The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) is to be the first Learned and Professional organisation to provide developing countries with free access to science journal archives.
The 43,000-member London-based international Society is to make its historical research archives that contain 1.5 million pages and 250,000 articles available free of charge electronically as part of its commitment to help build science and technology capacity.
The RSC President Dr Simon Campbell launched the newly-created Archive for Africa in London on 28 February at the House of Commons, having introduced it to scientists meeting in Ethiopia at the weekend.
The Society is building on its current activities in support of the UK Government's emphasis on Africa during its Presidency of the G8 and in the light of the report by national academies of the G8 nations that highlighted the need for capacity building in science and technology.
|"Access to scientific information is an essential ingredient for the establishment of a sustainable science base"
- Dr Simon Campbell, RSC President
This initiative also supports last December's EU Council decision to expand collaboration between Europe and Africa through the establishment of "Euro-African networks of universities and centres of excellence", which reflects the ambition of African countries to develop their scientific and technological capabilities.
Dr Campbell, a leading drug discovery scientist who was involved in the research program that led to Viagra, said today:
"Access to scientific information is an essential ingredient for the establishment of a sustainable science base and the RSC Archive has been widely subscribed throughout the chemistry world by both academia and industry
"We are therefore delighted to launch this ground breaking initiative which makes our unique Archive freely available electronically to African countries and other developing regions to foster scientific knowledge and research. We believe that free access to the RSC Archive will make a major contribution towards building scientific capacity, which African leaders have stated is essential for social and economic development"
|"We believe that free access to the RSC Archive will make a major contribution towards building scientific capacity."
- Dr Simon Campbell, RSC President
The RSC President conveyed to the new federation a message of goodwill from EuCheMS that represents 150,000 Europe-based chemists. EuCheMS President Giovanni Natile told the African chemical scientists, through Dr Campbell: "Our two organisations, through our member societies, can play a pivotal role in promoting the advancement of chemical sciences, in facilitating networking and collaboration throughout the world, and in developing educational opportunities for young people"
Dr Campbell added: "Africa faces some formidable challenges, but chemical sciences will be at the heart of any future solutions and the launch of our Archive for Africa is part of the RSC's commitment to advance chemical sciences for the sake of knowledge and the benefit of mankind"
Four days after the introduction of the scheme to African scientists Dr Campbell was at Portcullis House in Westminster where he spoke alongside UK International Development Minister the Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP. In addition, there were contributions from Andrew Mitchell MP, Opposition Shadow International Development Secretary and from Andrew George MP, Liberal Democrat Shadow International Development Secretary.