Stop what you’re doing and read this compelling round-up of reactions to Nature’s announcement of $10k+ OA fees for publishing in their most prestigious journals. We should listen to researchers in Kenya, South Africa, and many other countries where these fees are seen for what they are: absurd and exclusionary luxury pricing, inimical to the goals and values of science.
In Brazil, €9,500 is one quarter of the maximum funding allowed in basic research grants offered by our state or the federal government,” said Ana Marcia de Sá Guimarães, an assistant professor at the University of São Paulo. “In our scarce conditions, having to pay this amount is a socially unjust use of taxpayer money. How can I tell a tuberculosis patient participating in my study that I will pay more than 100 times her/his treatment to publish the study results? Or how can I tell an aspiring scientist that I cannot pay two years of her fellowship because we published in Nature?
Also worth noting are the observations from scholars who recognize that the scientific community itself is ultimately to blame for the valorization of prestige publishing:
Indeed, the publish or perish culture in academia, the obsession with “impact factors” and “citations” has made it possible for groups like Springer Nature and Elsevier to create highly ‘valued’ brands and exploit researchers and universities. Researchers and universities need to counter this by changing tenure and promotion criteria and not be slavishly attached to prestige journals and big brands.
The full piece is, How Prestige Journals Remain Elite, Exclusive And Exclusionary, by Madhukar Pai, Canada Research Chair of Epidemiology & Global Health at McGill University, Montreal.