A Fair Pricing Model for Open Access

“A pay-per-article publishing model raises issues of regional and global equity. In Europe, the implied price per article in transformative agreements varies from one country to another, based on no rationale other than historical subscription spending. Globally, APCs for individual open-access articles are identical for customers from Norway to India, irrespective of their income levels.

This is a peculiar and possibly unique global pricing model. The local prices of products and services with a global reach—think of medication, soft drinks or cinema tickets—typically vary with local purchasing power. They cost what the market can bear. Even old-fashioned subscriptions take local purchasing power into account, leading to differentiated prices for the same service.

It is unclear why APCs and transformative agreements are not priced as a function of what local markets can bear. The consequence, however, is stark: for the most part, researchers and institutions based in lower- and middle-income countries simply cannot afford either of these pay-per-article models. While some of these countries have negotiated cost-neutral transformative agreements, it is not clear whether these are equitable in terms of local purchasing power.

In much of the world, the money is not there to pay APCs geared to the richest nations—especially as APCs have consistently risen faster than inflation. Countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development spend an average of 2.2 per cent of gross domestic product on R&D. For the United States, the figure is 3.5 per cent. In Latin America and the Caribbean, in contrast, the average is 0.7 per cent, while South Africa’s figure of 0.75 per cent is well above the continent’s average of just 0.4 per cent….”

Job: Africa Regional Strategy Lead | Association for Progressive Communications | Deadline for applications: 1 October 2022

“…The Africa Regional Strategy Lead will provide direction for and coordinate APC’s advocacy work and movement building strategy on digital rights and internet governance in the region. This will include developing and implementing Africa-focused projects, supervising staff supporting this work and working closely with APC staff leading other areas of work in Africa. The Africa Regional Strategy Lead will contribute to strengthening relationships between APC and its members and partners in the region and will work closely with APC teams working on global policy advocacy. Start date: 15 November 2022.* Deadline for applications: 1 October 2022 * The successful applicant is expected to attend the Internet Governance Forum in Ethiopia on 28 November to 2 December 2022. Location: The applicant can work from anywhere but must come from and live on the African continent….”

Access to science for junior doctors and neurologists in French-speaking countries: challenges and future perspectives

Abstract:  Background and objectives: Science education developed historically from experimentation science to model theories of cognition. Digitization in medical science brought about new challenges of access to science for education and publishing. The aims of our study are to describe the differences in access to science and scientific publications for junior doctors and neurologists in French-speaking countries, and to identify difficulties and their association with demographic, workplace, social and personal factors. Methods: We performed a thirty-nine-question-survey to define access to science from two major perspectives, scientific education, and scientific publishing. We explored scientific education through demographic data and scientific resources (institutional, online, personal), and evaluated scientific publishing of thesis and articles according to demographic data, number of publications, and difficulties with publishing. Results: Our study identified personal and environmental factors interfering with scientific access, some of which are attributed to junior doctors and neurologists in French-speaking countries as age, gender, ethnicity, income and work and life-balance. A heavier load was observed for African scientists. The main scientific resources used for medical education were Journals 82,9%, Congresses 79,4%, and Sci-Hub 74,5%. Junior scientists are facing major difficulties in writing in science due to linguistic (56,5%), financial (64,7%), scientific (55,3%), and logistic (65,3%) factors. Conclusions: This paper suggests that ethnicity, age, gender, and work-life balance can all impact access to science at different levels. The challenge now is to create digital platforms that modernize medical education and help build bridges for research within diverse scientific communities

Resolving the location of small intracontinental earthquakes using Open Access seismic and geodetic data: lessons from the 2017 January 18 m<SUB>b</SUB> 4.3, Ténéré, Niger, earthquake – NASA/ADS

