PALM Africa, an African CC-based publishing project, just released their first open-access book from AIDS specialist Peter Mugyenyi titled, Genocide by Denial: How profiteering from HIV/AIDS killed millions. The book is being released under a CC BY-NC-ND license making it free to download and share. PALM is using the release to test the impact open access initiatives have on book sales but, as noted by Eve Gray, there is another reason this license choice is so important (emphasis added):
The timing is impeccable, as the release of the open access version of the book coincides exactly with a breakthrough at the World Health Organisation, which has finally reached agreement on a global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property [...] Among the recommendations in the WHO plan of action is government intervention to ensure voluntary sharing or research, open access publication repositories and open databases and compound libraries of medical research results. Thus Fountain’s engagement with open access publishing on a public health topic is right in line with – and ahead of – developing global policy.
PALM and Mugyenyi’s license choice thus becomes a practice in the very lessons they are attempting to teach. Beyond this, Gray argues that “Mugyenyi’s book needs to be read by the South African bureaucrats who are trying to enforce widespread and rigid commercialization of public research”, a task that while difficult, is made easier due to the free sharing encouraged by their license choice.1 Comment »