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‘Nature’ Makes Open-Access Publishing Free for Scientists from 11 Arab Countries

Scientists from 11 Arab countries will no longer have to pay to publish their research open access in the prestigious scientific journal “Nature” and its associated research journals, such as “Nature Chemistry” and “Nature Climate Change.”

Springer Nature, the parent company of the “Nature” journals, announced this month that it has set up a fund to cover the cost of publishing research under the “gold open access” model for authors from more than 70 lower-income countries.

Gold open access means articles are freely available online for anyone to read as soon as they are published. Authors typically pay an article processing charge (APC) to have their research published in this manner. This model makes research results more widely available, but it puts researchers in poorer nations at a disadvantage.

Under Springer Nature’s new initiative, authors from qualifying countries whose primary research papers are accepted for publication will be notified that their paper will be published gold open access and that the company will cover the article processing charge. Authors can opt out if they do not wish their papers to be published open access.

Springer Nature said the initiative recognises that local funding is rarely available for publishing open access in specialist publications like the “Nature” journals. The journals have high operating costs because of in-house editorial teams and low acceptance rates, and this makes it difficult for authors from less well-funded countries to get published in them.  

Making Publishing More Equitable

 Magdalena Skipper, editor-in-chief of “Nature,” said in a news release that open access makes research available to the widest possible audience and fosters open science and collaboration.

“I am excited that with this move we are taking another step towards making research publishing more equitable and scientific knowledge more accessible globally,” she said. 

She said the move was in keeping with the journal’s commitment to publish the most significant advances in any branch of research.

“I am excited that with this move we are taking another step towards making research publishing more equitable and scientific knowledge more accessible globally.”

Magdalena Skipper, editor-in-chief of “Nature” 

Eligible countries in the Arab region are Algeria, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Palestine, Somalia, Tunisia, and Yemen, Springer Nature said. Syria and Sudan are on the World Bank’s low-income countries list, but are not included in the initiative.

Addressing a Wider Audience 

Naouel Abdellatif Mami, vice-rector for external relations at Mohamed Lamine Debaghine Setif 2 University, in Algeria, thinks that this proposition will greatly benefit her country’s scholars, as it does not impose costs on the author or reader.

“Authors will be able to address a wider audience without the corresponding expenditure,” she wrote to Al-Fanar Media. “The articles will now be easily accessible regardless of  economic or geographical status.”

Mami thinks the move means there will now be a quick proliferation of research results that could inspire new scientific collaborations.

“Easy access to research material from all fields strengthens interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research endeavours,” she said. “This initiative will also have a long-term impact on national research quality, in particular, when searching within the articles or recommending and sharing them with others.”

Many ‘Nature’ Journals

Springer Nature said the initiative applies to primary research accepted for publication in “Nature” and “the highly selective Nature Portfolio transformative journals as they transition to open access.” The offer does not apply to other Nature-affiliated publications that are fully open access, such as the Nature Communications and Scientific Reports journals. See the news release for a list of nearly 40 journals the offer covers.

Deborah Sweet, vice president for the “Nature” journals, said: “As part of Springer Nature, we are committed to supporting the transition to open access and a part of this is to ensure that authors from less well-funded countries who wish to publish open access in this unique portfolio of titles are able to do so.”

The initiative is in addition to another programme that allows authors in certain countries to request a partial waiver of article processing costs for publishing in one of Springer Nature’s roughly 600 open-access journals. The company says it waived 18 million euros ($19.6 million) in article processing charges under that programme in 2021.


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