The North is Drawing the South Closer, But, This is Not the Whole Picture of Geographical Inclusion – The Scholarly Kitchen

“The above examples show how the Global North (which is currently leading the scholarly publishing industry) is creating an enabling environment so that the South (which presently is lagging behind in academic publishing) could be a more effective part of the global scholarly system. In almost all cases, the inclusion is achieved by attracting individuals from the South, as authors or editorial board members of the Northern journals, as members of societies’ committees, or as presenters or panelists at global conferences or webinars. But this is not the whole picture of geographical inclusion. I see three other dimensions within it.

First, to achieve the geographical inclusion outlined above, publishers and societies are investing in their DEI strategies, undertaking DEI promotion projects, allocating funds and human resources (e.g., Elsevier supporting Research4Life), and sacrificing profits (e.g., by waiving APCs), for example. But how do such investments reach beyond the participating individuals from the South? Are these individuals translating their acquired skills, experiences, and exposures in their home countries? Are they making any impact there? How do we determine if such impacts are being made?…”

In Search of Equity and Justice: Reimagining Scholarly Communication – The Scholarly Kitchen

“While open access is a critical piece of the equity puzzle in scholarly communication, there’s a much deeper agenda at play here. PLOS has from the outset been focused on designing broad-scale systemic change. More recently, we have been clear about the limit and barriers of the APC model and have begun to pilot alternatives, including our new Community Action Publishing model. But we have largely left to one side any deep engagement with our role (individually and organizationally) in perpetuating inequity. Like far too many, we’d assumed that passive support was enough. Understanding what it means to be “anti-racist” is now the cornerstone of PLOS’ DEI work and has supported increased clarity around our long-term strategic direction….

There are many barriers to equitable knowledge making and distribution – one of which is the APC model. As I’ve argued before, the current push towards Gold OA via so-called “transformative” agreements risks hardwiring the exclusion of many researchers, especially in the Global South. Far from being “transformative”, these deals run the risk of locking in the high cost of subscriptions into an open future and of reinforcing the market dominance of the biggest players as subscription funds simply flow in full to new deal models, further entrenching existing inequalities….”