Authors : Kyle Siler, Stefanie Haustein, Elise Smith, Vincent Larivière, Juan Pablo Alperin
Using a database of recent articles published in the field of Global Health research, we examine institutional sources of stratification in publishing access outcomes. Traditionally, the focus on inequality in scientific publishing has focused on prestige hierarchies in established print journals.
This project examines stratification in contemporary publishing with a particular focus on subscription vs. various Open Access (OA) publishing options.
Findings show that authors working at lower-ranked universities are more likely to publish in closed/paywalled outlets, and less likely to choose outlets that involve some sort of Article Processing Charge (APCs; gold or hybrid OA).
We also analyze institutional differences and stratification in the APC costs paid in various journals. Authors affiliated with higher-ranked institutions, as well as hospitals and non-profit organizations pay relatively higher APCs for gold and hybrid OA publications.
Results suggest that authors affiliated with high-ranked universities and well-funded institutions tend to have more resources to choose pay options with publishing. Our research suggests new professional hierarchies developing in contemporary publishing, where various OA publishing options are becoming increasingly prominent.
Just as there is stratification in institutional representation between different types of publishing access, there is also inequality within access types.
Digitization and the rise of Open Access publishing is an important recent development in academic communication. The current publishing system exhibits challenges with cost, where many universities are forced to cancel journal subscriptions for economic reasons, as well as access, as scholars and the public alike often lack access to research published in paywalled subscription journals.
Open Access publishing solves the access problem, but not necessarily cost problems. Universities and researchers are currently in a challenging, interstitial stage of scholarly publishing. Subscription journals still dominate scholarly communication, yet a growing imperative to fund and support Open Access alternatives also exists.
Stakeholders, including faculty, university administrators, publishers, scientific funding institutions and librarians and governments alike currently strategize and fight for their professional and economic interests in the broader publishing system.
Four main trends are suggested that will characterize the future of scholarly publishing: 1) antagonism with scholarly associations; 2) changes and innovations to peer review; 3) Scientific/Intellectual Movements around Open Access 4) publishing and new professional niches in the publishing landscape.
This article suggests potential trajectories and outcomes for these various conflicts over the costs and benefits of academic publishing.