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PLOS expands its global footprint with a new presence in Asia

Author: Roheena Anand, Executive Director, PLOS Global Publishing Development

Open Science, when done well, should enable and facilitate global collaboration and participation. As part of our mission to transform scholarly communication, we want to increase equitable participation in Open Science. 

To achieve a fair and equitable open research future, we need to understand the contexts (cultural, political, economic) in which diverse research stakeholders and communities function. To do this, we need to embed ourselves in communities, so that we can listen to and learn from the whole range of stakeholders that make up those scholarly communication and research ecosystems. Via the networks and relationships that the Global Publishing Development team build, we can ensure the representation and inclusion of the needs and interests of regionally diverse stakeholders into our global business, so that they help us co-create pathways to equitable Open Science. 

In the last couple of years, we have expanded our presence around the globe in a number of different ways: in the first half of 2021 we partnered with the Training Centre in Communication in Nairobi, Kenya to build networks and relationships in Africa. In the second half, we established PLOS GmbH, our first (virtual) subsidiary in mainland Europe, based in Berlin, Germany. Now, I’m happy to announce that we’ve opened a new PLOS entity in Singapore, and our aim remains the same – to build networks and relationships both in that country and across Asia more widely. 

Our presences in Kenya and Germany have enabled us to collaborate with regional stakeholders and organizations to better meet the needs of local research communities. In Africa, we have signed Memoranda of Understanding with cross-continental stakeholders such as the East African Commission of Science & Technology and the African Association of Universities, aimed at increasing education, awareness and adoption of Open Science at both national and institutional levels. This is Open Science adoption in its broadest sense, whether engaging with the philosophical principles of transparency, accessibility and inclusion and its potential to increase equitable participation, or from a purely practical perspective. In Europe and Germany, being on the ground has meant that we can be part of conversations with consortia and institutions, one result of which has been signing our first national agreement in Germany.

Elaine Tham is leading our efforts in Singapore: she joined us late last year as our Regional Director for Publishing Development in Asia and brings a wealth of STM publishing industry experience to PLOS. She has worked at IOP Publishing, Cambridge University Press and Springer Nature, where her roles involved development and implementation of Asia Pacific regional publishing and partnerships strategy, including content acquisition and community engagement, as well as managing book and journal portfolios in various subject areas, and managing teams across different continents. Elaine’s role is to advocate for Open Science at a local level and via the relationships formed, aim to advance Open Science adoption. She’ll be engaging with our author and editorial board communities, as well as our institutional partners, in Asia, growing our networks in this crucial region.

Our presence in Singapore is another visible way we are moving our mission forward and including the broadest range of voices, globally. We look forward to strengthening our relationships with our current partners and building new relationships with other organizations. Watch this space for our progress.

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