Global systems for research dissemination, dominated by a few major publishers, continue to restrict access to significant amounts of new research, and many cannot afford to pay often high publishing charges. Decades of initiatives to improve access to research have yielded only modest successes. In 2023, the research landscape is shifting. Emerging economies are producing ever more of the world’s research, and some are pioneering alternative models for research publishing. Without significant reform, research publishing—and wider research systems—risk fracturing into regional silos, thereby entrenching inequities and undermining our collective ability to face global challenges. Ahead of the 2023 G20 Summit in India, this paper argues that the G20 is well placed to provide the leadership needed to ensure that research is a global public good by elevating the discourse on research publishing reform and acknowledging that this is not merely a niche concern for researchers but an important global challenge that underpins human progress. It also argues that by advocating for effective policy change vehicles, championing equitable funding mechanisms, and driving policy harmonisation, the G20 can help to dismantle the barriers to research access created by the current publishing system.
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