Over the years we have discussed at length on HIFA about author processing charges for open access papers. The Lancet Global Health makes a clear statement in the editorial of its current issue:
'It is often brought to our attention that the fee that we charge to cover the cost of reviewing, technical editing, typesetting and graphics, online hosting, archiving, and promotion of accepted manuscripts is way beyond the reach of researchers from low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs). We want to emphasise that we never, ever, expect researchers from any country to pay this charge from their own pockets. Our business model is based on the premise that more and more research funders are mandating gold open-access publication and are prepared to pay for it. If there is no such funding available and no, or only partial, funding available from institutional sources, then we waive or discount the fee. Whether the fee is paid or not does not affect the open-access nature of the article.'
CITATION: EDITORIAL| VOLUME 11, ISSUE 2, E170, FEBRUARY 2023
The future of global health research, publishing, and practice
The Lancet Global Health
Published: February, 2023 DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(23)00010-4
COMMENT (NPW): This is very welcome news. It is good to hear that an open-access journal is committed to this principle, and most if not all of us want to see a future where APCs are covered as part of research funding, and never from the pockets of individual researchers. What indeed is the future of global health research, publishing, and practice? How long will it be before other journals follow this lead and ensure that researchers are not out of pocket? The same question can be asked of other Elsevier journals as well as other open-access publishers. Change comes fast. Twenty years ago we could not have dreamt that so much of the health literature would be freely accessible to everyone. Now when we see a paper that we have to pay for, we see it as an outlier. The same needs to happen, at least as quickly, for research funders to include the cost of open-access in their funding.
(It's notable that many open-access journals continue to thrive without charging APCs. They need support too.)
Dr Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator
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