ICSR White Paper on Achieving an Equitable Transition to Open Access in Lower and Middle-Income Countries

By Victoria Ficarra 07/09/2020

We are pleased to announce that the findings of a White Paper co-authored by our director, Rob Johnson and produced by Elsevier in collaboration with the International Association of STM Publishers, is now publicly available on the Elsevier ICSR Perspectives site.

The paper assesses the current level of uptake of Open Access (OA) publishing models in lower and middle-income countries and examines the barriers to adoption of OA in this context. It then provides recommendations on the necessary steps needed to prevent a transition to OA from inadvertently widening the knowledge gap between high-income and lower and middle-income countries.

Some key highlights of the report

  • The Research4Life initiative has expanded in scope since 2002 to provide free or very low-cost access to the current research literature in over 10,000 registered institutions in eligible countries, helping address research inequalities from the readership side.
  • Given an increasing focus on UN SDGs and a global transition in scholarly publishing models towards open access, this white paper examines how the playing field can be levelled from the authorship side also, permitting knowledge production in lower and middle-income countries (LMICs) to find a wider audience.
  • Analysis is presented that suggests some practical ways in which researchers in LMICs can be supported in making this transition and ensuring that the outcome should not be less inclusive than the current model.

We hope that the findings of this report will be valuable to those working to ensure equitable access to information on a global scale and can inform best practice in the growing uptake of open access.