How do you incentivize resource-strapped medical schools to embrace open access?

It sounds obvious that medical schools in developing countries should share curricula. That open access is the way to go to address the severe shortage of doctors, and especially of faculty to train doctors. In fact I think there’s a real opportunity out there for someone to create a destination site that would have  comprehensive collection of lectures, articles, curricula for a complete medical education.  I’ve seen a number of potential sites recently – Science Supercourse and even OER has a few courses posted under ‘medicine’, but there doesn’t seem to be a definitive leader in this space.

And as I understand it, to create open access material you need to have your material licensed so that it can be shared, reused etc…I haven’t done it myself but expect that it does take some time to deliberately prepare your material to share. Enough time and effort that this is one of the primary services offered by OER.

So the challenge, in my opinion, is how do you incentivize resource-strapped medical schools in Africa to go through this process and make their material open access? I don’t doubt their intentions,  but why should they spend the time it takes to obtain the licenses and make their material ready for open access when they have more pressing challenges on their minds? There may be exceptions such as Stellenbosch University, who already have elearning material ready to share and do so, but most schools are still trying to develop content for their elearning programs.

This might be an opportunity for a grant, a competition or for partner schools in developed countries to take on as their social mission. Given the shortage of doctors, the shortage of faculty and the fast pace of new medical schools in Africa, increasing open access material and establishing a definitive destination could make a huge contribution to the field.

The question is – how do you get this done?


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