Global Trends in Open Access: with Emphasis on Africa, Asia and Latin America

Repositories and their relationship with the Open Access (OA) movement constitute a new trend in scholarly communication worldwide. The need for even wider access to scientific data with the objective of democratizing the dissemination of research results and the cost, especially, of scientific journals, coupled with the reduced library budgets, has given rise to a strong movement that aims at free online access to digital materials for all [1].

The imperative for researchers to disseminate their discoveries and leverage the collective knowledge of others is indispensable for academics, policymakers, and society at large. However, the current paradigm often sees this process dictated by a select few countries and individuals, predominantly from the global North, affiliated with “elite” institutions, or entrenched within prominent commercial publishing entities.

Open access (OA) is instrumental in democratizing scientific knowledge, ensuring accessibility for researchers, policymakers, and society as a whole. Nevertheless, the implementation of OA exhibits notable variations across different regions, underscoring the importance of understanding regional perspectives. Let’s explore some significant themes pertinent to Africa, Asia, and Latin America:

  1. Latin America:
    • Approach: Latin America follows a non-commercial approach to OA. Scientific publishing is primarily led by academic institutions rather than large publishers.
    • Ownership: Institutions generating knowledge also handle its communication. Journals are often supported by faculty members and made available openly to benefit everyone.
    • Sustainability: This ecosystem relies on distributed investments for editorial workflows, quality assurance, content aggregation, and discoverability.
    • Philosophy: Latin America views science as a public good, emphasizing accessibility over commodification.
  2. Asia:
    • Visibility and Education: OA is essential for increasing research visibility and aiding academic education.
    • Local Policymaking: Policymakers benefit from OA by reading, contextualizing, and developing relevant local research policies.
  3. Africa:
    • Importance: OA in Africa has wide-ranging significance. It enhances visibility, supports education, and informs local policymaking.
    • Gold OA: The pay-to-publish model (gold OA) is prevalent.
    • Local Research: OA enables policymakers to engage with and contextualize locally conducted research.

In a swiftly changing global context, Open Access (OA) emerges as a fundamental pillar of scholarly communication, promoting equal access to knowledge across geographical boundaries. Despite persistent challenges, the momentum toward OA adoption in Africa, Asia, and Latin America remains resolute. By nurturing collaborations, harnessing digital tools, and advocating for policy enhancements, stakeholders can collectively unlock the vast potential of OA. This empowerment of researchers will, in turn, enrich societies worldwide.


  1. Wani, Z. A., Gul, S., & Rah, J. A. (2009). Open access repositories: A global perspective with an emphasis on Asia. Chinese Librarianship: an International Electronic Journal27, 11.

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