‘Transformative’ open access publishing deals are only entrenching commercial power | Times Higher Education (THE)

“Plan S has already been credited with sparking something of a revolution in journal publishing. Major publishers are beginning – slowly and reluctantly in some cases – to replace their traditional “big deals” with what are being called “transformative deals”. Often negotiated with national consortia of libraries and research institutes, these combine access to subscription journals with an ability to publish open access without any additional charge.

However, I believe that we should think a lot harder before celebrating a tipping point.

The open access movement has always been intimately bound up with a critique of the whole concept of handing over billions of pounds of public money to wildly profitableprivate companies in exchange for publishing papers that are written, reviewed and edited by academics. Yet the current “transformative” deals do precious little to drive down margins that are often in excess of 35 per cent….

Instead of recklessly funnelling billions of taxpayers’ money into for-profit entities, funding bodies and research institutes could easily support these more sustainable ventures instead. This is already happening in some parts of the world, with initiatives such as Redalyc and SciELO in Latin America demonstrating leadership….

Every time we sign one of these so-called transformative contracts, which often contain multi-year lock-ins, we lose the opportunity to create something more just, sustainable, efficient and effective. We actively work against efforts to return control of publishing to the academic community. It is time to take a step back and to think again about what we really want.”

Research outputs find a home at IndiaRxiv – IndiaRxiv

“Open Access India partners with the Center for Open Science to launch IndiaRxiv on the eve of India’s 73rd Independence Day as the country joins the global march for open science.

Open Access India and the Center for Open Science have collaborated to launch IndiaRxiv, India’s first preprint service. IndiaRxiv began as a vision for a single open platform that could provide free access to all publicly-funded research outputs (publications) from India and to provide Indian scholars with a way to share their scholarly outputs. Today, on the eve of India’s 73rd Independence Day, we are happy to introduce IndiaRxiv. Beginning 15th August, 2019, the preprint service will be open to all researchers and scholars of India and others who are working on issues related to India.

IndiaRxiv is being  launched not only for scholars to share their articles and read the work published by their peers, but also to provide public access to the latest research, allowing authors to gather feedback and ideas and build upon existing work….”

Open access and social justice driving African development

“The open access movement is being hailed in Africa as one of many solutions that can contribute to its development, as it opens access to scholarly literature which is critical for development. To fast track a positive development trajectory, Africa needs access to scholarly content to generate new knowledge, which provides solutions, at an exponential rate, to local challenges. Hence, there is growing reliance on freely accessible scholarly content, as well as free and open channels for the dissemination of scholarly information generated from the global south. Driving these free access and open dissemination channels is the social justice principle that researched and published solutions need to be equitably shared. As much as there is strong advocacy for free access, there has to be equal support for inclusive participation by global south researchers in knowledge creation and the free and equitable dissemination of this knowledge.

The open access movement must embrace the social justice elements embedded in the movement and robustly advance the liberation of marginalised voices. These “new voices [need] to find their way into disciplinary conversations, reach new audiences, both academic and public, and impact existing and emerging fields of scholarship and practice in a transformative way” (Roh 2016: 83). Open access services must become mainstream for academic and research institutions in Africa as open access is one of the most significant conduits for inclusive and free access to scholarship for the marginalised and has the mandate and potential to strongly promote unhindered participation in knowledge production.

This conference must challenge the open access movement and its advocates with their social justice principles to usher in equity and equal opportunity and to open the doors for full participation of new African voices in the scholarly communication landscape. There has to be a mind-set shift away from the assumption that the global south will remain ignorant and underdeveloped until it has access to the global north’s knowledge. The creation and dissemination of global south research will convert the one directional flow of information to a facilitated process of equitable knowledge exchange.”

Center for Open Science and IndiaRxiv Launch Branded Preprint Service

“Open Access India and the Center for Open Science have collaborated to launch IndiaRxiv, India’s first preprint service. IndiaRxiv began as a vision for a single open platform that could provide free access to all publicly-funded research outputs (publications) from India and to provide Indian scholars with a way to share their scholarly outputs. Today, on the eve of India’s 73rd Independence Day, we are happy to introduce IndiaRxiv. Beginning August 15, 2019, the preprint service will be open to all researchers and scholars of India and others working on research related to India….”

AmeliCA before Plan S – The Latin American Initiative to develop a cooperative, non-commercial, academic led, system of scholarly communication | Impact of Social Sciences

“Open access is often discussed as a process of flipping the existing closed subscription based model of scholarly communication to an open one. However, in Latin America an open access ecosystem for scholarly publishing has been in place for over a decade. In this post, Eduardo Aguado-López and Arianna Becerril-Garcia discuss open access developments in Latin America and the AmeliCA initiative to develop a cooperative infrastructure for scientific communication. They also reflect on how the recent proposals put forward by cOAlition S to foster open access publication in the Global North, could potentially negatively impact open access efforts in Latin America. …”

OpenCon 2019 Latam

From Google’s English: “OpenCon is the international conference on open access to scientific and academic knowledge, open education and open data, especially aimed at students and those who are in their first years of academic professional career. It is a contribution to forming the leaders of the future on these issues.


OpenCon is organized by Right to Research Coalition , SPARC ( The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition ) and a Committee composed of students and young academic professionals from various parts of the world. In the 2014 and 2016 editions the conference was held in Washington DC, in 2015 in Brussels, in 2017 in Berlin and in 2018 in Toronto.

In addition, OpenCon supports the realization of satellite events organized by the participants themselves. The satellite events have taken place in 25 countries and they discuss education content, access and open data globally, as well as local presentations. In the recent Toronto OpenCon 2018, participants from the Latin American region who participated in the conference chose Colombia to hold OpenCon LatAm 2019 , because an active community has been identified in the country, with relevant actors, which promote and promote Open ecosystems and elements of open science….”

Making Academia an Open Book? Bibliodiversity and Open Access Publishing | Global Policy Journal

“Journals vary widely in terms of their size and status within their respective disciplines; Prestigious, high impact ones tend to receive higher levels of citation from academics across the world, while others have smaller readerships and have lower impact factors.They can be accessed via commercial or non-commercial journal-hosting sites, with some combining both methods. Large platforms, who index and provide search abilities for journals and the work published in them, tend to be commercial sites. Based within the Global North, these include well-known brands such as Elsevierand SAGE that charge expensive subscription fees to universities in order for their staff and students to access these journals. This is in contrast to non-commercial sites such as AJOL in South Africa, which is a fully ‘open source’ platform that publishes scientific research without using a paywall.

However, the persistence of digital divides mean that not all Higher Education Institutions, nor their staff or students, can access these journals. Many have limited financial resources and technical  infrastructures (such as computers or an internet connection), while others may not have English (the main language of these journals) as their language of instruction.

This results in the production and distribution of academic knowledge being dominated by the Global North. Those without access are often left behind, exacerbating existing digital divides in the educational sector.

Although academics from poorer countries cannot always access this information, they still have important contributions to make to their respective disciplines. Consequently, academia itself has joined the calls for greater ‘open access’ to research in order to address this divide.

The concept of bibliodiversity hails from Latin America and refers to the need for a culturally diverse and balanced range of published materials for generating knowledge. It is said to be threatened when there is an undue focus (or ‘overproduction’) on a limited number of publications, which are often commercial interests. With journals being increasingly accessed online, advocates suggest that publishing platforms should work collaboratively, increasing access to knowledge. Hence, open source platforms like AJOL have been launched with the intention of promoting these open forms of knowledge, albeit that many have a limited budget….”

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.


“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….”