[GOAL] North, South, and Open Access: The view from Egypt with Mahmoud Khalifa

Heather Morrison Heather.Morrison at uottawa.ca
Wed Apr 25 18:01:06 BST 2018

hi Richard,

I think it is reasonable to assume that PLOS bloggers are part of the PLOS community, whether they are paid by PLOS or not.

Perhaps PLOS can speak to their policies and practices with respect to the PLOS blog.

Although I am an OA advocate, I strongly oppose some of PLOS' advocacy positions. I argue that CC-BY as default for OA is a major strategic error that invokes ethical and legal concerns. I am not opposed to APC, but it is not the only model and I do not support policies that favour this model exclusively. I do not like PLOS One's to me excessively automated approach to peer review and object strongly to being in their system.

PLOS has not invited me to participate in their blog, even though I frequently comment on matters related to open access. Is this because my views do not reflect those of the PLOS community? Has PLOS reached out to those who prefer traditional publishers such as Elsevier and asked them to contribute to the PLOS blog? Have they reached out to the editors of OA journals that don't use CC-BY and/or APCs and asked them to contribute their perspective to the PLOS blog?

I hope that Hilda enjoys a nice income. If PLOS is not paying their regular bloggers, perhaps they should.



-------- Original message --------
From: Richard Poynder <richard.poynder at gmail.com>
Date: 2018-04-25 12:21 PM (GMT-05:00)
To: "Global Open Access List (Successor of AmSci)" <goal at eprints.org>
Subject: Re: [GOAL] North, South, and Open Access: The view from Egypt with Mahmoud Khalifa


I could be wrong, but I am thinking that you are implying that Hilda Bastian is an employee, or some kind of spokesperson, for PLOS. If so, you have inferred incorrectly.

See this tweet:



On Wed, 25 Apr 2018, 16:21 Heather Morrison, <Heather.Morrison at uottawa.ca<mailto:Heather.Morrison at uottawa.ca>> wrote:

The Public Library of Science has done important work in the areas of open access advocacy and open access publishing. However, it is important to understand that PLOS is also a publishing business, even if it is not-for-profit. Their business model is based on APCs. PLOS staff arguing on the importance of APCs and discounting arguments for other business models is essentially the same thing as traditional commercial publishers arguing for the subscriptions model and discounting arguments for any OA business model. PLOS, in this respect, is understandably looking out for their own interests.

I am a recently tenured professor with many friends who are emerging scholars, students who would like to go on to tenured positions, and a workload that is impacted by university hiring (or lack thereof) of new professors and support staff. When I argue for funding for university hiring, I am arguing for my own interests and the interests of this sector, one that in my experience has been under-represented in open access discussions.



From: goal-bounces at eprints.org<mailto:goal-bounces at eprints.org> <goal-bounces at eprints.org<mailto:goal-bounces at eprints.org>> on behalf of Richard Poynder <richard.poynder at gmail.com<mailto:richard.poynder at gmail.com>>
Sent: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 10:46:48 AM
To: Global Open Access List (Successor of AmSci)
Subject: Re: [GOAL] North, South, and Open Access: The view from Egypt with Mahmoud Khalifa


Personally, I think that any statement that says that most OA journals do not charge an APC needs to be set alongside the following blog post by Hilda Bastian:



'Technically, the “most journals don’t charge authors” statement could well be true. Most open access journals may not charge authors. The source that’s used to support the claim is generally DOAJ – the Directory of Open Access Journals. One of the pieces of meta-data for journals in DOAJ is whether or not the journal levies an APC – an author processing charge for an open access (OA) publication.

But I think this is a data framing that’s deeply misleading. And it does harm. As long as people can argue that there are just so many options for fee-free publishing, then there will be less of a sense of urgency about eliminating, or at least drastically reducing, APCs. As Kyle Siler and colleagues show in the field of global health research, the APC is adding a new stratification of researchers globally, between those who can afford open publishing in highly regarded journals, and those who can’t.'


On 25 April 2018 at 15:16, Heather Morrison <Heather.Morrison at uottawa.ca<mailto:Heather.Morrison at uottawa.ca>> wrote:
Correction: Chris, you have the proportion of OA journals with APCs in reverse. Data and calculations follow.

73% of fully OA journals (about three quarters) do not charge APCs.

To calculate go to DOAJ Advanced Search, select journals / articles select journals, and click on Article Processing Charges. As of today, April 25, 2108, the response to the DOAJ question of whether a journal has an APC is:

8,250: no (73%)
2,979 yes (26%)
65: no information (.5%)

Total # of journals in DOAJ: 11,294
(Note rounding error)

OA journals with no APCs have a variety of business models. Direct and indirect sponsorship appears to be common. For example in Canada our Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) has an Aid to Scholarly Journals Program. Journals can apply for grants; these applications go through a journal-level peer review process. This program has been in place for many years. Originally all supported journals were subscription-based. The trend is towards open access, with many journals now fully OA and all or almost all have free access after an embargo period.

I recommend this model as a means of support for open access journals that also ensure high-level academic quality control. Regions with no existing program in place would probably find it easier to start with an OA requirement than those with legacy programs like SSHRC.

