Open access (33) Subscription journals and open access repositories (3)

6 August, 2019

Dear Irina and all,

Thank you for the papers you highlighted a few days ago [

I was especially interested to read Smith et al. Knowledge sharing in global health research - the impact, uptake and cost of open access to scholarly literature.

This paper notes that 84.0% of the 700 subscription and hybrid journals allow green OA (self-archiving in an open access repository), and yet most global health researchers (60%) do not self-archive their work even when this is permitted by journal policy.

This failure by researchers to self-archive is despite the fact that 'self-archived papers receive more than twice as many citations as those hidden behind a paywall'.

Moreover, as the authors say, 'In a field [global health] where OA seems of practical and ethical importance for the sharing of knowledge promoting health equity, it is surprising that researchers do not make their papers available when they are legally able to do so without any cost'.

Imagine if all authors in restricted-access journals were to self-archive their papers in open-access repositories (as permitted by most subscription-based journals). This would have a huge positive impact on the availability of global health research.

So, why don't global health researchers do this? Much of it is because they simply don't know that the opportunity is there. 'Many reasons could explain this behaviour, such as a lack of knowledge of journals’ self-archiving policies, lack of appropriate user-friendly self-archiving platforms, lack of time or general unawareness of the advantages of green OA (i.e. such as increased impact). Researchers may think that publication in traditional closed (paywalled) journals are sufficient because of initiatives such as HINARI, which provide a certain level of free or low cost access to research for LMIC researchers.'

How can we, collectively and individually, address this situation? Can anyone point us to further research in this area? Is anyone promoting awareness of self-archiving among health researchers in general, and global health researchers in particular? What is the quickest and easiest way to self-archive, and how can we encourage researchers to do so?

CITATION: Smith E, Haustein S, Mongeon P, Shu F, Ridde V, Larivière V. Knowledge sharing in global health research - the impact, uptake and cost of open access to scholarly literature. Health Res Policy Syst. 2017;15(1):73. Published 2017 Aug 29. doi:10.1186/s12961-017-0235-3

Best wishes, Neil

Coordinator, HIFA Project on Access to Health Research

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: