Publishers for Development: principles, partnerships, responsible business


The Publishers for Development conference is an opportunity help shape the discussions about information access, information equality and how this can help developing-world research make a difference to developing-world problems. Anne Powell shares some topics that we will be discussing next week.

Participants listen to engaging discussions at Publishers for Development 2015.

Participants listening to engaging discussions at Publishers for Development 2015.

Next week’s Publishers for Development (PfD) meeting promises a fascinating range of speakers, from both north and south. We will hear about climate change research in Ghana, agricultural research in Uganda and the difference that access to e-resources is making to research and policy in Zimbabwe. We will also hear from publisher partners about some activities that are supporting southern research.

All this and more is promised (see the programme here; we will take late registrations up to Friday 24th June). But PfD is more than a conference, more than an opportunity to hear about research and the role of information access in the developing world. PfD is an opportunity to be involved, and to help shape the discussions about information access, information equality and how this can help developing-world research make a difference to developing-world problems.

This is why we’re particularly excited about the discussion session in the afternoon, where we will be talking in small groups about a range of issues raised by participants and the PfD team. We’ll be having frank conversations, so we can really tackle some of the challenges in ensuring research information is made available in the most sustainable manner to those who need it most. We’ll report back, respectfully and anonymously, through the Practising Development blog, on those conversations.

INASP’s Jon Harle highlighted some of the discussions topics in his recent blog post and we would like to give you an opportunity to think in advance about your responses and what is happening in your organization, whether or not you can join us in person next Tuesday.

The meeting will be framed around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include targets for education and learning, the need to reduce inequalities across the world and the intent to enhance the voice of developing countries in decision making. Research is necessary to provide the evidence to support strong and valid decision making.

Are the SDGs already influencing your organization’s plans? What steps has your company or organization taken, or is it taking, to support the achievement of these goals through the supply of literature? What further steps would you like to see?

The SDGs emphasize partnerships. What relationships and partnerships have been built as you supply literature to support sustainable development? What has made these more (or less) effective? Is there anything you see your own company or others doing which is counter-productive? How might developing country library consortia react to these practices?

How is the Open Access movement affecting your provision of resources to developing country consortia? What measures are you taking or could take to help developing country authors publish their research in Open Access?

Previous PfD meetings developed the INASP Principles for responsible business engagement. How have you been able to apply them in the last year? How do you plan to apply them in future?

  1. Make the effort to understand the country context
  2. Respect a country’s wish to negotiate as a consortium or purchasing club
  3. Don’t make sudden changes
  4. Think medium to long term on pricing
  5. Be realistic about sales expectations

Do come prepared to discuss these issues – and bring along other colleagues with an interest in discussing them and then taking the thoughts generated back and implementing them. Please let us know your expectations from this up-coming PfD meeting – and join in the conversation on social media using the hashtag #pfd2016.

Anne Powell
Anne Powell is Programme Specialist, Convening at INASP.

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