Research Publication and Open-Access

The FMHS-PGSA would like to raise a concern about research publication and open-access.

What is the issue?

Driven by Coalition S (, many reputable journals are switching over to an open-access model where one pays to publish. Many funding agencies are now requiring their researchers to publish exclusively in open-access journals (notably, Wellcome Trust, NIH) – where potential international collaborators may derive their funding from and are compelled to only publish in open-access journals.

Given that publishing is important in assisting in doctoral student retention (1), that publishing can cost hundreds to thousands of USD (2,3), and that doctoral students are prohibited to use PRESS account money for publication costs; the system is currently geared to set students up to fail. From the last report in 2013, the University spends $15 million on just four publishing companies (4) and since it is likely these companies will soon be entirely moving to an open-access model (e.g. Elsevier is intending to go fully open access by 2021 (5), the University will no longer have to spend money on journal licensing fees.


What did we do?

We petitioned for journal licensing fees to be redirected to a pool of money for all researchers (including all postgraduate students) to publish unhindered.

FMHS PGSA raised the issue at the FMHS Research Committee and at the Postgraduate Studies Committee (PGSC). We were apparently laughed at in the PGSC. The PGSC suggested that we could use our PReSS account funds to fund publication costs and this was put forward at the Central Board of Graduate Studies (BOGS). Central BOGS rejected our petition and no action was taken.



What’s next?

The UoA has since revised their publishing agreements, but funding for publications remains an issue for many postgraduate students. FMHS PGSA plans to set up their own ‘Publication Grants’ for FMHS postgraduate students in 2022. Watch this space!


  1. Lobo, A., & Poyatos Matas, C. (2010). War of attrition: A prognostic remedial approach to student retention. Saarbrücken: Lambert.

Better Postgraduate Support is Our Mission

University of Auckland, Grafton Campus