Scientists should be concerned about this, because we need a diversity of ideas and information in the published record. Where the underlying science is sound, we should be making extra effort to guide papers from developing-country into the record, for instance by offering free English-language revision and fee waivers. Where the science needs some refinement that should be pointed out constructively and supportively.
So the case in this twitter thread is concerning:
https://mobile.twitter.com/heba_kurdi/s ... 72643?s=09Submitted a paper to a @SpringerNature
journal and was shocked with one of the reviewers' comments. Apparently, scientists outside the West are incapable of conducting competitive research on their own— we need Western scientists to hold our hand @AcademicChatter
It's not an attempt to empower researchers to publish their own research, but a suggestion that they need their hand held by 'more experienced' Western collaborators (without knowing, of course, how much of their career the researcher in question had spent outside of KSA) - and coupled with the suggestion that their request might be impossible, in which case, why make it?
We need to be better than this. A rising tide lifts all boats, as they say - there are massive inequalities in the topics that get researched and the perspectives that get published, and redressing this imbalance is to everyone's benefit (as we'll probably see, for example, with more investigation into COVID's origins). I hope this reviewer and anyone with similar attitudes gets hit by a ton of bricks, to be honest.
*This isn't an uncontroversial phrase to use, as 'development' is a continuous process. But the alternatives aren't always satisfactory: in this case, Saudi Arabia certainly isn't a 'low income' country, and 'global south' includes rich Anglophone countries like Australia that don't face all these problems. Open to suggestions.