Responsible engagement with developing countries: what can publishers do?

We’ve put together some key principles to guide publishers wanting to ensure they engage responsibly with our partner countries, and to support genuinely sustainable and effective access.

  • Make an effort to understand the country context, which institutions are members of the consortium, and what their needs are. Try to look beyond the capital city – connectivity for each is often very different. You can do this through direct discussion with the consortium, but also by participating in Publishers for Development events.
  • Where a country wishes to negotiate as a consortium or purchasing club, respect this – don’t try to find alternative routes and don’t withdraw access before or during negotiations. It could damage reputations and relationships.
  • Don’t make sudden changes – if you wish to develop a direct relationship, communicate with the consortium or national coordinating body early to explain your plans, and give them time to prepare. A 3-5 year plan for engagement is likely to make for a more effective transition.
  • Think medium to long term on pricing and be realistic about your sales expectations. Budgets won’t have increased just because countries are able and willing to deal directly with publishers. Where increases are needed, make these affordable, incremental and predictable.

These suggestions are part of a longer blog discussing INASP’s work with developing country researchers and international publishers.

Jonathan Harle
Jonathan Harle is Director of Programmes at INASP.

One Response to “Responsible engagement with developing countries: what can publishers do?

  • I fully concur with the key principles for publishers willing to engage with partners especially in developing countries. We need to aspire to build sustainable long term relationships and only then can we be in a win-win situation. Unless the publishers understand the dynamics at play in a particular country, they might have wrong impressions through a visit to one institution and generalize for the whole country whereas institutions in a country need to be assessed in totality. As Jonathan puts it, it is very important that where a Consortium is in existence, publishers try to work through such entities as much as possible because the Consortia represents the interests of the members.