Letter to the Editor: An Indian Perspective on Universal Open Access Publishing: Think of the Fire before Venturing Out of the Frying Pan!
openacrs's bookmarks 2020-03-03
The reality is that of limited funding for research in countries like India, understandably so, in view of numerous areas of equal, if not greater, priority than research, such as defence, social upliftment, and healthcare. Therefore, enforcing a utopia of universal OA upon the whole world, could conceivably limit the ability of authors from the developing regions of the world to publish their research in reputable, international journals. Mandating a shift to pure OA would not take away the reality that publishing journals remains a costly affair for the publisher, therefore, such fees would, inevitably, be derived from APCs charged to authors. A significant fear amongst scientists from developing regions would be that they simply cannot afford such publication charges.
There is no easy answer to this conundrum. The reality remains that publishing is costly, and these costs have to be borne from somewhere. In this respect, platinum OA probably remains the most feasible middle path, wherein public funds (as cited in the example of Croatia), or national societies are able to bear the publication costs for OA. Further, we suggest that future iterations of plans for universal OA, while reasonably mandating publication of publicly-funded research as OA, should not mandate such journals publishing publicly-funded research to be purely OA journals. Otherwise, authors from vast stretches of the world may find their options to publish their work severely limited, and there remains a possibility that significant research from these regions may not get published. In view of the costs associated with publishing research as OA, as well as with further editorial processes such as post-acceptance typesetting and editing, it may ultimately be more beneficial to authors from low- and middle-income countries if greater flexibility and diversity of the available publication models is maintained.