Low income countries have the highest percentages of open access publication: A systematic computational analysis of the biomedical literature

Abstract:  Open access publication rates have been steadily increasing over time. In spite of this growth, academics in low income settings struggle to gain access to the full canon of research literature. While the vast majority of open access repositories and funding organizations with open access policies are based in high income countries, the geographic patterns of open access publication itself are not well characterized. In this study, we developed a computational approach to better understand the topical and geographical landscape of open access publications in the biomedical research literature. Surprisingly, we found a strong negative correlation between country per capita income and the percentage of open access publication. Open access publication rates were particularly high in sub-Saharan Africa, but vastly lower in the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, and East Asia and the Pacific. These effects persisted when considering papers only bearing authors from within each region and income group. However, papers resulting from international collaborations did have a higher percentage of OA than single-country papers, and inter-regional collaboration increased OA publication for all world regions. There was no clear relationship between the number of open access policies in a region and the percentage of open access publications in that region. To understand the distribution of open access across topics of biomedical research, we examined keywords that were most enriched and depleted in open access papers. Keywords related to genomics, computational biology, animal models, and infectious disease were enriched in open access publications, while keywords related to the environment, nursing, and surgery were depleted in open access publications. This work identifies geographic regions and fields of research that could be priority areas for open access advocacy. The finding that open access publication rates are highest in sub-Saharan Africa and low income countries suggests that factors other than open access policy strongly influence authors’ decisions to make their work openly accessible. The high proportion of OA resulting from international collaborations indicates yet another benefit of collaborative research. Certain applied fields of medical research, notably nursing, surgery, and environmental fields, appear to have a greater proportion of fee-for-access publications, which presumably creates barriers that prevent researchers and practitioners in low income settings from accessing the literature in those fields.

Elsevier to acquire Parity Computing Inc., a company applying artificial intelligence to some of the most difficult disambiguation challenges in science, technology and medicine

“Elsevier, a global information analytics business specializing in science and health, today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Parity Computing Inc. (“Parity”), a California-based business that employs artificial intelligence to provide high-accuracy entity resolution, profiling and recommendations for STM content and applications in the world of research.

Parity provides disambiguation technology for Elsevier’s abstract and indexing databases that help researchers, universities, national bodies and other stakeholders improve decision-making and answer critical questions. Resolving ambiguities in entities and relationships that appear in publications – such as author and institution names, and citations and attributions for articles, grants, and patents – lays the foundation for the analytics and decision support capabilities of Scopus….”


“From November 2018 – April 2019, LIBSENSE conducted workshops in each of the three major regions in Africa bringing the library and NREN communities together to define a shared agenda for progressing open science and open access in these regions. Each workshop, which contributed to priority setting in each region, also built upon the outcomes of preceding discussions.

To date, there have already been several concrete outcomes of the LIBSENSE initiative, including:

Terms of Reference for NREN-Library collaboration in African countries
Metadata guidelines for repositories

Plans for a regional repository hosting service

National and institutional policy templates

LIBSENSE will continue to assist countries and regions in Africa to undertake new activities and act as a forum for information exchange across the continent and amongst the different stakeholder communities….”

Automatic Permissions Checker

“These tools aim to make permission checking faster, easier, and clearer so that you can unlock the power of mediated deposit and more easily manage your repository. In this prototype, powered by open, community-editable, machine-readable data, we allow librarians to do permission checking on 100s of articles or journals in seconds and, for each one, to receive embargos, completed deposit statements, metadata, open access availability, and more. We cover 20,000 journals, 250 publishers, 80 university policies, several funders, and even authors’ negotiated contracts or waivers. We hope to get your feedback as we move from prototypes, to full APIs and tools for authors….”

Author Guidelines – Health and Human Rights Journal

“Health and Human Rights Journal? does not charge authors article processing fees unless authors can utilize an institutional open access publishing grant. Many institutions and research facilities have funding grants available to support publication in open access journals—some are listed in this? OA Directory. If authors cannot access OA grants, article processing fees are waived by HHR. …”

Shifting power centres in scholarly communications – The One Day Conference 2019 | UKSG

“A joint UKSG/ALPSP One Day Conference: The pace of change in our sector has accelerated – and that change has also become more wide-reaching. We are moving beyond the “fall out” from the digital revolution – and its implications for user behaviours, customer expectations, product formats and business models – into a much bigger shift, where established roles and accepted models are being questioned. Boundaries are blurring, with funders and universities taking greater ownership of how research is communicated, and publishers and libraries exploring new areas in which they can provide services and support. Where does all of this change leave researchers – are they already realising new benefits, or are they suffering from having one foot in the old world and one in the new? What will happen next, and how should scholarly publishers and librarians prepare?…”

Perceptions of Educational Leadership Faculty Regarding Open Access Publishing | Richardson | International Journal of Education Policy and Leadership

Abstract:  There is a dearth of research on the perceptions of faculty members in educational leadership regarding open access publications. This reality may exist because of a lack of funding for educational leadership research, financial obstacles, tenure demands, or reputation concerns. It may be that there are simply fewer established open access publishers with reputable impact factors to encourage publication by members in the field. The current study seeks to answer the following question: “What are the perceptions of educational leadership faculty members in UCEA about open access publishing?” The results are based on responses from 180 faculty members in the field of educational leadership.

