In Search of Equity and Justice: Reimagining Scholarly Communication - The Scholarly Kitchen
openacrs's bookmarks 2020-10-28
What does this mean for our organizations as we look to the future – is it enough for us to pledge to equity and diversity in our organizations and a fundamental commitment to all of our stakeholders? I think not. The current system of scholarly communication was created by the Global North and for the Global North. Not surprisingly, this has created deep inequities that reflect historic power structures. Unless we examine our part in this, we are not doing enough. We need to act to permanently and fundamentally disrupt the status quo.
There are many barriers to equitable knowledge making and distribution – one of which is the APC model. As I’ve argued before, the current push towards Gold OA via so-called “transformative” agreements risks hardwiring the exclusion of many researchers, especially in the Global South. Far from being “transformative”, these deals run the risk of locking in the high cost of subscriptions into an open future and of reinforcing the market dominance of the biggest players as subscription funds simply flow in full to new deal models, further entrenching existing inequalities.
A central goal of open access has always been to make access to research more equitable and democratic, but from our current vantage point it’s clear that we need to expand our vision and objectives. The UK government has just published study undertaken by INASP to understand the challenges and opportunities that OA presents to low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). While LMIC stakeholders believe that they clearly benefit from OA – particularly with regard to access – the picture that emerges is significantly more complicated. In particular, a conflict emerges between a desire to strengthen local platforms and outlets that better serve local needs and feeling pulled to “play the game” in which norms have been set by the Global North. Many of these challenges are driven by the need to achieve credibility and visibility within the global research system – one in which LMIC researchers are significantly disadvantaged by prevailing metrics. Leslie Chan has also written about the challenges for research in the Global South when it has to be certified by standards set in the Global North, often with commercial interests embedded: