Europe’s academic publishing system must become sustainable and equitable


In a statement published on (and dated) April 17, 2023, the Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities has expressed concerns over the unsustainability of the academic publishing system in Europe.

The statement, available on The Guild’s website, reads as follows:

The Guild expresses its concerns over the current financial unsustainability of the academic publishing system in Europe. The rise of open-access models requiring article-processing charges (APCs) has worsened the issue, contributing to inequalities and dissuading researchers from publishing their work in the most appropriate outlets.

In response, The Guild strongly supports the draft of the Council conclusions on scholarly publishing in its calls to support non-APC-based open-access models, have APC commensurate to publication services provided, and to ensure academic publishing remains aimed at research excellence and integrity. We fully endorse the Council’s recognition of the increasing costs of paywalls for access to scientific publications as well as scholarly publishing. Therefore, The Guild calls for the development of alternative models that do not charge fees to authors or readers.

The Guild also emphasizes that the Member States must ensure researchers’ author’s retention rights and secondary publication rights and coordinate to harmonise the legislation across borders. The academic publishing system must prioritise the dissemination of high-quality research while upholding the principles of research integrity and academic freedom.

Finally, The Guild supports the Council’s recognition that researchers play a crucial role in the academic publishing ecosystem and that their contributions to the well-functioning of research communities should be better recognised in research assessment. We strongly encourage the creation of initiatives aiming to improve the quality, transparency, and efficiency of peer review mechanisms.

Julien Chicot, Senior Policy Officer at The Guild said: “Our universities are alarmed: their publication expenditures are hitting the ceiling! We welcome the efforts done by the Swedish presidency of the Council of the EU to give a strong impetus to a reform of the scholarly publication system. What we need is that this system comes back to its first and foremost objective: give all researchers the most appropriate, equitable, and effective means to disseminate, and access to, high-quality research outputs.”


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