Open access: creating a level playing field for the Global South

How can open access be more inclusive for low- and middle-income countries? Experts weigh in at the Academic Publishing in Europe (APE 2021) conference

Elsevier, 30th March 2021
Maha Rhannam

Open Access (OA) and the advent of access programs such as Research4Life have rapidly transformed the publishing landscape. In some ways, they have made strides in bridging the knowledge gap between high- and low-income countries. In other ways, they may present obstacles, however, so it’s important to ensure that a move towards open access doesn’t disadvantage low-income countries.

In July 2020, a white paper co-published by Elsevier’s International Center for the Study of Research (ICSR) and STM — Achieving an Equitable Transition to Open Access for Researchers in Lower-and-Middle-Income Countries — highlighted that despite the steady increase in research output from the Global South, 75 percent of researchers from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) still published in subscription journals in 2018.

To understand this issue, senior representatives from the research, development and publishing sectors gathered virtually in January at the 2021 Academic Publishing in Europe (APE) conference to discuss how the publishing community can ensure a more inclusive OA playing field.