Rebalancing the Natural-Science Research Ecosystem: Trends and Recommendations

Analyzing the Key Points

The key points of the provided text can be summarized as follows:

  • The world’s natural-science research ecosystem is currently biased towards the priorities of high-income countries.
  • Funders, publishers, and scholarly databases should take steps to rebalance this bias.

Potential Future Trends in the Natural-Science Research Ecosystem

The natural-science research ecosystem is constantly evolving, and there are several potential future trends that can be identified. These trends may help address the current bias towards high-income countries and contribute to a more balanced global research landscape.

1. Increased Funding for Research in Low and Middle-Income Countries

One potential trend is the increase in funding for research projects in low and middle-income countries. Funders play a crucial role in shaping the research priorities, and by allocating more resources to underrepresented regions, they can help rebalance the natural-science research ecosystem. This can be achieved through partnerships, grants, and targeted funding programs.

2. Open Access and Global Collaboration

Another potential trend is the continued growth of open access publishing and increased global collaboration. Open access allows for the unrestricted access to research articles, making scientific knowledge more accessible to researchers worldwide. By embracing open access publishing, publishers can contribute to breaking down barriers and ensuring a more equitable sharing of scientific information. Additionally, fostering global collaboration can facilitate knowledge exchange between researchers from different countries and backgrounds.

3. Diversification of Scholarly Databases

Scholarly databases play a crucial role in disseminating research findings. To address the current bias, these databases should aim to diversify their content and actively seek contributions from researchers in low and middle-income countries. This can be achieved through targeted outreach programs, partnership agreements, and editorial policies that encourage a more inclusive representation of scientific research from around the world.

Predictions for the Future

Based on the identified potential trends, it is possible to make some predictions for the future of the natural-science research ecosystem:

  1. Increased Global Collaboration: As technology continues to advance, researchers from across the globe will have more opportunities to collaborate and share their expertise. This will lead to a more inclusive and diverse research landscape.
  2. Greater Knowledge Exchange: Open access publishing will become the norm rather than the exception, allowing scientists worldwide to freely access and build upon existing research. This will accelerate the pace of scientific discovery and ensure that valuable knowledge is not limited to a select few.
  3. Shift in Research Priorities: With increased funding for research in low and middle-income countries, we can expect to see a shift in research priorities. This will lead to a broader range of topics being investigated and a better understanding of global challenges.

Recommendations for the Industry

In order to promote a more equitable research ecosystem, there are several recommendations that can be made for the various stakeholders:

Funders: Increase funding opportunities specifically targeted at researchers from low and middle-income countries. Encourage collaboration between institutions from different regions and prioritize projects that address global challenges.

Publishers: Embrace open access publishing models and ensure affordable access to journals and articles. Actively seek contributions from underrepresented regions and support initiatives that promote diversity and inclusion in scientific publishing.

Scholarly Databases: Diversify content by actively seeking contributions from researchers in low and middle-income countries. Establish partnerships with institutions and organizations that promote global research collaboration. Implement editorial policies that encourage a more balanced representation of scientific research.


The natural-science research ecosystem has been heavily biased towards the priorities of high-income countries, but there are promising trends that can help rebalance this bias. Increased funding for research in low and middle-income countries, open access publishing, and diversification of scholarly databases are some potential future trends that can contribute to a more equitable research landscape. By implementing recommendations for funders, publishers, and scholarly databases, we can ensure that scientific knowledge is accessible to all and that research priorities reflect global challenges. It is crucial for all stakeholders to work together to create a research ecosystem that fosters collaboration, inclusivity, and diversity.


Nature, Published online: 20 December 2023; doi:10.1038/d41586-023-04022-1