The modest explosion of published research about historical and current Timor makes me wonder how much is readily accessible to the East Timorese themselves.
Alerts on discussion lists hosted by ETAN and the Timor-Leste Studies Association are valuable pointers to newly published articles, academic theses etc. Marvellous when links are provided for free access to the items, but frustrating for many (not just Timorese!) when they see only an abstract from an inaccessible, maybe expensive, professional journal.
Timorese access to original archival primary materials held outside Timor is currently problematic. Access to published materials ought not be so difficult to organise.
A recent paper on ‘free’ access to research findings partly addresses this question, outlining a number of strategies for students & researchers in developing countries to overcome access difficulties. Published by the London-based UNESCO-related Information and Communication Technologies for Development Collective, the paper focuses on resource-poor Africa but could also be relevant in Timor-Leste (click image at left to view).
These strategies may be fine at an individual level, but it is not difficult to envisage an even better general solution. Imagine an institution like the National University or the planned National Library in Timor-Leste establishing a unit devoted to collecting all current published research for easy access inside Timor. I imagine most foreign researchers would be more than willing to offer copies of their work to such a collection.