Local journals are important to ensure publishing venues are available for research of local significance. Canadian law, politics, culture, history, local environmental and social conditions are important matters to study, but not high priority for readers outside Canada. Articles on these topics risk rejection from international journal due to selection based on reader interest rather than the quality or importance of the work.

Local publishing does not exclude global scholarly engagement. Canada has a large francophone population; our researchers in language, culture, and history often work with scholars in West Africa, France, Haiti, Belgium, etc.

For Canada's arctic researchers, "local" has geographic rather than local significance.

This is reflected in authorship and editorial boards. A journal hosted and with editorial leadership in Canada will often include international content and reviewers. Journals produced locally can be read anywhere, especially if they are open access.


Heather Morrison
Associate Professor, University of Ottawa School of Information Studies
Sustaining the Knowledge Commons - a SSHRC Insight Project
-------- Original message --------
From: Chris Zielinski <chris at chriszielinski.com<mailto:chris at chriszielinski.com>>
Date: 2018-04-25 6:38 AM (GMT-05:00)
To: richard.poynder at cantab.net<mailto:richard.poynder at cantab.net>
Cc: goal at eprints.org<mailto:goal at eprints.org>
Subject: Re: [GOAL] North, South, and Open Access: The view from Egypt with Mahmoud Khalifa


In this context, you may be interested in a post I recently submitted to the Healthcare Information for All (HIFA) list in the context of a HIFA discussion of this topic:

---------- Original Message ----------
To: HIFA - Healthcare Information For All <HIFA at dgroups.org<mailto:HIFA at dgroups.org>>
Date: 18 April 2018 at 19:33
Subject: Re: [hifa] Open Access Author Processing Charges (3)

In the bad old days before Open Access (OA), a developing country author wrote a paper and submitted it to a journal and, if the paper was good enough, the generous people at the journal organized peer review, redid/redesigned the tables and most of the graphics, and maybe even did some language editing - at no cost to the author. Then they published the journal, charging for access to the paper version and pay-walling any online version. From the author's perspective, thus, there was no barrier to publication, although there were cost barriers to reading the paper subsequently, which was particularly onerous in poorer countries. So the situation in developing countries was good for authors - who simply had to write well - and bad for librarians and readers, who had to find the money to buy the content.

Now that Open Access is making serious inroads, we are finding the situation reversed - librarians and readers bask in an avalanche of cost-free online papers, while authors are scrambling to find the resources to pay for publication.From the commentary on this list it is clear that authors in developing countries are being restrained from publishing by the "Article Processing Charge" (APC).

Zoe Mullan, Editor of The Lancet Global Health makes the point that "we assume that this cost will be borne by the funding body". This seems to be rather more likely in industrialized countries than in developing ones.

Basic research is much more frequently carried out in industrialized countries and supported by the sort of international funding that pays for papers. But the kind of health research that is essential in developing countries - health services and health systems research - is generally undertaken by local institutions and universities. This is a reason for serious concern, as the economic model of OA appears to be blocking the most important local research. I would add that this research needs to be published internationally, not just locally, in order to attract opinions, input and (in some cases) validation and consensus from the global health community.

Many OA journals have special rates, flexibilities and waivers for writers from developing countries. It is also true that  about a quarter of the OA journals do not charge an APC at all - I presume they pay for their work by sales of their print editions in industrialized countries, thus enabling those in other countries free access to the online version.

Incidentally, this is not just an issue for developing country writers - I am a non-institutional writer in an industrialized country, writing papers which are not based on funded research, and it is a real hardship to find APC money to pay for my papers.



Chris Zielinski
chris at chriszielinski.com<mailto:chris at chriszielinski.com>
Blogs: http://ziggytheblue.wordpress.com and http://ziggytheblue.tumblr.com
Research publications: http://www.researchgate.net

On 25 April 2018 at 08:47 Richard Poynder <richard.poynder at cantab.net<mailto:richard.poynder at cantab.net>> wrote:

To try and get a sense of how open access looks from different parts of the world, particularly as the strategy of engineering a global “flip” of subscription journals to a pay-to-publish gold OA model gains more traction, I am interested in talking to open access advocates in different parts of the world, ideally by means of matched interviews.

Earlier this month, for instance, I published a Q&A with Jeff MacKie-Mason, UC Berkeley’s University Librarian and Chief Digital Scholarship Officer. (https://poynder.blogspot.co.uk/2018/04/north-south-and-open-access-view-from.html).

Yesterday, I published a matched Q&A covering the same themes with Mahmoud Khalifa, a librarian at the Library of Congress Cairo Office, and DOAJ Ambassador for the Middle East and Persian Gulf. This interview can be read here: https://poynder.blogspot.co.uk/2018/04/north-south-and-open-access-view-from_24.html

I have also been asking those I interview to comment on the answers given by their matched interviewee. Mahmoud Khalifa’s response to the MacKie-Mason Q&A is incorporated in this post: https://poynder.blogspot.co.uk/2018/04/north-south-and-open-access-mahmoud.html

I am open to suggestions for further matched interviews.

Richard Poynder

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