The statement “Equity in Open Access” addresses how “gold” open access publishing routes and large read-and-write deals contribute to establishing inequitable structures within academic research. The statement builds on the 2021 theme of the International Open Access Week, ‘It matters how we open knowledge: building structural equity’, which was in turn inspired by one of the four core values of Open Science, as defined in the recently released UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science.
Although collective deals can be beneficial to individual researchers that are affiliated with organisations covered by such agreements, ALLEA highlights several important inequities resulting from these developments:
- “[These deals] effectively incentivise such researchers to publish in the journals covered by the deal, which are often expensive journals that trade on their high ‘impact factor’ – a metric noted as problematic by Open Science initiatives.”
- “This tacit incentivisation risks further increasing the market dominance of the big commercial publishers and clearly disadvantages smaller specialist and learned society publishers.”
- “It takes no account of the fact that, at least in the humanities, there are still a significant number of researchers not affiliated with institutions covered by the deals, nor in some cases with any institution.”
- “It privileges established over early career researchers. It ignores the needs of researchers based in the Global South, in smaller institutions, or in industry. It favours well-funded areas of research over equally important, but less well-resourced areas.”