Understanding Open Access Data Using Visuals: Integrating Prospective Studies of Children’s Responses to Natural Disasters | SpringerLink

Abstract:  Background

As access to open data is increasing, researchers gain the opportunity to build integrated datasets and to conduct more powerful statistical analyses. However, using open access data presents challenges for researchers in understanding the data. Visuals allow researchers to address these challenges by facilitating a greater understanding of the information available.


This paper illustrates how visuals can address the challenges that researchers face when using open access data, such as: (1) becoming familiar with the data, (2) identifying patterns and trends within the data, and (3) determining how to integrate data from multiple studies.


This paper uses data from an integrative data analysis study that combined data from prospective studies of children’s responses to four natural disasters: Hurricane Andrew, Hurricane Charley, Hurricane Katrina, and Hurricane Ike. The integrated dataset assessed hurricane exposure, posttraumatic stress symptoms, anxiety, social support, and life events among 1707 participants (53.61% female). The children’s ages ranged from 7 to 16 years (M?=?9.61, SD?=?1.60).


Visuals serve as an effective method for understanding new and unfamiliar datasets.


In response to the growth of open access data, researchers must develop the skills necessary to create informative visuals. Most research-based graduate programs do not require programming-based courses for graduation. More opportunities for training in programming languages need to be offered so that future researchers are better prepared to understand new data. This paper discusses implications of current graduate course requirements and standard journal practices on how researchers visualize data.

A Closer Look at Open Educational Resources | Cult of Pedagogy

“In our podcast interview, which you can listen to above, Karen and I talk about how OERs have gotten really, really good over the last few years, what some new platforms are doing to solve the quality problem, and where teachers can go to find outstanding materials—from single-use resources to full-year curricula—that are 100% free….”

SpringerNature and Macmillan: one company, two directions: open access and IP maximization | Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir les savoirs communs

“SpringerNature, owner of Springer Open, Nature, and BioMedCentral, positions itself as a leader in the open access movement. However, Springer, Nature, and BMC are only 3 of the brands of the parent company, SpringerNature Group. The purpose of this post is to raise awareness about the dual approach of the parent company with respect to copyright and intellectual property – positioning itself as both a leader in open access and a leader in IP maximization, and to encourage those with a sincere interest in the goal of open access to learn about, and question, organizations with an interest in serving this area….”

Why we publish where we do: Faculty publishing values and their relationship to review, promotion and tenure expectations | bioRxiv

Abstract:  Using an online survey of academics at 55 randomly selected institutions across the US and Canada, we explore priorities for publishing decisions and their perceived importance within review, promotion, and tenure (RPT). We find that respondents most value journal readership, while they believe their peers most value prestige and related metrics such as impact factor when submitting their work for publication. Respondents indicated that total number of publications, number of publications per year, and journal name recognition were the most valued factors in RPT. Older and tenured respondents (most likely to serve on RPT committees) were less likely to value journal prestige and metrics for publishing, while untenured respondents were more likely to value these factors. These results suggest disconnects between what academics value versus what they think their peers value, and between the importance of journal prestige and metrics for tenured versus untenured faculty in publishing and RPT perceptions.

MIT Libraries Launches Center for Research in Equitable and Open Scholarship | Library Journal

“When the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Libraries issued the final report on their Grand Challenges Summit in January, one of the key findings was the need for libraries and archives to play the role of advocates and collaborators on research into open, equitable, and sustainable knowledge systems. At the time, director Chris Bourg referred to a MIT Libraries–based research initiative in the works that would use the Grand Challenges Summit white paper’s call to action as a jumping-off point.

At the end of June, MIT Libraries launched that initiative, the Center for Research on Equitable and Open Scholarship (CREOS), which will conduct and consolidate “collaborative evidence-based research about the best ways disparate communities can participate in scholarship with minimal bias or barriers.” In addition to the team conducting and supporting this research—founding director Bourg; director of research Micah Altman, deputy director Sue Kriegsman, and administrative assistant Kelly Hopkins—the participants will comprise a collaboration of institutional partnerships, faculty, visiting researchers, those involved in scholarly communication, and investors….”

The open access mandate: Be careful what you wish for – Bruno Agustini, Michael Berk,

“One of the main concerns regarding a fully open-access model is the quality of open-access journals. The Directory of Open Access Journals now lists 13,505 journals, with numbers increasing fast. While some are undoubtedly excellent, a massive majority and growing number are anything but.”