I had the honour to speak at the “Scientific knowledge in the digital age: Open Access and Open repositories” seminar, at the Ural State University named after Maxim Gorky.
The event was the first of its kind. The subject of ‘Open Access to scientific publications’ is almost unknown in Russia. AFAIK there are currently two open repositories (Socionet and Journal of Stress Physiology & Biochemistry) that are at an early stage of development. For this reason Eifel and the USU organised this seminar for librarians and scientists. Some 85 people attended the seminar.
During a tour at the universities’ library, the director explained that for them open access is a topic within their own reality. Each year they have to wait and see if enough budget is allocated to order books and the articles necessary for research. And even in the rare years they have enough money, getting the books is a different story.
Russia has a policy that requires from each library to compile a ‘wish list’. All wanted (study and scientific) books of all libraries are than merged and tendered in the (regulated) market. A painstaking process that on average takes six months to conclude.
This doesn’t mean that all books are delivered… The ones that couldn’t be tendered – whatever reasons – can be placed on the next wish list. One can imagine that this way some of the scientific publications can simply not be obtained. That’s quite a long way to go to open access in the traditional sense.
For people interested in Open Access (modern version) I advise to read Peter Suber excellent introduction here.