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Cambridge waives some open access fees

Cambridge University Press has announced a new open access initiative that aims to support authors in low-and middle-income countries.

The initiative will see over 5,000 institutions supported for open access. Photo: Pexels

It will be available to authors from July 1, 2023

The Cambridge Open Equity Initiative, in which over 100 countries are represented, will help those “who wish to publish their research open access but do not have access to funding”.

50% of Cambridge University Press’ articles were published with open access in 2022 – however, they are working towards majority open access publications by 2025.

“This pilot period allows us to listen to scholars, editors, librarians and universities as we refine the model and ensure we can make it sustainable for the whole community,” a spokesperson from Cambridge University Press told The PIE News.

Through “financial support from Cambridge” and collaboration with its institutional partners, over 5,000 institutions will benefit from the initiative.

It will be available to authors from July 1, 2023 until December 31, 2024.

From June 2023, institutional partners can contribute and choose to do the program “as a part of their existing or upcoming transformative agreement”.

Open access can often associated with stereotypes, such as the idea that “open access means low quality”.

Cambridge University Press addresses some of these concerns by verifying that the OA submissions to Cambridge go through the same exact “peer review and publication process as non-OA submissions”, among other endeavours.

In addition, some misconceptions with open access include giving up copyrights – something Cambridge insists it protects against.

“Fully Gold OA and hybrid journals are published under Creative Commons (CC) licenses,” Cambridge’s policy says, allowing authors to retain the original copyright to their work while allowing readers to access the article or book.

Open access, according to Cambridge, has many benefits for all stakeholders within the publication process.

“It’s a step in the right direction”

In particular, authors benefit through increased visibility and more public engagement, many of whom may not usually experience this reach due to lack of funding at their respective institutions.

“The Cambridge Open Equity Initiative aligns with our mission to unlock people’s potential with the best learning and research solutions.

“This fund alone won’t fix wider inequities: academics in low-income countries have plenty of other obstacles beyond article processing charges,” they said.

“It’s a step in the right direction, and we are working with similar minded organisations to identity further steps we can take,” they added.

Without waivers or such initiatives, articles processing charges for gold open access publications are typically priced at around £2,000 or $3,000, “varying by journal”.

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