This week’s Big Deal Longread is actually quite short - barely two pages, including generous headers, footers, and notes! - and it’s a holdover I’ve been meaning to share for a while, now: Equity in Open Access, a statement published late last year by the group ALLEA - “the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities, representing more than 50 academies from over 40 EU and non-EU countries.” The statement is a critique of “gold” (author pays) open access models, and of the Bigger Deal/Read-and-Publish approach that bundles Gold author payments into a large institutional deal. While these models do result in the publication of scientific results under an open license, they are nevertheless inconsistent with some of the core values of the open access movement, ALLEA argues.

Among the inequities created or exacerbated by these models, according to ALLEA:

“[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.”

Read the full statement, which is actually not very long at all, and have a good weekend.