Researchers and policymakers expecting their copies of Research Caribbean over the past two months may have been unpleasantly surprised — the publication has ceased because of lack of interest from subscribers.
Research Caribbean published 36 issues aimed at science and development communities in the region, as part of a RIMI4AC project running from 2009-2012, which aimed to strengthen dissemination of research findings, and was funded by the European Union under the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Science and Technology Programme.
The publication sought to track science policy across the Caribbean, providing detailed coverage of research-related issues. Its website states the aim was to provide "the Caribbean science and development communities with the most comprehensive online system of funding opportunities and research-related news".
It used "countless freelancers and huge efforts from contributors to bring interesting news on research and research management to the Caribbean," wrote its editor, Claire Maasch, in the final editorial.
- News service aimed at Caribbean researchers and policymakers has ceased to publish
- Editor writes that service may have been 'somewhat premature for the region'
- Insider says the publication's high costs dissuaded subscribers
"Sadly, we feel that our news offering may be somewhat premature for the region and despite our best efforts, there has been no consistent uptake of news subscriptions," Maasch wrote.
Recent articles included news about education and brain drain in the Caribbean, ethanol production at a Guyana sugar estate, and management of the Caribbean's marine ecosystem.
"We're helping to build a Caribbean community of science and innovation policymakers and researchers, who are harnessing research to solve the problems experienced by the Caribbean's people," the website says.
"At some Caribbean universities, the research departments are new, under-resourced and stretched beyond capacity," it explains. "At others, they're just stretched and are looking for different sources of funding for new areas of research."
The publication aimed to help make research policy news, and funding opportunities available within institutions as a resource for research staff. It also hoped to link what it said were isolated Caribbean policymakers and researchers with the global research community.
Paul Ivey, associate professor at the University of Technology, Jamaica, tells SciDev.Net: "I agree that there is 'no feasible market' for their product because [what they offered] could be obtained elsewhere without cost, and the price points were not seen as attractive, especially under constrained financial circumstances".
"In addition, because there was no guaranteed return on the potential investment in the product, the cost benefit analysis may have led to its avoidance by institutions," adds Ivey, who is also chair of the Caribbean Research and Innovation Management Association, which was set up under the RIMI4AC project.
"It's not that [Caribbean] institutions are weak, they just didn't think the product justified the cost," he concludes.
Link to Research Caribbean
See below for a video about RIMI4AC project: