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….”