Open access at a crossroads

“Publishers of scientific journals are facing renewed threats to their business models from both sides of the Atlantic. As European science funders promote a radical new open-access (OA) publishing mandate they unveiled last month, the Trump administration is considering changes to a five-year-old directive governing the public release of research literature sponsored by federal agencies.”

EU open-access envoy urges foundations to join Plan S

“Organisations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust should join Plan S to continue their “moral leadership” on open research, Plan S founder and European Commission open-access envoy Robert-Jan Smits told Research Europe. He was speaking on his return from a weeklong tour of federal agencies, universities and learned societies in the United States, where he was attempting to boost international support for the plan….

Smits claimed that the feedback on Plan S he received in the US was mostly that independent foundations need to join….

Smits has said that Plan S is based on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s policies. These include that papers reporting research it has funded must be made openly available immediately and with a licence that permits unrestricted reuse. The foundation has forced some of the world’s most prestigious journals to change their policies so that they comply.

During the trip, Smits sought to quell fears that Plan S would undermine the so-called green open-access model, in which papers are placed in repositories, usually after a publisher-imposed embargo period. Plan S will not accept embargo periods, causing some concern that it will only support the gold open-access model in which papers are made openly available immediately, usually by paying publishers an article-processing charge.

Smits said that Plan S leaves “ample room” for repositories, article preprints and self-archiving. He also admitted that organisations in the US flagged the plan’s lack of recognition for publishers using the so-called diamond and platinum open-access models, which do not charge authors publication fees….

According to Smits, those he met who were most enthusiastic about Plan S were librarians and researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University.

More cautiously interested parties, he said, were the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. Smits said this was because the OSTP is awaiting a new director who will set the agenda for open access at the federal level. Research Europe has approached these organisations for comment.

Those who were most sceptical of the plan were the learned societies, Smits said. These organisations rely on income from journal subscription charges and fear that the loss of revenue caused by a switch to open access would affect activities such as the organisation of conferences, he said….”

Exit Memo from the [White House] Office of Science and Technology Policy [OSTP]

“ACTION 4: Increase Access to High-Quality STEM Education and Drive Innovation for Education….Science, technology, and innovation can be leveraged to improve educational outcomes through new models of grant-making; open licensing of educational resources developed through Federal funding; investments in infrastructure and educational-technology R&D to support next-generation learning; redesign the high school experience to make it more engaging; and multi-sector collaborations to increase the adoption of learning technologies….ACTION 7: Maximize Economic and Social Return from Federal Government Data and the Results of Federally Funded R&D….The Obama Administration has leveraged open data and data science to inform and support Federal agencies and programs, including engaging data-innovation stakeholders to support agency missions. President Obama ordered the default state of Federal Government information resources to be open and machine readable, followed by an Open Data Policy issued by OMB….The Federal Government invests approximately $140 billion per year in R&D, which results in hundreds of thousands of peer-reviewed scholarly publications and growing volumes of digital research data every year. In February 2013, the Director of OSTP issued a memorandum directing all Federal departments and agencies with R&D expenditures of more than $100 million per year to develop plans for increasing access to the scholarly publications and digital data resulting from Federally funded research. More than 20 Federal agencies responsible for more than 99 percent of Federal R&D have completed and are implementing their public-access plans….”