Building Structural Equity in Open Access | blog

“In celebration of International Open Access Week, arXiv will host a free panel discussion, Thirty Years of Open Access: Challenges and Opportunities for Building Structural Equity. This hybrid virtual and in-person event will feature open access leaders from arXiv, AfricArXiv, and UCLA. We’ll discuss how this movement has grown and evolved — and look ahead at the next 30 years to ask: what opportunities can we seize to ensure that the open access movement continues to equalize and democratize access to research? What challenges must we overcome to truly serve all researchers around the world?…”

Guest Post – Transforming the Transformative Agreement – The Scholarly Kitchen

“At Cambridge University Press, we’ve been engaged in a major expansion of our TAs with US institutions. Agreements with 130 institutions came into effect this year with a diverse mix of organizations, including state university systems, liberal arts colleges, and major research universities. These agreements follow the “Read and Publish” model (R&P) we kicked off in the US with the University of California system; repurposing institutions’ existing subscription spend to open up access to important scholarly content and to extend the reach of their researchers’ work. The success this year in the US now gives us real scale — we have over 100 TAs covering 1000 institutes in 30 countries — and a critical mass of customer, author, and stakeholder feedback has given us a much better sense of what we will need to prioritize moving forward.

Yet even as we’ve actively sought to build momentum for change through R&P arrangements, we know that the evolution of TAs is essential to a long-term transition. While there are still many challenges we must solve for collectively, we are focusing our external engagement on four main areas.

Funder mandates should not be the only drivers of change….

Increased scale must come with better use of resources….

Equity and diversity must be supported in new ways….

Open is a means, not an end….”

Webinar | Coalition for Diversity and Inclusion in Scholarly Communications | SSP Society for Scholarly Publishing

“Open access and open science are attempts to ensure knowledge is as widely accessible as possible. More and more publishers are launching open access journals and embracing open science principles. Questions remain, however, as to whether open access and open science are currently accessible to all. The most visible notions of open access and open science are primarily founded in—and have perpetuated—the values and standards established by organizations, institutions, and funders in Western Europe and North America. Open access and open science can therefore continue to exclude the very researchers that these models are supposed to benefit. For example, business models like article processing charges do not account for unequal access to funding. Other issues not specific to open access are exclusionary English-language style standards and unconscious bias in the peer review process.

In this webinar, we will explore how models of openness have not always resolved, and in some instances may have created, inequitable barriers for some researchers. We will unpack the impact of those barriers on researchers and propose some ways to overcome them.”

Charting a path in Open Science towards diversity, equity, and inclusion

“Our definition of Open is one that invites all researchers to contribute, learn from, and build on scientific discoveries, no matter where you are in the world.

Listen to our Co-Editors-in-Chief’s discuss diversity, equity and inclusion in Open Science from the field of Global Public Health…”

Open Access Week: Opening Knowledge Equitably in an Inequitable System, by Natalia Norori

“The University Libraries present an online talk by Natalia Norori, a global health professional, in celebration of Open Access Week. Norori will speak on the topic, “Opening Knowledge Equitably in an Inequitable System.” In order to open knowledge equitably, open research should enable people from all backgrounds to learn about and contribute to topics important to them and their communities. However, this is not always the case. In this talk, we will reflect on the challenges faced by early career researchers who are traditionally excluded from research, including cultural, ideological, and practical barriers. Open research could play a crucial role in building structural equity, but to do so, it should put the needs of marginalized communities and minority groups at its core. This space will provide an opportunity to discuss how opening research inclusively can help build better research practices, and move us towards a fair and equitable system.”

A Frankfurt Masterclass: PLOS, CCC, and How Open Is Open Access?

“The program looks at the nonprofit open-access publisher  Public Library of Science, better known in the acronym-laden world of scholarly publishing as PLOS.

As the program’s promotional descriptive material puts it, the center of PLOS’ approach is its “community action publishing” model, called CAP, which “relies on a flexible, sophisticated workflow that enables authors to publish open access easily, with or without funding under a formal PLOS publishing agreement.” …

“We really need to think about the missing voices,” says [Niamh O’Connor]. “Research is a global, collaborative enterprise. And we really need, as we transition to an open science future, to keep asking ourselves, open for whom? Because openness in itself, while valuable, doesn’t tackle all of the inequality in scholarly communications. It doesn’t increase inclusion, and the need for universal and equitable access to scientific knowledge and education is super-important.” …”

Equitable data sharing in epidemics and pandemics | BMC Medical Ethics | Full Text

Abstract:  Background

Rapid data sharing can maximize the utility of data. In epidemics and pandemics like Zika, Ebola, and COVID-19, the case for such practices seems especially urgent and warranted. Yet rapidly sharing data widely has previously generated significant concerns related to equity. The continued lack of understanding and guidance on equitable data sharing raises the following questions: Should data sharing in epidemics and pandemics primarily advance utility, or should it advance equity as well? If so, what norms comprise equitable data sharing in epidemics and pandemics? Do these norms address the equity-related concerns raised by researchers, data providers, and other stakeholders? What tensions must be balanced between equity and other values?