Abstract:  A low-magnitude earthquake was recorded on 2017 January 18, in the Ténéré desert in northern Niger. This intraplate region is exceptionally sparsely covered with seismic stations and the closest open seismic station, G.TAM in Algeria at a distance of approximately 600 km, was unusually and unfortunately not operational at the time of the event. Body-wave magnitude estimates range from mb 4.2 to mb 4.7 and both seismic location and magnitude constraints are dominated by stations at teleseismic distances. The seismic constraints are strengthened considerably by array stations of the International Monitoring System for verifying compliance with the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban-Treaty. This event, with magnitude relevant to low-yield nuclear tests, provides a valuable validation of the detection and location procedure for small land-based seismic disturbances at significant distances. For seismologists not in the CTBT system, the event is problematic as data from many of the key stations are not openly available. We examine the uncertainty in published routinely determined epicentres by performing multiple Bayesloc location estimates with published arrival times considering both all published arrival times and those from open stations only. This location exercise confirms lateral uncertainties in seismologically derived location no smaller than 10 km. Coherence for interferometric synthetic aperture radar in this region is exceptionally high, and allows us to confidently detect a displacement of the order 6 mm in the time frame containing the earthquake, consistent with the seismic location estimates, and with a lateral length scale consistent with an earthquake of this size, allowing location constraint to within one rupture length (?5 km)-significantly reducing the lateral uncertainty compared with relying on seismological data only. Combining Open Access-only seismological and geodetic data, we precisely constrain the source location, and conclude that this earthquake likely had a shallow source. We then discuss potential ways to continue the integration of geodetic data in the calibration of seismological earthquake location.


Open access agreement for Egypt | Open research | Springer Nature

“Starting 01 January 2022, if you are a corresponding author affiliated with a participating Egyptian institution, you may be eligible to publish open access in our journals with fees covered under a Transformative Agreement plus fully OA agreement. 

This agreement will cover all the public, private and national universities, as well as the research centers related to the ministry of higher education and scientific research and all other governmental ministries in Egypt. …”

Abu-Ghazaleh stresses the importance of the outcomes of the National Open Science Conference in Tunisia

“Under the guidance of His Excellency Dr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, founder of Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Global and Chairman of the Arab States Research and Education Network (ASREN), and under the patronage of His Excellency Mr. Moncef Boukthir, Tunisian Minster of Higher Education and Scientific Research, the National Conference on “Open Science – The Way Forward” was successfully conducted in Tunisia, with the participation of more than hundred high-level representatives of government institutions, universities and research institutions from Tunisia….”

Nigeria tackles publishing in predatory journals

“Higher education institutions in Nigeria need to train academics to spot fraudulent journals, researchers say.

The researchers, members of the Nigerian Academy of Science (NAS), noted this in a communique released to the public on 21 July after convening a roundtable discussion on 29 March to discuss fighting predatory academic practices….

Nigeria is one of the largest contributors to predatory journals, according to a 2015 study published in BMC Medicine. This was attributed to tight demands for academics to publish and a lack of resources to publish in high profile journals….”


Forum for Open Research in MENA

“Bringing together leading international experts and key regional stakeholders, the Forum for Open Research in MENA (F.O.R.M.) is endorsed by UNESCO, and supports the advancement of Open Research across the Middle East and North Africa by facilitating the exchange of actionable insights and the development of practical policies.

The movement towards Open Science is vitally important to ensure the long-term sustainability and inclusivity of our education systems and scholarly communities. However, Open Science is also a complex and multi-faceted concept, and it can be difficult to know how and where to start. The problem is further compounded by the negative publicity surrounding predatory publishing practices and the mistrust of Open Access which this has engendered, together with issues surrounding funding allocation and the disparity in subject-field approaches.

Providing a forum for librarians, researchers, government policy makers, universities and international experts to discuss and debate key themes and issues, F.O.R.M. will help to address these issues and support the advancement of Open Research across the region.”

Call for Papers – Forum for Open Research in MENA

“The Forum for Open Research in MENA (F.O.R.M.) is being organised by the Knowledge E Foundation and Gulf Conferences to support and promote Open Science across the Middle East and North Africa. Endorsed and supported by UNESCO, our Advisory Partner, this event is designed to foster awareness and understanding of Open Science and its benefits, and facilitate the exchange of ideas and actionable insights. Bringing together leading international experts and key regional stakeholders, along with open-source and open-resource solutions and technology providers, our goal is to provide a forum for MENA librarians, researchers, government policy makers and higher-education institutions to exchange ideas and start new cross-regional collaborations developing Open Research policies and infrastructure.

The movement towards Open Science is vitally important to ensuring the long-term sustainability and inclusivity of our education systems and scholarly communities. However, Open Science is also a complex and multi-faceted concept, and it can be difficult to know how and where to start. The problem is compounded by the negative publicity surrounding predatory publishing practices and the mistrust of Open Access which this has engendered in the MENA region (and across the world), together with issues surrounding funding allocation and the disparity in subject-field approaches.

F.O.R.M. seeks to address these issues by encouraging discussion and debate amongst leading regional and global stakeholders, facilitating the development of structural frameworks and practical policies. We hope to encourage participants to consider all the issues surrounding equitable Open Scholarship and Open Science practices, by bringing together industry leaders and global experts, and providing a mixture of outstanding talks, strategy sessions, networking opportunities and workshops….”

