Re: Nature's vs. Science's Embargo Policy

From: Tim Brody <>
Date: Wed, 15 Jan 2003 17:37:06 -0000

There are two sides to the first world/developing world research divide:
access to the First world by the Developing world (FD), and access to the
Developing world by the First world (DF).

An APC model solves the FD problem - as an author is paying the publisher to
provide maximum dissemination through free-access, therefore (assuming the
reader has access to the Web!) any researcher can access the paper
regardless of their financial situation.

The DF problem is more to do with journal-impact & language barriers rather
than the economics of the situation. In theory developing-world
researchers - given the current system - are on an equal footing with any
other world researcher. Arthur Smith (hope I'm not quoting out of context)
has said in this list that the first world is currently subsidising the
developing, as it is paying the vast majority of the costs (through
subscriptions etc.), while the developing world pays very little of this but
has the same potential to be published in the high-impact journals.

No sustainable economic model can allow the developing world to have both
free access AND be able to publish in those first-world, high-impact
journals for free - not without being subsidised by the first world.

That said, free (open) access *will* allow developing-world journals to play
on a level playing field with the first. Once the literature is free-access,
aggregating services can index both first-world and developing-world
journals - and provide impact factors for both.

All the best,
Tim Brody

----- Original Message -----
From: "ept" <ept_at_BIOSTRAT.DEMON.CO.UK>
Sent: Tuesday, January 14, 2003 3:43 PM
Subject: Re: Nature's vs. Science's Embargo Policy

> Alan Story wrote:
> > Jan:
> >
> > Further on the question of open access by potential authors.
> >
> > A few questions re: BioMed Central waivers ( of the $500
> article-processing
> > charge):
> .....
> EPT is watching these discussions and trying to work out the impact of
> open access on developing country science.
> My understanding is that both the BMC $500 charge and the PloS $1500
> charge are to cover the costs both of document conversion and peer
> review and I am not sure what % of these figures is for peer review. I
> do not understand why peer review costs are considered to be so high,
> since the reviewers give their professional skills for free and the
> other costs are merely mailing and record keeping. The whole process can
> now be automated, as has been done by the Canadian journal, Conservation
> Ecology ( See also for other tools
> for automated peer reviewing. Once such tools are set up, peer review
> costs must be almost nil.
> For developing country scientific organisations, replacing one
> unaffordable cost (tolls) by another unaffordable cost (APC) is of
> little encouragement. Even though the APC costs are substantially less,
> and may be eliminated for developing country authors (if they can 'make
> a reasonable case', and see the query from Alan Storey), one must hope
> that these efforts are interim means of getting from 'here' to 'there'.
> To ensure the international scientific community has access to ALL
> research ouput, there must be a true level playing field. Only then can
> the 'missing' research generated in the developing world, and critical
> for international programmes (in AIDS/malaria/tuberculosis/environmental
> protection/biodiversity/taxonomy/ biosafety/biopolicy....) become part of
> mainstream knowledge. Only then can the isolation of the scientific
> community in under-resourced countries be overcome and international
> partnerships be established to the benefit of all of us. Carry out a
> search for 'malaria' on the non-profit distributor of many developing
> country journals, Bioline International, to see an example of the
> missing research. Use and search from the homepage
> across all material on the system.
> My understanding has always been that the open access movement aimed to
> provide free access to institutional archives - free of costs both to
> the author and the reader. Any costs to be met would be borne by
> institutions, which have an interest in distributing their own research
> output in ways that make the greatest impact. Again, my understanding is
> that costs for setting up an institutional eprint server would be:
> an initial modest setting-up cost, some hand-holding costs for authors
> in preparing documents for the eprints servers, followed by low
> maintainenance costs. These could surely be 'absorbed' by most
> organisations. Essential peer review costs would be readily paid for by
> savings plus automation.
> And that sounds just fine for science in the developing world.
> Barbara Kirsop
> Electronic Publishing Trust for Development -
Received on Wed Jan 15 2003 - 17:37:06 GMT

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