Plan S: Achieving Universal Open Access to Research Papers is Becoming Unavoidable

“Reflecting on the recent consultation period for Plan S, a funder-led proposal for achieving universal open access to research papers, Jon Tennant argues that whereas, the consultation has in many ways followed the contours of previous OA debates, OA has now become an unavoidable part of academic life and has moved into the mainstream. For this reason, he argues that it is vital now, more than ever, to ensure that OA discussions are conducted as broadly and transparently as possible. …

Plan S has added a sense of urgency to the debate and drawn more academics into the bizarre, and complex, world of scholarly publishing, which, by and large, is not something that most researchers have any sort of formal training in. This has drawbacks, as in a field that has a rich history of research and debate, many actors can feel like they are having the same conversations again and again. More generally, I am also concerned about how the different information being shared about Plan S, and OA, is having an impact on the wider understanding of the issues, as well as the development of Plan S itself.

The whole point of Plan S was to disrupt the status quo and transform the world of scholarly publishing. If it yields to those who it is trying to disrupt, at the cost of the greater good, than that’s not exactly progress. Open Access is not a business model, so let us stop treating it as such. I believe that science can help us shape the world to be better, and can help solve the enormous problems that our planet currently faces. I do not believe that having it under the control of mega-corporations and elite individuals or institutes helps to realise this, or is in the principles of fundamental human rights.

Those behind Plan S need to come out and vocally state what they stand for, and what they stand against. Cut through the noise, expose the vested interests, and show who they are working for.”

Plan S – Time to decide what we stand for | Impact of Social Sciences

“Reflecting on the recent consultation period for Plan S, a funder led proposal for achieving universal open access to research papers, Jon Tennant argues that whereas, the consultation has in many ways followed the contours of previous OA debates, OA has now become an unavoidable part of academic life and has moved into the mainstream. For this reason, he argues that it is vital now, more than ever, to ensure that OA discussions are conducted as broadly and transparently as possible. …

The whole point of Plan S was to disrupt the status quo and transform the world of scholarly publishing. If it yields to those who it is trying to disrupt, at the cost of the greater good, than that’s not exactly progress. Open Access is not a business model, so let us stop treating it as such. I believe that science can help us shape the world to be better, and can help solve the enormous problems that our planet currently faces. I do not believe that having it under the control of mega-corporations and elite individuals or institutes helps to realise this, or is in the principles of fundamental human rights.

Those behind Plan S need to come out and vocally state what they stand for, and what they stand against. Cut through the noise, expose the vested interests, and show who they are working for….”

Feedback on the Implementation Guidance of Plan S Generates Large Public Response | Plan S

“Over 600 individuals and organisations provided feedback to cOAlition S on the implementation guidance of Plan S. Originating from over 40 countries, respondents providing feedback include researchers, librarians and libraries, publishers and editors, universities, learned societies, research funders and performers, and other interested citizens and organisations.

“We would like to thank the individuals and organisations who took the time to react and provide feedback. Never before have our diverse scholarly communities seen a debate on Open Access and the future of scholarly communications play out on such a global scale” said David Sweeney, Executive Chair of Research England (UKRI) and co-chair of the cOAlition S task force.

Responses are now being analysed and will feed into an updated version of the Plan S implementation guidance. An initial analysis of the feedback will be released in the spring and all feedback responses will be made openly available….”

Plan S: What’s the point of policy consultations? – Samuel Moore

“At first glance, consultations are an opportunity for organisations and individuals to shape a particular policy intervention through their responses. The architects of Plan S have granted the public an opportunity to voice their concerns with the expectation that these concerns are both heard and taken onboard in the resulting policy. This reading appeals to liberal-democratic notions of governance that assume the correct way to proceed will prevail, or that a compromise can be reached, if people can air their grievances through open and frank exchange of ideas.

The problem with such a conception of policy consultations is that it isn’t in clear how they should work: Whose comments should be taken into account (and are they weighted somehow)? Who gets to speak for whom? How do the Plan S architects incorporate such divergent and often oppositional feedback? Put simply, it is unclear how such feedback could ever result in a representative and fair process if all responses have to be accounted for somehow. Policy consultations are thus not an exercise in radical democracy….

In my PhD thesis, I looked at the creation of the HEFCE policy for open access for the next Research Excellence Framework. From reading a number of the consultation responses, and interviewing one of the policymakers at HEFCE, it became clear to me that the consultation was used to position actors in blocs so as to justify certain elements of the policy. For example, HEFCE were able to point to the consultation responses from learned societies and commercial publishers in order to make the case for a longer embargo length, even though many responses from different actors argued that embargos should be shorter. Learned societies and publishers were positioned by HEFCE as two different kinds of actors (the voices of academics and publishers) even though they both have a financial interest in the profits of the academic publishing industry. The consultation was thus used to justify (rather than reform) certain elements of the policy in accordance with the wishes of certain actors. The divergent responses to the consultation are helpful because they allow policymakers to cherrypick evidence that can make the policy more acceptable and seem more thought through….”

