Achieving an equitable transition to open access for researchers in lower and middle-income countries

Elsevier, July 2020
Andrea Powell, Rob Johnson and Rachel Herbert

This White Paper – produced in collaboration with the STM Association – provides an evidence base supporting practical recommendations towards the equitable and inclusive shift towards open access publishing in countries eligible for Research4Life participation.


  • The Research4Life initiative has expanded in scope since 2002 to provide free or very low-cost access to the current research literature in over 10,000 registered institutions in eligible countries, helping address research inequalities from the readership side.
  • Given an increasing focus on UN SDGs and a global transition in scholarly publishing models towards open access, this white paper examines how the playing field can be levelled from the authorship side also, permitting knowledge production in lower and middle-income countries (LMICs) to find a wider audience.
  • Analysis is presented that suggests some practical ways in which researchers in LMICs can be supported in making this transition, and ensuring that the outcome should not be less inclusive than the current model.