To explore these questions, we undertook a systematic scoping review of the literature on data sharing in epidemics and pandemics and thematically analyzed identified literature for its discussion of ethical values, norms, concerns, and tensions, with a particular (but not exclusive) emphasis on equity. We wanted to both understand how equity in data sharing is being conceptualized and draw out other important values and norms for data sharing in epidemics and pandemics.


We found that values of utility, equity, solidarity, and reciprocity were described, and we report their associated norms, including researcher recognition; rapid, real-time sharing; capacity development; and fair benefits to data generators, data providers, and source countries. The value of utility and its associated norms were discussed substantially more than others. Tensions between utility norms (e.g., rapid, real-time sharing) and equity norms (e.g., researcher recognition, equitable access) were raised.


This study found support for equity being advanced by data sharing in epidemics and pandemics. However, norms for equitable data sharing in epidemics and pandemics require further development, particularly in relation to power sharing and participatory approaches prioritizing inclusion. Addressing structural inequities in the wider global health landscape is also needed to achieve equitable data sharing in epidemics and pandemics.

Lessons from the pandemic: Embrace ‘open science,’ confront exclusion of investigators

“Will this trend to freely disseminate research papers prior to peer review and their acceptance by journals be sustained after the pandemic, when the sense of urgency recedes? I certainly hope so. This would be a lasting, beneficial consequence of the pandemic. By reducing the power of the journals to hold research hostage through long and often unnecessarily contentious peer review, preprints not only speed up the process but also democratize science for some in other parts the world who do not have access to expensive journal subscriptions.”

Call for Proposals: Library Publishing Forum 2022 | deadline November 15, 2021

“The Library Publishing Coalition (LPC) is now accepting proposals for the 2022 Library Publishing Forum! After the success of our Virtual Forums in 2020 and 2021, we are thrilled to offer both in-person and online options this year, with a virtual preconference the week of May 16, 2022, followed by the in-person Library Publishing Forum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 25–26, 2022.

Proposal submissions are welcome from LPC members and nonmembers, including library employees, university press employees, scholars, students, and other scholarly communications and publishing professionals. We seek proposals from people who will help us expand the diversity of perspectives we hear from at the Library Publishing Forum, especially from marginalized identities. We welcome proposals from first-time presenters and representatives of small and emerging publishing programs. Please view the Call for Proposals ( for detailed information about the Forum and the different formats of proposed sessions. The submission deadline is November 15, 2021.”

Open Access Publishing under Plan S: When Good Intentions Remain Eurocentric

“cOAlition S has not yet openly and thoroughly discussed how Plan S fits in the current unequal knowledge production system and what its implications will be for existing inequalities among researchers from different nations, economic classes, career stages, or other determinants that currently affect access to funding and publishing opportunities….

the potential of implementing its principles relies largely on the availability of research funding and regional funders’ willingness and ability to cover OA publishing costs….

A second major issue is economic inequalities across countries, which largely pre-determine the ability of researchers to publish in high-impact, rigorous journals, their access to funding opportunities and the capacity of their academic institutions to cover OA publishing costs…. ”

Analysis: The lack of diversity in climate-science research – Carbon Brief

“A recent analysis entitled “The Reuters Hot List” ranked the 1,000 “most influential” climate scientists – largely based on their publication record and social media engagement. Scientists from the global south are vastly under-represented in the list, with, for example, only five African scientists included. Meanwhile, only 122 of the 1,000 authors are female.

Biases in authorship make it likely that the existing bank of knowledge around climate change and its impacts is skewed towards the interests of male authors from the global north. This can create blind spots around the needs of some of the most vulnerable people to climate change, particularly women and communities in the global south.

Carbon Brief has analysed the gender and “country of affiliation” of the authors of 100 highly cited climate science papers from the past five years – mapped below – to reveal geographic and gender biases….

