Authorial and institutional stratification in open access publishing: the case of global health research

Authors: Kyle Siler, Stefanie Haustein, Elise Smith, Vincent Larivière, Juan Pablo Alperin

Abstract: Using a database of recent articles published in the field of Global Health research, we examine institutional sources of stratification in publishing access outcomes. Traditionally, the focus on inequality in scientific publishing has focused on prestige hierarchies in established print journals. This project examines stratification in contemporary publishing with a particular focus on subscription vs. various Open Access (OA) publishing options. Findings show that authors working at lower-ranked universities are more likely to publish in closed/paywalled outlets, and less likely to choose outlets that involve some sort of Article Processing Charge (APCs; gold or hybrid OA). We also analyze institutional differences and stratification in the APC costs paid in various journals. Authors affiliated with higher-ranked institutions, as well as hospitals and non-profit organizations pay relatively higher APCs for gold and hybrid OA publications. Results suggest that authors affiliated with high-ranked universities and well-funded institutions tend to have more resources to choose pay options with publishing. Our research suggests new professional hierarchies developing in contemporary publishing, where various OA publishing options are becoming increasingly prominent. Just as there is stratification in institutional representation between different types of publishing access, there is also inequality within access types.

Citation: Siler K, Haustein S, Smith E, Larivière V, Alperin JP. (2018) Authorial and institutional stratification in open access publishing: the case of global health research. PeerJ 6:e4269 https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.4269

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