Justice and Bioethics: Who Should Finance Academic Publishing?: The American Journal of Bioethics: Vol 17, No 10

“We applaud the authors of this article (Chattopadhyay et al. 2017 Berger E. 2017) for tackling an important and often neglected topic in bioethics: the challenges that our underresourced colleagues face in conducting research and contributing to the literature in bioethics. Indeed, one of us (U.S.) has spent a good deal of his career attempting to draw attention to this problem and ameliorate it.

Though we are sympathetic to the concerns raised in their article there are several issues that have not been adequately addressed. The first is to be sensitive to an important distinction, namely, that between low-income and middle-income countries as defined by the Human Development Index. Low-income countries’ academic institutions have, as Chattopadhyay and colleagues point out, free access to all major bioethics journals via HINARI. There might be bureaucratic hoops and loops libraries jump through, but it can be done, provided there is sufficient interest in those countries in achieving access.

The authors point out some of the other obstacles faced by scholars in these countries, such as unreliable access to electricity or the Internet. One could add violence and gender inequality in many of these countries as serious challenges to many researchers or potential scholars. Obviously, the fundamental lack of infrastructure to support researchers in these countries is lamentable. Presumably the authors recognize that these issues are far outside the scope of the role or ability of academic journals (much as we wish we had the power to intervene on these issues).

Then there are countries such as India, Brazil, Mexico, and China that do not enjoy free access to academic journal content via HINARI. This is potentially an obstacle to access for scholars in these countries. These are countries that are not devastatingly impoverished. Parts of China have a higher gross domestic product (GDP) than certain parts of the United States. …”

A Question of Social Justice: How Policies of Profit Negate Engagement of Developing World Bioethicists and Undermine Global Bioethics: The American Journal of Bioethics: Vol 17, No 10

Abstract:  We identify the ways the policies of leading international bioethics journals limit the participation of researchers working in the resource-constrained settings of low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) in the development of the field of bioethics. Lack of access to essential scholarly resources makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for many LMIC bioethicists to learn from, meaningfully engage in, and further contribute to the global bioethics discourse. Underrepresentation of LMIC perspectives in leading journals sustains the hegemony of Western bioethics, limits the presentation of diverse moral visions of life, health, and medicine, and undermines aspirations to create a truly “global” bioethics. Limited attention to this problem indicates a lack of empathy and moral imagination on the part of bioethicists in high-income countries, raises questions about the ethics of bioethics, and highlights the urgent need to find ways to remedy this social injustice.

A Call for Open Access and Empathy Is Not Enough: Hands on Are Needed!: The American Journal of Bioethics: Vol 17, No 10

Abstract:  Chattopadhyay and colleagues (2017) call for inclusive access to bioethics journals and global participation in the bioethics discourse. They argue that the understanding of global bioethics may be misleading. If only people from one (small) part of the world publish in bioethics journals, global bioethics is not representative. We absolutely support their call to develop the field of bioethics by reducing journal payment-barriers and emphasizing empirical ethics, analysis, and theoretical perspectives from low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). But, based on our experiences from research, teaching, and capacity building in bioethics in Ethiopia, we find that access alone has less impact when not reinforced by close collaborations between high- and low-income colleagues and essential capacity building in bioethics among students, clinicians, and academic staff in the LMIC.

India’s Education Ministry says ‘no marks’ for papers published in APC journals

Summary by Subbiah Arunachalam:

“Now the [Indian] Ministry of Human Resource Department has come up with a commendable move: From now on papers published by paying article processing charges will not be considered for faculty promotion in the National Institutes of Technology (Gazette of India, 24 July 2017).”  

Open access research | Revista Pesquisa Fapesp

“Brazil stands out on the international landscape when it comes to open access, a movement launched in the early 2000s with the aim of making scientific output freely available online. According to data compiled by Spanish research group Scimago, 33.5% of the Brazilian articles indexed in the Scopus database in 2016 were published in journals whose content is free to read online as soon as it is published, under a model known as the “golden road.” This is the largest proportion among the 15 nations with the highest volume of scientific output recorded on Scopus. Brazil is also top of the list of nations with the highest number of open access scientific journals (see charts).”


“In Latin America, the publications have always been Open Accessed under a “free” model – that subsists with the financial encouragement from the Governments – but it needs to be noted that Latin America contributes with the 4.9% of the global scientific production, this means that Latin America and the Caribbean are a different region from other “emergent markets”. …We agree that an OA expansion policy, through the payment of APC fees, is impossible to undertake from a financial point of view for the participant countries….”

Principles and practice in open science: Addressing power and inequality through “situated openness” | OCSDNET

“OCSDNet’s Open and Collaborative Science Manifesto proposes a set of seven values and principles for a more inclusive and open science in development; Addressing the role of power and inequality in knowledge production is a key principle; Practicing “situated openness” can help to address the ways in which history, context, power and inequality condition scientific research; ‘Community-researcher contracts’ are a tool that can enable local communities, in particular, indigenous peoples, to negotiate with researchers about their participation in research processes and how their knowledge may (or may not) be accessed and shared.”

Seeding Labs

“Instrumental Access, Seeding Labs’ flagship program, empowers scientists in developing countries. It gives them the resources they need to pursue life-changing research and teach the next generation.

To begin, we identify a pipeline of scientific talent. Then we rigorously screen universities and select those with the most potential to advance education and research through Instrumental Access….”