Open(ing) Access: Top Health Publication Availability to Researchers in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Authors : John L. Kilgallon, Saumya Khanna, Tanujit Dey, Timothy R. Smith, Kavitha Ranganathan


Improving access to information for health professionals and researchers in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is under-prioritized. This study examines publication policies that affect authors and readers from LMICs.


We used the SHERPA RoMEO database and publicly available publishing protocols to evaluate open access (OA) policies, article processing charges (APCs), subscription costs, and availability of health literature relevant to authors and readers in LMICs.

Categorical variables were summarized using frequencies with percentages. Continuous variables were reported with median and interquartile range (IQR).

Hypothesis testing procedures were performed using Wilcoxon rank sum tests, Wilcoxon rank sum exact tests, and Kruskal-Wallis test.


A total of 55 journals were included; 6 (11%) were Gold OA (access to readers and large charge for authors), 2 (3.6%) were subscription (charge for readers and small/no charge for authors), 4 (7.3%) were delayed OA (reader access with no charge after embargo), and 43 (78%) were hybrid (author’s choice).

There was no significant difference between median APC for life sciences, medical, and surgical journals ($4,850 [$3,500–$8,900] vs. $4,592 [$3,500–$5,000] vs. $3,550 [$3,200–$3,860]; p = 0.054). The median US individual subscription costs (USD/Year) were significantly different for life sciences, medical, and surgical journals ($259 [$209–$282] vs. $365 [$212–$744] vs. $455 [$365–$573]; p = 0.038), and similar for international readers.

A total of seventeen journals (42%) had a subscription price that was higher for international readers than for US readers.


Most journals offer hybrid access services. Authors may be forced to choose between high cost with greater reach through OA and low cost with less reach publishing under the subscription model under current policies.

International readers face higher costs. Such hindrances may be mitigated by a greater awareness and liberal utilization of OA policies.

URL : Open(ing) Access: Top Health Publication Availability to Researchers in Low- and Middle-Income Countries


Access to Information and Implications for Healthy Ageing in Africa: Challenges and Strategies for Public Libraries


“The elderly people are of intrinsic value to societies. Their health is Africa’s wealth. Unfortunately, Africa has serious health burden raging from diseases, poverty ignorance that hardly support healthy ageing. Development indicators from World Health Organization and the World Bank provide glaring evidence that Africa countries are far behind other regions of the world in health conditions of the citizens. This paper discusses the benefits that accrue from having a healthy old age population. Such includes poverty reduction, stress free ageing, assisting in taking care of young ones. It examines the role of information in enhancing healthy ageing in Africa. The paper identified public libraries as very important institutions to take up the challenges of provision of adequate and timely health information for the elderly citizen in Africa. While it acknowledges the challenges public libraries in many African countries face, it also provided strategies the libraries could adopt to perform this onerous task. Several recommendations were made; namely, adequate funding of public libraries, employment of librarians with translations skills, ICT application in public libraries, among others. The paper concludes that African countries should reposition their public libraries to facilitate the provision of relevant information that would support healthy ageing.”