A response from Robert Kiley, Head of Open Research at the Wellcome Trust, to UCL’s “Response to Plan S” | UCL Open Access

“UCL is pleased to post Robert Kiley’s response to the UCL Town Hall meeting and UCL’s Plan S consultation response as a contribution to the ongoing consultation over Plan S.

“As the cOAlition S representative at the UCL Town Hall meeting I’d like to thank UCL for their response to the Plan S guidance document and for giving me the opportunity to respond to some of the points raised.” …

I was disappointed by the UCL response to Plan S which calls for a “wholescale rethink of the strategy and timelines for moving to 100% Open Access”. …”

PRESS RELEASE: Researchers Respond to Implementation of Plan S | Eurodoc

joint response to the implementation guidance for Plan S has today been issued by three organisations representing early-career and senior researchers in Europe. The response by the European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers (Eurodoc), the Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA), and the Young Academy of Europe (YAE) offers concrete recommendations on the proposed guidance for implementing Open Access via Plan S.

Our three organisations represent a broad spectrum of researchers in Europe: Eurodoc represents 100000+ doctoral candidates and postdoctoral researchers from 29 national associations across Europe; MCAA has 10000+ members who are alumni fellows of the Marie Sk?odowska-Curie Actions (MSCA); YAE consists of 200+ outstanding and recognised researchers in Europe. We all strongly support the main goals of Open Science and Plan S.

The joint response builds upon previous recommendations by our organisations on the principles of Plan S and aims to ensure its realistic implementation from the perspective of European researchers. Eurodoc President Gareth O’Neill: “Plan S has shaken the academic community awake and created a lively discussion on Open Access publishing. cOAlition S has addressed some key concerns from researchers in the technical guidance but still leaves other issues open and sets too strict standards for the desired broad adoption of Plan S.” …”

Joint Statement on Implementation Guidance for Plan S

“Plan S is an initiative by cOAlition S to achieve full and immediate Open Access to scientific publications after 01 January 2020 in Europe. At the heart of the plan are 10 principles currently being developed into a set of implementation guidelines. We, representatives of early-career and senior researchers across Europe, have already commented on Plan S and hereby reaffirm our general support and offer our views on the implementation guidance….”

Plan S: how important is open access publishing? | Times Higher Education (THE)

Dislike of gold open access is also partly responsible for researchers’ opposition to Plan S. Lynn Kamerlin, professor of structural biology at Uppsala University, is one of the instigators of the open letter against it. While she pledges strong support for open access, she is happy with the current rate of progress and sees the recent “explosion” in the use of preprint servers as illustrative of the range of routes towards it. She fears that the details of Plan S’ “embargo requirements and repository technical requirements…are so draconian that paid-for gold becomes the easiest way to fulfil them”. This will convert the “nudges” towards gold in existing funder mandates (which she supports) into a “shove”, which will be “a disaster for the research community” because it will disadvantage those unable to pay article processing charges and “seriously jeopardise the much more rigorous quality control standards provided by high-quality society journals compared to the high-volume for-profit business model, which has an inbuilt conflict of interest”.

Nor is Kamerlin alone in expressing a concern that the allegedly lower standards of peer review practised by fully open access journals have compromised quality. But, for Suber, debating quality rather misses the point. “Yes, there is some low-quality open access work, but there’s also low-quality subscription journal work, and people who step back [to see the bigger picture] always acknowledge that,” he says. “Quality and access are completely independent of each other. Open access isn’t a kind of peer review, it’s a kind of dissemination.”

However, he agrees with Kamerlin that the “green” form of open access, whereby academics post work that is in subscription journals on their institutional repositories or elsewhere…is another good option….”

Feedback on Draft ACRL Research Agenda – Deadline Extended to January 11 – ACRL Insider

“ACRL’s Research and Scholarly Environment Committee together with Rebecca Kennison and Nancy Maron – the authors selected by ACRL to design, develop, and deliver a new ACRL research agenda for scholarly communications and the research environment – are grateful for the feedback received thus far on the draft document for public comment. To ensure the robust community engagement continues, the deadline to comment has been extended to COB Friday, January 11, 2019….

Your input is crucial for ensuring the final document is as helpful as possible both in guiding academic librarians on actions that can be taken now to promote a more open system of scholarship and identifying essential areas that merit further investigation….”