This viewpoint paper suggests that open-access publishers need to be more transparent to justify article processing charges, and 'should adopt equitable solutions that enable every author to pursue open access publishing regardless of one's funding status or affiliation'.
CITATION: Viewpoint: Equitable Open Access Publishing: Changing the Financial Power Dynamics in Academia
Dominique Vervoort, Xiya Ma and Hloni Bookholane
Global Health: Science and Practice December 2021, 9(4):733-736; https://doi.org/10.9745/GHSP-D-21-00145
Open access publishing is steadily growing but associated with high article processing charges that exacerbate disparities between funded and unfunded researchers.
Early-career and underrepresented researchers often are not eligible for waivers or discounts, thus resulting in either publishing barriers or financial hardship.
Journals should adopt equitable solutions that enable every author to pursue open access publishing regardless of one's funding status or affiliation.
Publishing companies should rethink open access publishing models to reduce the financial barriers for readers and authors alike.
Open access (OA) publishing is increasing, allowing articles to be read by anyone, anywhere...
While the intention of increasing access to quality research from LMICs is laudable, few journals process waivers automatically, commonly requiring researchers to submit extensive applications and not always be provided with a full waiver...
There will always be costs to publish quality research due to journals' fixed and variable expenses...
However, APCs by some journals may be higher than the costs to publish...
Journals and publishers should become more transparent about their use of funds to justify high APCs.
Journals adopting OA models are to be commended but should be encouraged to increase opportunities to reduce publication fees and support unfunded or lesser-funded authors. Open access publishing is not only the future; it is the key to regaining public trust in science, retaining early-career academics, strengthening public and health policy, addressing public health disparities, and leveling the playing field for all researchers alike.