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clinmed/2000010008v1 (January 13, 2000)
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Scientific Colonialism and Safari Research

Benjamin Acosta-Cazares, Edmund Browne, Ronald E. LaPorte, Dieter Neuvians, Kenneth Rochel de Camargo, Roberto Tapia-Conyer, and Yang Ze

We describe how the Internet is a tool to achieve equal access to information where every user of the web has the same importance and equal right to register and retrieve information. Analyzing data on submission and acceptance rates from the British Medical Journal and the Annals of Internal Medicine we assessed scientific colonialism. For the BMJ, in the period from 1989 to 1998 there were 2550 (6%) papers submitted from developing countries, whereas researchers from developed countries submitted 42,140 (94%). Acceptance rate was 7.9 for developing countries and 16.7 for developed countries (x2=137.4, p<.001). Thus, papers from developed countries were 2.1 (95% CI 1.8-2.4) times as likely to be accepted. A search in Medline was made (1993-1997) in order to identify safari research. The BMJ had 59 articles related to developing countries, just in 34 (57.6%) of those the first author was from a developing country. The Lancet had 46 (56.6%) papers with the first author from a developing country. We conclude that scientific colonialism and safari research exist. There is evidence that developing countries have fewer articles submitted and are twice as likely to be rejected. In addition a large percentage of the their papers are authored by researchers from the US and UK. We believe that the Internet can break the walls separating scientists in developed and developing countries. Thus, scientists from poor countries would be able to compete with those from developed nations, which could be of enormous benefit for the health of the world.

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Small question of definition
John McConnell
ClinMed NetPrints, 17 Jan 2000 [Full text]