What role do publishers play?
More than 70% of academics think publishers could help researchers create a more inclusive society by:
- Removing paywalls
- Making research more discoverable
- Offering more routes to open access
- Supporting interdisciplinary research
- Championing broader research metrics
On this page
Although most academics believe publishers have a strong role to play in promoting inclusion, there are concerns around current publishing practices, including open access.
"Open access mostly serves those using others' research for their teaching and research, but huge costs have added to being able to publish as an author, which most of the world cannot afford. There is a serious human rights issue here with being able to publish literature from many countries because they don't have the money to cover the huge fees involved." Woman academic in UK
"Open access doesn’t help at all. Researchers who are well-funded can publish and sometime the quality is not up to the level of the journals where they published articles in high impact journal just because they have the fund." Man researcher in Malaysia
"As long as quality talks, diversity and inclusion walks." Man academic in USA
Can't do it alone
"Massive undertaking to restructure dissemination – needs close partnership of university with publisher and a global structure to agree on ethics and practices." Woman academic in USA
Knowledge for all
"I think most important is to democratise the publishing industry. Knowledge is not just the privilege of elite individuals and institutions. Research and new developments in any area should be easily accessible to the academic community as a whole." Woman academic in India
How can publishers create a more inclusive society?
Question 10: On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is 'Not at all important' and 10 is 'Very important', thinking about the role academic publishers play, to what extent do you believe these areas could help researchers in creating a more inclusive society?
2022 results, percentage scored 8-10. 2020 figures in brackets.
|2022 %||2020 %||Area|
|74.5||76.3||Remove paywalls limiting the number of people who can access the research|
|74.4||79.9||Make related research more discoverable beyond academia|
|71.6||74||Open up publishing opportunities through increased open access|
|71.2||77.3||Support interdisciplinary research more e.g. grants, reduced APCs|
|71.1||73.9||Support broader research metrics beyond traditional metrics such as the impact factor|
|70.9||79.8||Promote the benefits of related research and its impact in the real world|
|70.3||69.9||More diverse editorial & review boards|
|69.6||70.5||Reduce the cost of publishing research in subject areas directly relevant to SDGs|
|68.8||68.2||Improve the transparency & ethics around peer review|
|60.5||66.5||Provide a range of publishing formats beyond traditional journal articles / books|
|55.7||62.4||Align published content to the SDGs|
Emerald analysis: Sally Wilson, Publishing director, Emerald
What we're doing as a global publisher
The findings in this report underline the need for change within the global research ecosystem. Our sector must become more diverse and inclusive to improve the lives of researchers, advance research, and create a fairer and more equitable world. However, change will only happen if we each take responsibility and play our part.
As a global publisher, it’s vital that we support the researchers, topics and groups that have been underrepresented and silenced for far too long. So, we’re facing the challenges head on by raising awareness, campaigning for change, and creating new opportunities that allow us to break down barriers and advance diversity and inclusion within the sector.
This year we relaunched our Impact Manifesto, pledging six commitments for change that will advance ongoing debates around academic culture, incentives and research evaluation, including a commitment to develop more equitable and accessible ways to publish research. Within our Impact Manifesto, we call on other publishers and stakeholders to also pledge support to these six commitments and work together for change.
One way we’re creating a more equitable research environment is through our Power of Diverse Voices campaign. Here, we’re calling for greater equity, diversity and inclusion in academic research for:
- Research participants that have been overlooked in research design
- Knowledge holders whose contribution has not been recognised or rewarded
- Academics that have not had the same opportunities as their counterparts
As part of these activities, and with the support of our Indigenous Peoples Advisory Board, we are commissioning new content that highlights the challenges, inequalities and injustices facing Indigenous communities. Content links to the UN SDGs and spans these four streams:
- Fairer Society explores the concept of stewardship as an essential element to creating and sustaining a fairer world
- Healthier Lives focuses in on the health and wellbeing of Indigenous communities, including culturally appropriate interventions
- Quality Education for All looks at diversifying the curriculum, with attention on inclusive learning
- Responsible Management examines diversity in the boardroom, including the involvement of underrepresented communities.
We understand there is much work ahead and many barriers to cross, but we’ll keep moving forward for change. We fully believe that as likeminded stakeholders come together in support of these issues, we can turn the tide on inequity and create an academic ecosystem that is inclusive of all and benefits all.Next: Inclusion in an Indigenous context