100 articles every ecologist can actually read?
Reading scientific articles is fundamental for researchers, not only to keep pace with advances in their field, but also to know those giants on whose shoulders they are standing. In this sense, Courchamp and Bradshaw (2018) recently proposed a list of 100 seminal papers deemed to be of major importance in ecology, thus providing a general ‘must-read’ list for any new ecologist. The authors metaphorically speak of ecology as an ever-growing brick wall of published evidence. In order to quantify the degree of interference of the paywall over the wall of science, we took the opportunity given by the 100 seminal papers list and registered how many articles have been made universally and freely available by the publisher. Of the 100 scientific papers proposed as foundations of the wall of ecological knowledge, 66 are behind the paywall, with a total cost of US$1,560. This paywall exacerbates the existing asymmetries in ecological research between researchers from developed countries and the Global South. Diversity in research, as in ecological systems, is a source of robustness. Publishing high-quality articles in regional open peer-reviewed scientific journals is a suitable way to valorize Global South ecology, helping minimize the existing asymmetries.
Keywords: ecology, information access, paywall, inequity.
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