Is the European push for Open Access bad for environmental science?

  • Andrew J. WrightEmail author
Commentary and Opinion


Europe intends to make Open Access publishing mandatory for recipients of their agencies’ research funding and seeks to build a coalition of funding institutions willing to do the same. By covering the costs of Open Access publishing, the idea is that ‘no science should be locked behind paywalls.’ However, not all environmental science receives funding from large institutions and much work, especially in developing nations, is undertaken on small grants from environmental non-governmental organisations. The European move is likely to push journals to abandon free-to-publish options in favour of costly Open Access, leaving such Small Science with fewer publication options and establishing a monopoly on peer-review for Big Science. While the goal of removing the publication paywall is a laudable one, the consequences of the proposed coalition may act contrary to the goal of making all science available to all people. Instead, other solutions should be explored, such as free-to-all publication supported a ‘publication tax’ on universities and other research institutes around the world that is linked to their economic situation.


Open Access Publication fees Big Science Citizen science Environmental science Discrimination 



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Copyright information

© AESS 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ocean and Ecosystem Sciences DivisionMaritimes Region Fisheries and Oceans CanadaDartmouthCanada
  2. 2.George Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA

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