its rivers….
Publishing hydrological data in an open-access database would be an exciting step. For now, however, the logistics, funding and politics to make on-the-ground data publicly available are likely to remain out of reach.
Fortunately, satellite data can help to fill the gaps. Current Earth-observing satellite missions, such as the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) Follow-On, the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) network, multiple radar altimeters and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensors make data freely available and can provide an overall picture of water availability across the country (this is what we used in many of our analyses). The picture is soon to improve. In December, NASA and CNES, France’s space agency, plan to launch the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite mission. SWOT will provide unprecedented information on global ocean and inland surface waters at fine spatial resolution, allowing for much more detailed monitoring of water levels than is possible today. The international scientific community has been working hard over the past 15 years to get ready to store, process and use SWOT data….
New open-science initiatives, particularly NASA’s Earth Information System, launched in 2021, can help by supporting the development of customized data-analysis and modelling tools (see go.nature.com/3cffbh9). The data we present here were acquired in this framework. We are currently working on an advanced hydrological model that will be capable of representing climate-change effects and human impacts on Bangladesh’s water availability. We expect that the co-development of such a modelling system with local partners will support decision-making….”
“The above examples show how the Global North (which is currently leading the scholarly publishing industry) is creating an enabling environment so that the South (which presently is lagging behind in academic publishing) could be a more effective part of the global scholarly system. In almost all cases, the inclusion is achieved by attracting individuals from the South, as authors or editorial board members of the Northern journals, as members of societies’ committees, or as presenters or panelists at global conferences or webinars. But this is not the whole picture of geographical inclusion. I see three other dimensions within it.
First, to achieve the geographical inclusion outlined above, publishers and societies are investing in their DEI strategies, undertaking DEI promotion projects, allocating funds and human resources (e.g., Elsevier supporting Research4Life), and sacrificing profits (e.g., by waiving APCs), for example. But how do such investments reach beyond the participating individuals from the South? Are these individuals translating their acquired skills, experiences, and exposures in their home countries? Are they making any impact there? How do we determine if such impacts are being made?…”
“My third point is on the OA model itself. The white paper assumes the Gold OA model as “the” model, and then explores avenues to bring the Global South in. In 2018, the LMICs constituted 5.5% of world’s publications indexed in Scopus. In the same year, 23% of articles published by these countries were in OA journals, while 75% were in subscription journals. While looking into how the South is doing with OA, we also need to convince OA journal publishers to engage with the South more — not only working with them as authors, but also as peer-reviewers and editors. We also need to look into the wide range of APCs available: from zero APC in subsidized Gold OA journals to US$ 9,900 to publish in Elsevier’s Cell. Transparency in determining APCs might clarify how much of it is actual expense, how much is profit, and how much the author is paying for the brand value.
My final point is that when we talk about OA, we essentially talk about journals published by big, commercial publishers from the Global North. We need to bring the OA journals of the South to the discussion. It could be argued that the editorial process and quality of these journals are not up to the mark, these journals are not indexed, they do not have “impact” as defined by Impact Factor or CiteScore. But, they do publish data and information important for a particular country or a region, and these data could be crucial in crisis moments, like pandemics, natural calamities, and climate change….”
“Before the 2008 general election, the political party Bangladesh Awami League proposed a concept called the ‘Vision 2021’ in its election manifesto. As the party assumed power in 2009, the vision was translated into a perspective plan for 2010?2021. Both the vision and the plan envisaged Bangladesh becoming a middle-income country by 2021 – the year the nation will celebrate 50 years of independence. It was further realized that ICT-based economic development would be a crucial aspect of attaining that vision. That insight led into the idea of a ‘Digital Bangladesh’ and allowed plans, resources and execution to make it real.
Ten years on, Bangladesh’s digitalization has now evolved through numerous avenues. Four paths, however, remain at the core. The first is to prepare the citizens to capitalize on the amazing opportunities the ICT sector has to offer, through many capacity development initiatives. Bangladesh has 16% of the world’s online workers, which ranks it second in the world following India (24%). A report suggests there are about half a million active ICT freelancers, together earning US$ 100 million per year….”
“The Asia Open Access (OA) meeting will provide an opportunity to learn about global trends, share information across Asian countries, and help with local strategies for increasing the adoption of OA in Bangladesh. We will also present the results of the Next Generation Repositories initiative at Confederation of Open Access repositories (COAR), and work with participants to develop a strategy for their adoption across the region.
The meeting will be organized by the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC) in Dhaka, Bangladesh in Collaboration with Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR)….”
“Besides publishing Braille books, Nazia and her team at Sporsho have also been working to give visually impaired students an open space for learning and self-development. Sporsho is developing an audio library for these students where they can study freely. Sporsho also organises music, poetry recitation and indoor games classes for the visually impaired students. “My dream is to build an open knowledge centre for all where visually impaired youths will get completely barrier free access. They will reach it and study without any discrimination just like any other student. By initiating knowledge and learning based activities, Sporsho’s dream is to establish an inclusive, discrimination-free society for all, especially for the visually impaired people,” says a hopeful Nazia….”
“Bioline International is a not-for-profit scholarly publishing cooperative committed to providing open access to quality research journals published in developing countries. BI’s goal of reducing the South to North knowledge gap is crucial to a global understanding of health (tropical medicine, infectious diseases, epidemiology, emerging new diseases), biodiversity, the environment, conservation and international development. By providing a platform for the distribution of peer-reviewed journals (currently from Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Egypt, Ghana, India, Iran, Kenya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Turkey, Uganda and Venezuela), BI helps to reduce the global knowledge divide by making bioscience information generated in these countries available to the international research community world-wide….”
All the articles in this issue are in one large PDF. Here’s the table of contents:
Access to knowledge at the heart of the profession and a key to sustainable development 3 Steven W. Witt
Sharing the data: The information policies of NOAA and EUMETSAT 5 Freya R. Yost
Open access repositories in India: Characteristics and future potential 16 Prerna Singh
Open access and the Caribbean academic: An exploratory investigation of the adoption of this medium for publishing among science faculty of The University of the West Indies 25 Ingrid Iton and Ardon Iton
Faculty members’ perceptions and use of open access journals: Bangladesh perspective 36 Nafiz Zaman Shuva and Radia Taisir
Effective information service delivery to rural dwellers in Sub-Saharan Africa: Whose job? 49 Chimezie P. Uzuegbu
Kuwait’s higher education libraries: A descriptive analysis 59 Asma J. AlKanan