“Even the push towards openness and transparency in science publishing — which many have argued is a way to foster greater integrity in research — has created more barriers for investigators in low-resource environments.
Sharing data, for example, requires having enough institutional infrastructure and resources to first curate, manage, store and (in the case of data relating to people) encrypt the data — and to deal with requests to access them. Also, the pressure placed on researchers of LMICs by high-income-country funders to share their data as quickly as possible frequently relegates them to the role of data collectors for better-resourced teams. With enough time, all sorts of locally relevant questions that were not part of the original project could be investigated by local researchers. But, well-resourced investigators in high-income countries — who were not part of the original project — are often better placed to conduct secondary analyses.
Unforeseen difficulties are arising around publishing, too. Currently, the costs to publish an article in gold open-access journals (which typically range from US$500–$3,000) are prohibitive for most researchers and institutions in LMICs. The University of Cape Town, for example, which produces around 3,300 articles each year, has an annual budget of $180,000 for article-processing costs. This covers only about 120 articles per year.
Because of this, researchers in these countries frequently publish their papers in subscription-based journals. But scientists working in similar contexts can’t access such journals because the libraries in their institutions are unable to finance subscriptions to a wide range of journals. All this makes it even harder for researchers to build on locally relevant science….”