Despite promising developments, African researchers are still disadvantaged in publication

“A recent research paper published in PLOS Global Public Health5 sought to determine the authorship trends in infectious disease publications in low-income countries from 1998 to 2018. While the numbers of lead or last authors affiliated with these countries increased over this time span, the proportions of these authors decreased.

This trend indicates the persistence of “helicopter research” or “neo-colonial science.” Helicopter research, as the name suggests, is the tendency for researchers from the Global North to “helicopter” into less wealthy parts of the world, receive information from local collaborators, and then depart with no further consideration of the contributions6. Such research siphons away scientific prestige from collaborators and keeps inequality entrenched by preventing more resources being allocated to places where this research is taking place….

Digitization and the shift to transformative and open models of publication should also mean great improvements in publication prospects for academics worldwide, but many researchers in the world’s less economically developed countries still find themselves shut out of this avenue for publication. Open access publication remains costly, sometimes exceeding $10,000 USD per publication7. Despite these challenges, researchers in Africa are in fact proportionally bearing a greater burden of bringing open access research to publication while not receiving credit for this leading role8….”

NACOSTI: An Open Science Pioneer in Kenya – ORCID

“As open research in Kenya grows in popularity—especially in the areas of higher education and academia—ORCID adoption has increased as well. ORCID Membership in Kenya represents a diverse group of constituents, including PAMJ in publishing, Strathmore University in higher education, The African Academy of Sciences in funding, and the National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI) as a key supporter of open research.

In order to ensure quality in the science, technology, and innovation sector, every researcher must obtain a government license to conduct research in Kenya. To support this requirement, NACOSTI provides research licensing, registration of research institutions in Kenya, and accreditation of research institutions….”

Advancing Open Science in Africa – three organizations collaborate to increase education and awareness with African Higher Education institutional Leadership. | Training Centre in Communication (TCC AFRICA)Training Centre in Communication (TCC AFRICA)

“University of Dar-Es-Salaam, Association of  African  Universities (AAU), Public Library of Science (PLOS) and Training Centre in Communication (TCC  Africa)  jointly held the first in a series of blended Open Science workshops, supporting Presidents, Rectors, Vice-Chancellors, Deputy Vice Chancellors, Directors of Research and Directors of Library Services in African Universities in Creating and Implementing Open Access and Open Science policies and mandates in their respective institutions. 

The hybrid workshop, hosted by the University  of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania , targeted institutional leaders in East and Central African universities, but the resulting participation was from wider afield, with 80 participants from across the continent: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania,  Ethiopia (Eastern  Africa), Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Botswana (Southern Africa), Morocco (North Africa) and Nigeria (West Africa).

The Tanzania workshop is the first in a series of four free regional workshops advocating for the Adoption and Implementation of Open Science and Open Access practices in member institutions of the AAU, addressing barriers and challenges to this, with the  desired outcome being engagement and buy-in by the academic community on the adoption of Open Science….”

2022 Open Distance and e-Learning Virtual Conference

“One of the most exciting aspects of research on open distance and e-learning (ODeL) is that there is still so much to be discovered. Despite an exponential increase in research on ODeL worldwide and in South Africa over the past decade, researchers are still not only scratching the surface of the possibilities that beckon in this vital field, but are also grappling with the complexities of ensuring effective teaching and supporting student success and retention. There is vast scope for inquiring minds to set a research agenda in ODeL and generate findings that can help shape people’s futures for the better….”


Copyright and COVID: Libraries take stock | EIFL

“In February 2022, EIFL and IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) distributed an online survey to librarians seeking information on experiences relating to copyright and licensing of electronic resources during the pandemic. …

While temporary expanded access granted by publishers to certain electronic resources was a welcome gesture, it either didn’t last long enough or the usage conditions were too complicated to allow the content to be meaningfully integrated into teaching and research activities (48%)….

To help alleviate these situations, librarians looked to use alternative materials. For example, librarians in Malawi ramped up efforts to identify, encourage and promote use of open access materials and open educational resources. In Uganda, librarians made full use of materials in the public domain or content available under an open licence, for example, the National Curriculum Development Centre produced home-schooling materials licensed for non-commercial uses, such as teaching.

The pandemic has highlighted the benefits of open access for education, science and society and the need for a copyright ecosystem that supports online education and research. As the above examples show, current copyright rules fell short of what was needed during the pandemic….”