Higher education leaders in South Africa are looking to move to a European model for open access (OA) publishing of scholarly articles as soon as possible, according to the body that coordinates the country’s public universities. The plan to move to the new model has been slammed as unduly expensive by some experts. At a meeting held at the end of last year by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), critics said only those with deep pockets would be able to pay the article processing charges (APCs) levied by many of the most widely read journals under the proposed new framework. Universities South Africa (USAf) Chief Executive Ahmed Bawa dismissed the claims, emphasising the open-access benefits of the proposed model which follows in the footsteps of the Plan S framework launched last year by the European Union with the goal of making scholarly reports freely available. However, the success of the approach being promoted by USAf depends to a large extent on developments in Europe, China, India, Japan, Brazil and California where unified efforts have forced the large publishing houses to strike transformative and pay-to-publish deals. The success of the proposed approach also depends on the unity of purpose among institutions within the domestic research system.
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