Ecology of Access to Educational Material in Developing World Universities

The longstanding crisis of the developing world library is coming to an end, but not in the way most observers anticipated. Resource scarcity, limited holdings and poor infrastructure remain the norm. Debates of access to print materials continue to revolve around decades-old fights over photocopying and parallel importation. But the combination of ever-cheaper computers and growing "shadow libraries" of pirated scholarly material is flanking these battles. Increasingly, students have access to everything, on a scale and with an ease that would have been unthinkable in the richest universities a decade ago. The consequences for educational opportunity and research in these settings are profound, as are the implications for efforts to expand legal access to materials. Such efforts no longer operate in a context shaped primarily by scarcity, but by massive, unauthorized and uncontrolled flow of digital texts.
There are anecdotal accounts of these developments but no systematic analysis of them. In particular, there has been no forward-looking analysis of the possible impact of these developments on developing country publishing industries, library infrastructure or legal strategies for accessing access to educational materials.
This grant will support a multi-country inquiry into the ecology of access to educational materials in developing world universities with a focus on Brazil, India and South Africa. The overall goal is to understand the actual organization of access to knowledge goods in developing world universities, as distinct from the accounts of access that inform most conversations about copyright, open access and enforcement. The findings will contribute to a wider inquiry into global market and policy dynamics, and to the emerging positive agenda on access, copyright and enforcement at the international level.

Projet nᵒ


État du projet


Date de début

Lundi, octobre 17, 2011

Date butoir

Mercredi, novembre 26, 2014


30 mois

Agent(e) responsable du CRDI

Sayo, Phet

Financement total

CAD$ 748,000


Brésil, Amérique du Sud, Inde, Afrique du Sud, Nord du Sahara, Sud du Sahara, Amérique Nord et Centrale, Asie centrale, Extrême-Orient, Asie du sud


Networked Economies

Chargé(e) de projet

Joe Karaganis


The American Assembly

Institution Country

United States