Worldwide inequality in access to full textscientific articles: the example ofophthalmology

Authors : Christophe Boudry, Patricio Alvarez-Muñoz, Ricardo Arencibia-Jorge, Didier Ayena, Niels J. Brouwer, Zia Chaudhuri, Brenda Chawner, Emilienne Epee, Khalil Erraïs, Akbar Fotouhi, Almutez M. Gharaibeh, Dina H. Hassanein, Martina C. Herwig-Carl, Katherine Howard, Dieudonne Kaimbo Wa Kaimbo, Patricia-Ann Laughrea, Fernando A. Lopez, Juan D. Machin-Mastromatteo, Fernando K. Malerbi, Papa Amadou Ndiaye, Nina A. Noor, Josmel Pacheco-Mendoza, Vasilios P. Papastefanou, Mufarriq Shah, Carol L. Shields, Ya Xing Wang, Vasily Yartsev, Frederic Mouriaux


The problem of access to medical information, particularly in low-income countries, has been under discussion for many years. Although a number of developments have occurred in the last decade (e.g., the open access (OA) movement and the website Sci-Hub), everyone agrees that these difficulties still persist very widely, mainly due to the fact that paywalls still limit access to approximately 75% of scholarly documents.

In this study, we compare the accessibility of recent full text articles in the field of ophthalmology in 27 established institutions located worldwide.


A total of 200 references from articles were retrieved using the PubMed database. Each article was individually checked for OA. Full texts of non-OA (i.e., “paywalled articles”) were examined to determine whether they were available using institutional and Hinari access in each institution studied, using “alternative ways” (i.e., PubMed Central, ResearchGate, Google Scholar, and Online Reprint Request), and using the website Sci-Hub.


The number of full texts of “paywalled articles” available using institutional and Hinari access showed strong heterogeneity, scattered between 0% full texts to 94.8% (mean = 46.8%; SD = 31.5; median = 51.3%).

We found that complementary use of “alternative ways” and Sci-Hub leads to 95.5% of full text “paywalled articles,” and also divides by 14 the average extra costs needed to obtain all full texts on publishers’ websites using pay-per-view.


The scant number of available full text “paywalled articles” in most institutions studied encourages researchers in the field of ophthalmology to use Sci-Hub to search for scientific information.

The scientific community and decision-makers must unite and strengthen their efforts to find solutions to improve access to scientific literature worldwide and avoid an implosion of the scientific publishing model.

This study is not an endorsement for using Sci-Hub. The authors, their institutions, and publishers accept no responsibility on behalf of readers.

URL : Worldwide inequality in access to full textscientific articles: the example ofophthalmology


A multi-disciplinary perspective on emergent and future innovations in peer review

Authors : Jonathan P. Tennant, Jonathan M. Dugan, Daniel Graziotin, Damien C. Jacques, François Waldner, Daniel Mietchen, Yehia Elkhatib, Lauren B. Collister, Christina K. Pikas, Tom Crick, Paola Masuzzo, Anthony Caravaggi, Devin R. Berg, Kyle E. Niemeyer, Tony Ross-Hellauer, Sara Mannheimer, Lillian Rigling, Daniel S. Kat, Bastian Greshake Tzovaras, Josmel Pacheco-Mendoza, Nazeefa Fatima, Marta Poblet, Marios Isaakidis, Dasapta Erwin Irawan, Sébastien Renaut, Christopher R. Madan, Lisa Matthias, Jesper Nørgaard Kjær, Daniel Paul O’Donnell, Cameron Neylon, Sarah Kearns, Manojkumar Selvaraju, Julien Colomb

Peer review of research articles is a core part of our scholarly communication system. In spite of its importance, the status and purpose of peer review is often contested. What is its role in our modern digital research and communications infrastructure?

Does it perform to the high standards with which it is generally regarded? Studies of peer review have shown that it is prone to bias and abuse in numerous dimensions, frequently unreliable, and can fail to detect even fraudulent research.

With the advent of Web technologies, we are now witnessing a phase of innovation and experimentation in our approaches to peer review. These developments prompted us to examine emerging models of peer review from a range of disciplines and venues, and to ask how they might address some of the issues with our current systems of peer review.

We examine the functionality of a range of social Web platforms, and compare these with the traits underlying a viable peer review system: quality control, quantified performance metrics as engagement incentives, and certification and reputation.

Ideally, any new systems will demonstrate that they out-perform current models while avoiding as many of the biases of existing systems as possible. We conclude that there is considerable scope for new peer review initiatives to be developed, each with their own potential issues and advantages.

We also propose a novel hybrid platform model that, at least partially, resolves many of the technical and social issues associated with peer review, and can potentially disrupt the entire scholarly communication system.

Success for any such development relies on reaching a critical threshold of research community engagement with both the process and the platform, and therefore cannot be achieved without a significant change of incentives in research environments.

URL : A multi-disciplinary perspective on emergent and future innovations in peer review