International disparities in open access practices in the Earth Sciences

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Olivier Pourret , David William Hedding , Daniel Enrique Ibarra , Dasapta Erwin Irawan, Haiyan Liu, Jonathan Tennant


Background. Open Access (OA) describes the free, unrestricted access to and re-use of research articles. Recently, a new wave of interest, debate, and practice surrounding OA publishing has emerged.
Objectives. The paper presented here focuses on international disparities in OA publication practices of the Earth Science community. We aim to provide an overview of actual publication practices and comparison between several countries with the intention of stimulating further debate and raising awareness to aid the decision-making processes for the further development of OA practices in the Earth Sciences.
Methods. Number of OA articles, proportion of OA articles by countries and journals’ selection was performed using the Scopus and Web of Science indexing databases.
Results. In 2018, only between 24 and 31% of total articles were available as OA. The ten top journals for Earth Sciences that publish OA articles are mostly fully OA (6) or hybrid journals (4). Fully OA journals are mostly published by emerging publishers and have a large range of Article Processing Charges (APCs) from less than $US 1000 up to $US 3000.
Conclusions. The rise in OA publishing has potential impacts for the profiles of researchers and tends to devolve publication costs from organizations to individuals. Until the Earth Sciences community makes the decision to move away from journal-based evaluation criteria, it is likely that such high costs will continue to impose financial inequities upon this research community, especially for researchers from least developed countries. However, Earth Scientists could more widely choose legal self-archiving as an equitable and sustainable way to disseminate their research.



Earth Sciences, Physical Sciences and Mathematics


Geology, Scholarly communication


Published: 2020-12-08 04:41

Last Updated: 2021-05-27 12:04

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CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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