Open Access (OA) publishing is getting momentum in the Global South, in January 2021, the Academic Publishing in Europe (APE) held an event, organized by Elsevier, where they shed light on the view of researchers and publishers from Global-South on OA, similarly in June 2020 STM and International Center for the Study Research produced a white paper on how to make an OA transition for researchers of Low-and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs), for improving their inclusion in OA system. A critical analysis by an APE panelist from Bangladesh was published in Scholarly Kitchen, highlighting 4 major issues.
Firstly, Bangladesh is in the list of Research4Life countries, its universities only spent 1% of their 2019’s cost on research, still,31,600 teachers from 150 universities conduct research work with their salaries, paying article process charge (APC) from their pocket to publish a paper in Gold OA journal, but the recruitment/promotion policies and policy-makers do not differentiate between indexed and non-indexed journals, thus ignoring the shift towards OA model. Therefore, Bangladeshi researchers prefer publishing research work in peer-reviewed journals of Bangladesh, with Gold OA and no APC, entitled by institutions and government, leaving the country in ‘Scholarly isolation’.
Secondly, the Times Higher Education (THE), University Ranking has forced the country to introduce Impact Rankings and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for better ranking in the World University Rankings. The new system has encouraged universities to consider publishing in Scopus-indexed journals, disqualifying Bangladeshi journals, creating new OA opportunities in the South, but a shift in mentality requires time.
Thirdly, The OA model needs to improvise and the country needs to convince OA journals, publishers, for engaging the South more, not only as authors but also as peer-reviewers and editors. The clarity in calculating APCs will better explain if the author is paying for brand value.
Ultimately, major OA journals are from Global North, and most South Journals do not qualify concerning Impact Factor and CiteScore, but as they contribute to huge data regarding particular region (especially in pandemics) they should be brought to discussion.
The question is, how well the big journal publishers, publishers’ associations, and worldwide networks working on research communication are ready to help Southern journals in improving their standards, without that, the OA discussion will be fruitless.
To wrap up, it is noteworthy that the titleholders in research from Global South, who recognize and acknowledge the current situation in the research system and development should make effective collaborations with researchers and publishers in the North. Because of their awareness about the whole situation and changes, they can act as a channel between academic publishing and the wider academic community, by working with government and universities to improvise policies and operations to make the research in the south further impactful than mere text in CVs.
Open Access (OA), Academic Publishing in Europe (APE), Global South, Impact Factor, Scopus-indexed journals.