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Affordabee: Low-Cost Open Access Publishing


Led by Caleb Kibet, Kennedy Mwangi and Jennifer Mutisya

We envision a platform that can help students and early-career researchers identify journals that can offer waivers or subsidies, and how to access them. We seek a platform that will reduce the APC cost barrier for students from resource-poor settings.

Aim

Adam is an MSc student at a local university in Kenya. He has to work part time to pay his school fees. Adam does the same through his research project to pay for bench fees at a local research institution. Through sweat and long nights, he manages to get a manuscript ready, as he has to publish to graduate. Adam recently attended a seminar where he was introduced to open science. He is excited about his first paper and wants to publish open access. His excitement is cut short when he realises he has to pay a US$3,000 article processing charge (APC) to get his manuscript published. What are his options? Are there publishers that can offer him a waiver or a subsidy? Or, are there some funding opportunities he can tap into for support?

We envision a platform that can help Adam identify journals that can offer him waivers or subsidies, and how to access them; a platform that will point him to funding opportunities to help cover the APC. We seek a platform that will reduce the APC cost barrier for students from resource-poor settings, like Adam. 

Work at the Sprint

We will approach the challenge in levels:

  • Convert the LowCostOpenAccess – a resource for people to get information on journals where they can publish at a waived or subsidised APC – to an interactive website
  • Prototype a quick page to host the content we already have at LowCostOpenAccess: 
  • Build a web scraper to get the data from publisher pages automatically, and existing APIs. We will seek to build upon and take advantage of any existing resource or data that support our vision. 
  • Most of the open-access publication funds available are from well-established universities. Are there funding opportunities available for students in lower-income countries? 
  • Share the platform with prospective users, seek feedback via a survey, and incorporate the feedback into the platform design. 

We are looking for…

Contributors with expertise in web development and UX, as well as users with experience in publishing and open access to test and provide feedback, and communicators to document and add content to the site. Those with expertise in data science, such as web scraping, would also be welcome.