Open-access publishing fees deter researchers in the global south
Open-access papers have drastically fewer lead authors from low-income regions than do paywalled articles, an analysis of tens of thousands of articles shows. The findings suggest that the fees that journals charge to publish articles open access pose a barrier for authors in low- and middle-income countries — something that scientists had previously suspected but found difficult to demonstrate.
Increasing numbers of scholarly journals — including Nature — have been making their articles open access, driven in part by requirements from funders (Nature’s news team is editorially independent of its publisher Springer Nature). Although this shift has been making the scholarly literature more widely accessible, many researchers have noted that the article-processing charges (APCs) typically required to publish research open access can deter authors from using this option.
“One of the great ironies of open access is that you grant authors around the world the ability to finally read the scientific literature that was completely closed off to them, but it ends up excluding them from publishing in the same journals,” says Emilio Bruna, an ecologist and scholar of Latin American studies at the University of Florida in Gainesville.