A few recommendations can be made based on our experiences during the
For journals providers:
- Make articles available in both HTML and PDF formats. Whereas PDF
files are sometimes completely inaccessible, our experience shows that
HTML articles can usually be accessed even under the most difficult
- Consider setting up mirror sites at strategic locations to enable
easier access from low-bandwidth sites.
- Explore to what extent LAN configuration, bandwidth resale, and limited
access hours may be contributing to unsatisfactory Internet performance,
and how these factors might be improved.
- Encourage expansion of Unix and network management training. There
were excellent, highly trained people at each university we visited,
but having more of them would help take the load off their overburdened
- Engage the university community in the process of determining real
information needs and priorities. Universities that have been active
in this area are in a better position to set their own agendas and receive
more effective assistance from donors.
For national telecommunications authorities:
- Lower the cost of bandwidth for universities. The long-term national
development benefits of expanded incorporation into the global information
network and production of highly skilled young people far outweigh the
short-term benefits of monthly lease payments.
- Support for the one-time costs of upgrading university Internet connections,
such as terrestrial radio or VSAT equipment, would go a long way towards
improving both the performance and the sustainability of those connections.
- More study is needed with regard to a variety of issues surrounding
electronic information access in developing countries. Projects to enable
the exploration of different access mechanisms (e.g., online journals,
CD-ROM, individual electronic document search and delivery methods,
and online conferences and mailing lists) would be helpful in terms
of understanding cost-effective priority-setting among available alternatives.
At the same time, the effects of expanding reliance on the Internet
given current bandwidth limitations, even in places where journals are
currently accessible, are unknown and will require some experimentation.
Projects in this area will be key to fulfilling the promise of the information
age in developing countries.