Information Today
Volume 18, Issue 5 — May 2001
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Ideal Charter for Low-Income Countries to Enable Reduced-Rate Access

Academic Press has announced that universities, research centers, and teaching hospitals located in low-income countries can now gain reduced-rate access to IDEAL, the online resource library for researchers in science, technology, and medicine (STM).

The IDEAL Charter for Low-Income Countries, a new licensing model, offers specially priced access to IDEAL for institutions located in countries with severely limited resources. As Internet connectivity becomes more widespread, the availability of IDEAL through this new licensing model will contribute to the development of many institutions in eligible countries worldwide.

The IDEAL Charter offers reduced-rate access to nations that conform to the World Bank's definition of low-income countries—i.e., those with a gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of U.S. $760 or less. This group includes sub-Saharan African countries, as well as ones in Central America and Central and Southeast Asia.

In Paris, at the ICSU-UNESCO Conference on Electronic Publishing in Science, Academic Press president Pieter Bolman delivered a talk on the new economics of the electronic publishing of scientific journals. As part of his talk, Bolman announced the launch of the IDEAL Charter for Low-Income Countries.

Bolman said: "Developments in information technology continue to have a profound effect on production and distribution of scientific, technical, and medical journals. The transition to electronic publishing of these journals has actually just begun and, contrary to popular belief, has not and will not come cheaply. However, while we in publishing continue to adjust to the ongoing transition period in which STM journals are moving rapidly online, we want to step forward and assist researchers in countries less fortunate than ours.

"Thus, I am delighted to announce the creation of the IDEAL Charter, which will dramatically improve access in low-income countries to our journals. This initiative strongly carries forward our enduring goal—to take high-quality research findings to the largest possible audience. The IDEAL Charter will deliver value far beyond the investment put into it, and though the charter is but a small step toward eliminating the digital divide, we at Academic Press and Harcourt are proud of this initiative and invite participation in it."

Einar Eriksen, with the Yekatit 12 Hospital Burn Unit in Ethiopia, said: "As a plastic surgeon working in the capital city Addis Ababa, I mainly deal with burn patients and other individuals in need of reconstructive surgery. Easy access to medical journals through the Internet, as proposed by the IDEAL Charter, will be of great encouragement, motivation, and benefit to professionals working in various health institutions in developing countries. I look forward for this initiative to be realized."

IDEAL offers 176 currently published Academic Press journals, plus Harcourt Health Sciences (HHS) journals from Churchill Livingstone, W.B. Saunders, Baillière Tindall, and Mosby. The IDEAL Charter offers full-text access to all Harcourt Health Sciences and Academic Press journals, as well as Academic Press archival backfiles dating back to 1993, on IDEAL.

As part of the launching of the IDEAL Charter for Low-Income Countries, sponsorships are being sought. Though the charter model comprises reduced-rate fees subsidized by Academic Press and Harcourt, some low-income countries may need further assistance to enable them to take advantage of the innovative licensing initiative. Philanthropic organizations and corporations are encouraged to underwrite charter access to IDEAL for specific countries.

Complete details about the IDEAL Charter are available at

IDEAL is licensed in 30 countries by more than 2,000 academic institutions and industrial and pharmaceutical companies, and is accessible to over 10 million authorized users worldwide.

IDEAL now offers nearly 200,000 journal articles and 14,000 journal issues. This year, the number of journals on IDEAL is increasing, as more peer-reviewed medical journals from Harcourt Health Sciences are being brought online. This expansion will bring the number of HHS journals on IDEAL to about 140.

Source: Academic Press, San Diego, 619/231-0926;

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