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New: Open Access publication in the Spotlight - 'The Effects of Migrant Background and Parent Gender on Child Protection Decision-Making'

Date:31 August 2020
Author:Open Access Team
Open Access article in the spotlight: September 2020
Open Access article in the spotlight: September 2020

This month, the University of Groningen Library (UB) launches a new initiative: the open access publication in the spotlight. Each month, the library’s open access team will select a recent publication by UG authors that was published open access. This publication is highlighted via e.g., the social media, newsletter and the website. 

The article in the spotlight for the month of September 2020 is entitled  The Effects of Migrant Background and Parent Gender on Child Protection Decision-Making: An Intersectional Analysis , co-authored by Floor Middel and Mónica López López (Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences).


Minoritized ethno-racial groups or women could be negatively impacted by child protection decisions. Previous studies reported that both ethnicity and the gender of the parent that maltreated the child were associated with an increased likelihood that child protection agencies provide services after an investigation, or that children are placed out of their homes. In this study, we investigated whether migration background and the gender of the parent who maltreated the child seem associated with the decision to open a case for continuing child protection services. We systematically coded and analyzed 1189 case files from child protection agencies in England, the Netherlands, and Germany. We conducted logistic regression analysis to investigate for disparities in decision-making. Our intersectional analysis showed that maltreatment committed by mothers and migrant fathers was associated with an increased likelihood to provide ongoing child protection services. However, country specific analyses showed that these effects were most pertinent in the English sample. These findings suggest the need to address migration background and gender disparities in child protection practice.

We asked Floor and Mónica a few questions about their publication:

This article was published open access, was open access a deliberate choice?

It was a deliberate choice to publish our paper open access. This enables researchers who do not work at universities that have subscribed for this specific journal, policymakers, people who work for instance at NGO’s, or laypeople to access our paper without annoying paywalls. We believe that the increased visibility of open access articles results into an increased impact of open access publications. Lastly, the funder of our research (Horizon 2020) encourages researchers to publish their work open access.

How did you select the journal in which to publish?

Three important reasons for selecting the Journal of Child Abuse & Neglect (Elsevier) were the scope of the journal, its impact, and favorable open access publishing opportunities. The topic of our paper fitted well with the scope of this journal. When writing our publication, we organically cited quite some papers of this journal because they have published more papers on the disparities in child welfare decision-making, which is also the topic of our manuscript. In addition, we selected this journal because it has a high impact in our field of study and is one of the Q1 journals. Lastly, using the journal browser of the UG, we also found out that the UG library had negotiated a favorable open access publishing agreement with Elsevier. We were able to publish our paper gold open access without paying additional cost besides the regular publishing costs.

Could you reflect on your experiences with open access and open science in general?

An important aspect related to open science to us is participatory research, in which research participants and child welfare organizations are active allies in research projects. This implies that research questions are co-constructed and that participants and child welfare organizations benefit to an increased extent from the findings derived from the research project. In project Audre we researched the experiences of LGBTQIA+ youth and young adults in out-of-home care in collaboration with young co-researchers. A participatory research approach can help us  to promote research ownership and to minimize power imbalances between researchers and the groups we study. This is very important to prevent the extraction of the topic we are studying from its social context. In our projects, we try to promote as much as possible a democratic or non-oppressive research process, where care experienced young people can engage in key decisions throughout the course of the research process. For instance, they are co-authors of our scientific articles, policy papers or conference presentations. This is one of our ways of extending open science beyond the Ivory Tower.

Another key aspect related to open science to us is to translate our research findings to professionals and policymakers who are working in the field of child protection. We recognize that not every professional or policymaker can make time to read academic publications (even though they are available open access). Therefore, we strive to inform this group about our research by providing presentations in their workplace and writing publications in Dutch and other languages (see the website of our Project Hestia).

In our NWO Idea Generator Project, for which we are currently collecting data, we aim to share our research materials and dataset online. So far, we have little experience with sharing our data online, due to the sensitive character of the information collected in our research. We are looking forward to gain more experience about this aspect of open science in the near future. We are curious about how and whether sharing our data online will lead to more in depth conversations with colleagues about our research findings


Middel, F., López López, M., Fluke, J., & Grietens, H. (2020). The effects of migrant background and parent gender on child protection decision-making: An intersectional analysis. Child Abuse & Neglect, 104.

Read the full article

About Open Access publication in the Spotlight

The initiative wishes to emphasize the relevance of open access publishing for the visibility of research and to acknowledge open science best practices at the same time. Authors are given the opportunity to speak about their motivation to publish open access and their experience with it. Publications from all UG faculties will be included. 

If you would like us to highlight your open access publication here, please get in touch with us.

About the author

Open Access Team
The Open Access team of the University of Groningen Library

Link: /openaccess
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