Open access has special significance for those of us here in the Arab world.
We feel the argument for open-access publishing stems from both an orientation towards the public good and an objection to injustice. We hope that researchers’ main aim in conducting research is to benefit others and so they should want to reach as wide an audience as possible when publishing. Second, there is an extreme injustice in the financial model of academic publishing—for electronic versions of journal articles, at least. As Curtis Rice correctly points out in “Open Access Will Make Research Better,” publishers get the money from subscription-based journals, but the publishers pay nothing to the authors of those articles or the peer reviewers who ensure their quality—the people at the heart of academic publishing.
Why should Arab researchers (or any researcher, really) care?