Conducting scientific research is expensive – and, arguably, the most obvious issue with running climate studies from countries in the global south is the lack of funding. While the US dedicates more than 2.5% of its annual GDP to “research and development”, no country in sub-saharan Africa – even the comparably rich South Africa – spends more than 1%. …

The inaccessibility of scientific literature is also a problem for publishing. “One of the biggest issues is that people can’t access literature that they can cite,” Schipper tells Carbon Brief. …

[Quoting Marton Demeter:] ‘If open access in journals with article processing charges (APCs) become the mainstream way of publication, then global-south scholars’ chances to publish in leading journals will be even lower than today, as they wont be able to pay the high APCs – which will be easily paid by researchers working at sourceful western universities or researchers that are funded by international grants.’ ”


Embracing Culturally Responsive and Sustaining Instructional Materials

“Choosing instructional materials wisely is one of the most important jobs education leaders and teachers have, perhaps now more than ever. Unfinished academic instruction resulting from the COVID-19 crisis demands better ways to reignite student engagement and accelerate learning. At the same time, the disparate impact of the pandemic on students of color and growing efforts to quash discussions about systemic racism in schools reveals an urgent need to approach this work through a racial equity lens. This report argues that embracing high-quality instructional materials that are both rigorous and relevant is crucial to addressing these priorities.”

Guest post: Overcoming the challenges of open access books – part 1/2

“In part one of this two-part series, we’ll explore some of the challenges around policies and funding for OA books that were highlighted by authors and editors who were kind enough to participate in interviews about their experiences with OA publishing.

Each of the authors and editors I interviewed named wider dissemination and a more equitable research ecosystem as the main benefits of OA publishing. But they also highlighted a number of challenges which we will delve into below….”

Risky business: COVAX and the financialization of global vaccine equity | Globalization and Health | Full Text

Abstract:  Background

During the first year and a half of the COVID-19 pandemic, COVAX has been the world’s most prominent effort to ensure equitable access to SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. Launched as part of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (Act-A) in June 2020, COVAX suggested to serve as a vaccine buyers’ and distribution club for countries around the world. It also aimed to support the pharmaceutical industry in speeding up and broadening vaccine development. While COVAX has recently come under critique for failing to bring about global vaccine equity, influential politicians and public health advocates insist that future iterations of it will improve pandemic preparedness. So far COVAX’s role in the ongoing financialization of global health, i.e. in the rise of financial concepts, motives, practices and institutions has not been analyzed.


This article describes and critically assesses COVAX’s financial logics, i.e. the concepts, arguments and financing flows on which COVAX relies. It is based on a review of over 109 COVAX related reports, ten in-depth interviews with global health experts working either in or with COVAX, as well as participant observation in 18 webinars and online meetings concerned with global pandemic financing, between September 2020 and August 2021.


The article finds that COVAX expands the scale and scope of financial instruments in global health governance, and that this is done by conflating different understandings of risk. Specifically, COVAX conflates public health risk and corporate financial risk, leading it to privilege concerns of pharmaceutical companies over those of most participating countries – especially low and lower-middle income countries (LICs and LMICs). COVAX thus drives the financialization of global health and ends up constituting a risk itself – that of perpetuating the downsides of financialization (e.g. heightened inequality, secrecy, complexity in governance, an ineffective and slow use of aid), whilst insufficiently realising its potential benefits (pandemic risk reduction, increased public access to emergency funding, indirect price control over essential goods and services).


Future iterations of vaccine buyers’ and distribution clubs as well as public vaccine development efforts should work towards reducing all aspects of public health risk rather than privileging its corporate financial aspects. This will include reassessing the interplay of aid and corporate subsidies in global health.


“Recognising the importance of a healthy and diverse OA market, in early 2021, OASPA sought to develop a better understanding of ‘the open access market’. It was understood that this needed to include an assessment of the roles of different actors in shaping the market and an acknowledgement that open access publishing is not always delivered through market mechanisms. The work aimed to identify influential factors and drivers to bring about positive change in this area.

Research Consulting was commissioned to assist in this work, in collaboration with a small steering group of OASPA members. An Issue Brief was developed to review the current state of the open access market and in July 2021 a range of stakeholder representatives were engaged via two workshops.

This report acts as a companion document to the Issue Brief, and summarises the key points discussed during the stakeholder workshops. To better contextualise the issues discussed in this report it is recommended that the Issue Brief is read first. Whilst there were two separate workshops, this report presents a combined view from all participants. Anonymised quotes from participants are included throughout this report to illustrate the points discussed….”