AAS is pushing for Open Access publishing of scientific results.
AAS Open Research was launched in 2018 to provide a high-quality, peer-reviewed, immediate publishing platform for AAS-associated scientists and students to publish scientific output. Its platform is provided and managed by F1000, on the model of Wellcome Open Research, Gates Open Research, and many others. It meets the highest standards of open-access scientific publishing as exemplified by the Plan S coalition of international research funders: the Academy has endorsed Plan S and serves as an Ambassador to cOAlition S.
Researchers funded by AESA are obligated to publish their findings open access (AAS Open Research being one option; authors may submit their output to any fully OA platform). AAS Open Research is indexed on PubMed and all other major indexes; its content is predominantly research articles but also includes case reports, review articles, blogs, open letters, notes, study protocols, and methods articles.
The biggest barrier to publishing OA in Africa is the same persistent barrier faced by scientists in the rest of the world: the “Tyranny of the Impact Factor” whereby authors feel compelled to submit their output to the most prestigious journal possible, resulting in delays and perverse pressures on the nature of research itself. African researchers face additional burdens that may be irrelevant or lesser in the Global North, including but not limited to:
- The costs of publishing (OA publishers are increasingly tightening their waiver policies as they face their own financial pressures);
- Systematic bias in the peer-review process because African researchers often come from institutions and laboratories unknown to their Western peers;
- Lesser familiarity with the nuances of the peer-review process, including the necessity to anticipate and respond to reviewer comments to achieve acceptance in a quality journal;
- A relative lack of representation of African researchers as peer reviewers, resulting in a disadvantage of exposure to new findings in their fields, less visibility for collaborations, editorial board service and speaking opportunities, and barriers to development of the skills required to navigate the peer-review process. Even AAS Open Research calls upon more peer reviewers based in the U.S. and Europe than in Africa, even though by definition all submissions come from Africa;
- Language and stylistic barriers that at minimum can result in quality research being delayed before being sent for review and at worst can result in the failure of good research to be published altogether;
- Victimization by predatory publishers, who often target potential authors in lesser-developed countries.
This article was first published by ACS Omega (CC-BY)