A Reflection about Equity in Open Access from the Consorcio Colombia | Commonplace, Series 1.3: Global Transition to Open

To understand how Open Access is considered in Colombia—and in general in Latin America—we have to distinguish between 1) the Green Open Access initiatives; and 2) the Open Access discussions which are derived from APCs and TAs in the gold and hybrid open access routes.

Colombia is a Latin American country considered as one of the middle income countries of the Global South (World Bank, 2021). Since 2017 almost 60 higher education institutions and universities started a collective negotiation of the “big deals” with 5 publishers: Elsevier, Springer, Oxford University Press, Taylor & Francis and SAGE. This collective negotiation was part of a national strategy that was seeking to overcome the national agreement in Colombia with only one publisher: Elsevier. These 60 institutions formed the Consorcio Colombia group with the logistical operation of Consortia S.A.S and the support of the Colombian Association of Universities (ASCUN), the Ministry of Education (MEN) and the Ministry of Science and Technology (Minciencias), and made a first general negotiation with three principal goals: (i) have a diversification of academic publishers in Colombia, (ii) get discounts and improve equity in access to academic production, especially for smaller academic institutions, and (iii) create a participation space to analyze, discuss and think about new scenarios in scholarly publishing and communication.

The institutions which belong to the Consorcio Colombia belong to all regions of our country and are represented by library directors, vice presidents for academic or vice presidents for research. All the members have an official designation from their academic institutions and the group is characterized by a plural representation that has permitted an important level of engagement and organization. The representation is decided in a general council considering the different types of institutions (universities and research centers) and country regions. A study carried out by the same members of the Consortium allowed the classification of the institutions into 4 groups, according to their size and maturity in research. Each group participates in the Consortium with differentiated prices and scopes. ( Consorcio Colombia, 2021). The Consorcio Colombia has not only functions of negotiation but have also formed 11 commissions with academic and communicative purposes.