The article processing charge (APC)—and its stealthy cousin, the read-and-publish deal—are finally coming under the ferocious assault that they deserve. This last year, both the UNESCO Open Science Recommendation and the Budapest Open Access Initiative came out strong against the author-excluding APC.
And consider the last month alone:
Emilio Delgado Lopez-Cozar and Ramon Feentsra, writing in World.edu on the “refusal to pay to publish”:
the publishing business is based on a great paradox: scientists must pay to publish articles based on research that consumes enormous economic resources financed by the universities and research centers where they work or by public funding agencies. […] Public capital at the service of private interests.
The University of Nigeria’s Oluchi Ojinamma Okere, writing in Research Information:
With an average annual salary of about €4,200 ($4,500), considering publishing a single article in even a moderately priced journal at about €1,220 ($1,510) is almost preposterous for an African academic. […] [H]ighly priced publication fees are another form of discrimination perpetuated by many gold, open access APC-based journals against disadvantaged researchers in an era that prides itself with openness, globalisation, diversity and sustainability.
MIT’s Katharine Dunn, in an Open Interview:
APCs and “read and publish” agreements are arguably a kind of commercial open access that exclude a lot of people, and, as we all know, there are other ways to go about opening up scholarship.
Pilar Santidrián Tomillo and colleagues, writing in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment on how OA “perpetuates differences between higher- and lower-income countries”:
Unfortunately, scientists who lack adequate funding, especially those based in lower-income countries, have been and continue to be largely restricted from OA publishing. […] If the OA movement had – from the beginning – included the perspective of scientists from lower-income countries, such inequity might have been anticipated and avoided.
Leigh-Ann Butler and her University of Ottawa colleagues, in a conference proceedings:
Instead of making scholarly publishing sustainable and accessible for all, exorbitant APCs (and more recently transformative agreements) preserve the status quo of the academic publishing market. The author-pays model excludes large parts of the academic community from publishing, giving preference to well-funded authorsand institutions, those at a later career stage, disciplines, countries, and excludes marginalized communities. Instead of removing barriers from academic publishing, OA APCs have shifted inequities from readers to authors, often affecting those same individuals.
From the press release announcing Arcadia’s $3.6 million grant to the Redalyc and AmeliCA:
There is no need of commercial negotiations or “transformative agreements” in a non-profit Acceso Abierto [Open Access] environment since research findings are communicated in Open Access without economic restrictions. Diamond Acceso Abierto works against the inflationary market caused by APC charges. […] By supporting open infrastructures for diamond Acceso Abierto, an economically more sustainable and more inclusive model is being strengthened. One, that doesn’t exclude less-favoured societal sectors.
COAR’s Kathleen Shearer, writing in Times Higher Education on commercial publishers’ “huge financial stake in transitioning the system to a pay-to-publish model to maintain their significant profits”:
Of course, we could quickly get to universal open access if we paid publishers the vast sums in open access fees they demand. But, in a system where the actual costs of publishing represent a small portion of the per article fees charged, wouldn’t this money be better spent if it were invested back into research itself?
August 11 (today)
And Gunnar Sivertsen and Lin Zhang, writing in the LSE Impact blog on APCs as the “new enclosure of research”:
[W]e consider the mainstreaming of APCs as a ‘paywall’ to perform research, using the same term as is used to characterise the subscription model in publishing from a reader’s perspective. […] While intended to make the scientific literature more accessible, it is now reported that OA publishing fees deter researchers in the global south from performing research and our own study has already raised the same concern from an African perspective. […] [T]his new paywall for performing research is at odds with fundamental norms of equal opportunities and sharing in scientific work.