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On Grexit and Solidarity

There are two reasons for writing this post: One is to express my sincere gratitude to colleagues and friends who have come forward with generous offers of help, at what has been a challenging time for people in Greece; and the other is to pass along a very kind offer that may be of interest to Greece-based scholars whose publication plans have been disrupted by recent economic developments.

When information about the imposition of capital controls on the Greek banking system broke out, coupled with information about an impending Grexit, I was genuinely touched to receive multiple messages from friends abroad, who offered to help me by providing short-term liquidity or picking up the bill for various internet-based services until I was allowed to make international payments, and who even suggested paying for the plane tickets for an upcoming visit to the UK. What was even more touching than the offers of material solidarity was the overwhelming feeling of affective support and sympathy from people that mean a lot to me. For all this, I am grateful.

Now to the second part of this post: One of the less obvious implications of the recent financial crisis is that researchers in Greece no longer have access to subscription-based journals, because HEAL-link, the consortium that manages subscriptions for Greek universities, no longer has access to its funds. Moreover, international transactions are all-but-impossible, which means that researchers who prefer to take the Open Access route to publication cannot pay for Article Processing Charges (APCs). In the face of these difficulties, it was very encouraging to read that ScienceOpen are generously offering to waive APCs for any authors funded by Greek research institutions for the rest of 2015. Here are some relevant extracts from their announcement:

These unprecedented financial constraints have also caused Greek researchers to lose access to newly published research. This is because the Hellenic Academic Libraries Link (HEAL-Link) has terminated all licenses after being unable to collect the remaining half of the subscription budget for the current year. Although not a like-for-like replacement, ScienceOpen offers a valuable Open Access aggregation service with over 1.5 million articles that are freely available for everyone to use. We urge the Greek community to make full use of it now and in the future.

For Greek (and all) researchers who wish to have their voices heard in the international research community, we provide opportunities for those with five or more peer-reviewed publications on their ORCID to participate in Post-Publication Peer Review (PPPR) and share their expertise with the world.

For Earlier Career Researchers (ECR) in Greece, stymied by the lack of jobs and mobility, we pledge to make a special effort to highlight any articles published on our platform through social media and blog posts to elevate their visibility within the global community. You may find some more thoughts about ScienceOpen, Open Access, and PPPR for ECR in our blog roll here.

We hope that this offer goes some small way to demonstrating to the Greek research community that they are not alone and that our offices in Berlin, Boston and San Francisco stand in unity with them. We welcome other publishers to join this initiative.

Alexander Grossmann
President
ScienceOpen

I am sure that I speak on behalf of everyone I know in the Greek research community when I say that we are all truly thankful for this gesture of solidarity.


Featured Image: “Open Access promomateriaal”, by biblioteekje @ Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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