21. February 2022

Equity is integral to the OA2020 mission


The subscription paywall system propagates disparities. By repurposing their former subscription investments to support open access publishing, libraries and research institutions around the world are reducing disparities, enabling free and universal access to new knowledge for researchers everywhere.

That is just part of our vision for an open, financially sustainable and globally equitable scholarly publishing system. The Expression of Interest in the Large Scale Implementation of Open Access to Scholarly Journals also sets out OA2020’s goal of ensuring that authors do not encounter financial barriers, as open access becomes the default in scholarly publishing.

We are committed to:

  • understanding the unique contexts of research communities globally
  • shedding light on the pricing and distribution of costs in scholarly publishing, and
  • fostering collaborations to ensure that scholars everywhere are able to publish their articles openly under conditions that are fair and globally equitable.

The perspective of librarians in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs)

To help fulfill OA2020’s commitment to fostering equity, contributors from diverse geographic and economic contexts have come together in working groups whose observations were featured in a dedicated plenary of the 15th Berlin Open Access Conference (B15). In the plenary, representatives of library consortia in low- and middle-income countries shared insights into how investments in subscriptions and OA publishing currently flow in their local contexts, reflected on the inequities of the subscription-based system and author-facing OA publishing fees, and discussed their expectations as scholarly journal publishing shifts from subscription-based to open access models.

View the plenary recording

Read the breakout discussion prompts

The international B15 cohort expressed strong commitment to engaging in local and international partnerships, developing community principles, and promoting both temporary long-term mechanisms to ensure that scholars everywhere are able to publish their articles openly under conditions that are fair and globally equitable.

Translating this commitment into action, the OA2020 Equity Working Group is currently formulating an invitation to action and promoting discussions among institutions and organizations worldwide to facilitate the development of practical and context-specific mechanisms to address global equity in scholarly journal publishing.

Read the project brief of the OA2020 Equity Working Group

(Forthcoming) “Invitation to action: collaborating toward equitable solutions for scholarly publishing”

Contact us if you would like to get involved in OA2020’s efforts around equity.

A closer look at the financial impact of subscriptions and OA publishing in LMICs

In the course of 2019 and 2020, participants in OA2020 came together in a dedicated working group to study the publishing trends of authors and the financial streams around scholarly publishing in a sampling of LMICs countries. The aim of the study was to investigate some core questions about how the transformative agreement strategy employed by participants in OA2020 relates to the local context of countries with significantly less financial negotiating power:

  • What is the current investment around scholarly journals in these countries, i.e. how much is currently being spent on subscriptions and open access publishing?
  • What discounts and waivers are scholarly publishers currently applying in these countries for subscriptions and open access publishing and under what conditions?
  • How do the publishing trends of researchers in these countries relate to the overall financial investments being made in closed scholarly journals? Would current spend on subscriptions and APCs cover all publishing costs in a purely open access world based on current market conditions?
  • What does this data tell us about how consortia from Lower Middle Income Countries might engage in the global effort to transition the current corpus of scholarly journals to open access?

Collaborating with national-level library consortia from four LMIC countries, members of EIFL (Electronic Information for Libraries), the group gathered and analyzed quantitative and qualitative information on the financial and publishing interaction of these four countries with three major commercial journal publishers.

Read the project brief of the OA2020 LMIC Working Group

(Forthcoming report) “Shifting investments from closed to open: Investigating the financial streams around scholarly journal publishing and the potential for transformative agreements in Lower Middle Income countries”