Let it flow: COVID-19 pandemic underscores need to share research; but how will it work

“In a way, options such as Plan S and the nation-wide subscription policy [proposed in India] worsen inequal ities between scholars from developing and developed countries and between researchers from rich and poor universities. Clearly, better models are needed to ensure open access to research.”


ESC Publications Committee: scope, successes, and challenges 2009–20 | Cardiovascular Research | Oxford Academic

“Currently, all ESC journals are publishing with a subscription model (except ESC Heart Failure and soon EHJ Digital Health), whereby readers or their institution pay, while submitting is free. The editors label 1–2 papers of each issue as Editor’s Choice which are freely accessible, while the remaining papers become open only after 12?months. The hybrid model has the big advantage that it provides funding to run large editorial offices, as required for high impact journals. Of note, editorial services, statistical reviewing, illustrations, as well as news sections require resources. Not the least, subscription provides income for educational societies such as the ESC and many others a service for their members.

Recently, the Welcome Trust, and the European Union, presented Plan S to make open access mandatory for all journals. Plan S would change the business model of publishing completely. Under this regimen, the authors have to pay, while for readers access is free. While open access provides immediate access, also hybrid journal such as the EHJ get 12 million downloads per year (Figure 1B). A disadvantage of open access is the huge manuscript handling fees required for high impact journals which would be a burden for authors from less affluent economies. Therefore, the ESC PubComm took the stand that hybrid journals should continue to be allowed. Also, few open access journals have reached acceptable impact factors. Whether or not Plan S will be able to change publishing remains to be seen. To that end, the decision of US journals and of the National Institute of Health will be essential….”

Knowledge Unlatched Strikes Again and Again | Jeff Pooley

“With a hat tip to the indispensable Richard Poynder, here is a quick follow up to yesterday’s post on Knowledge Unlatched’s latest move to disguise its for-profit status. I focused on KU’s Open Research Community (ORC), launched last year as an implied nonprofit. In yesterday’s post, I focused on ORC’s “Community Manager” Pablo Markin and KU head Sven Fund.

The plot is quite a bit thicker, though I won’t do the topic—KU and Sven Fund’s persistent failure to disclose—justice in this short follow-up….”

Knowledge Unlatched Strikes Again and Again | Jeff Pooley

“With a hat tip to the indispensable Richard Poynder, here is a quick follow up to yesterday’s post on Knowledge Unlatched’s latest move to disguise its for-profit status. I focused on KU’s Open Research Community (ORC), launched last year as an implied nonprofit. In yesterday’s post, I focused on ORC’s “Community Manager” Pablo Markin and KU head Sven Fund.

The plot is quite a bit thicker, though I won’t do the topic—KU and Sven Fund’s persistent failure to disclose—justice in this short follow-up….”

Achieving Open Access in Physics | News Releases | The Optical Society

“We as physics societies exist to ensure that physics delivers on its exceptional potential to benefit society. We recognise the important role of universal access to knowledge in achieving this goal and are therefore committed to making open access (OA) to physics research a reality. We welcome the increased policy momentum towards open science publishing but urge all stakeholders to ensure that the routes by which we achieve OA preserve the diversity, quality and financial sustainability of the peer-reviewed publishing upon which our research community depends.

Physics has long embraced open science and OA to research results. Physicists were among the first to share preprints via arXiv (1991), launch fully OA journals such as Optics Express (1997) and New Journal of Physics (1998), and implement innovative OA business models like SCOAP3 (2014). We continue to invest in launching high-quality OA journals, such as Physical Review X and Optica, and have established a range of transformative agreements1 with institutions to facilitate their transition to OA. Over the past decade, such proactive engagement has resulted in an average annual growth in OA physics articles of more than 25%, compared with an overall average annual growth in physics articles of around 2%2.

Whilst there has been considerable progress in creating fully OA physics journals, more than 85% of all physics articles continue to be published in hybrid journals3. Hybrid journals therefore still have an essential role to play in balancing the expansion of OA with preserving researchers’ freedom to publish in the most appropriate journal for their research. The ability of these journals to transition sustainably is challenged by the prospect of free and unrestricted distribution of accepted manuscripts without concomitant funding for the peer review and publication costs involved4. We are concerned that policies such as the proposed cOAlition S Rights Retention Strategy would undermine the viability of high-quality hybrid journals and mean that many physics researchers no longer have an adequate range of options or freedom of choice in where they publish their work….”

The push to make scientific studies available for free – Big Think

“Launched in 2018, cOAlition S is trying to make all of the world’s state-backed scientific papers open-access.

Prestigious publishers like Springer Nature and Elsevier have now adopted a Plan S option for researchers.

While more studies will be available to read for free, some of the expense is being passed back to authors, which could limit research in the future….”

De Gruyter Position on Plan S

[Undated] “Plan S has little to no regard for the Humanities and Social Sciences. The creators of Plan S have used the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine) research ecosystem as their main model and have presented a “one size fits all” approach with a focus on journals – which are key for STEM – and have practically ignored monographs – which are of greater importance in HSS. A single, unified approach to delivering open access across the full spectrum of academic publishing is unfeasible.
A plan driven by payments from direct grants is incompatible with disciplines and sub-fields where there is no direct grant funding. Funding for the humanities, unlike funding for much of STEM, is not usually centralized, and often comes from educational institutions directly, rather than well-endowed foundations. Furthermore, unlike STEM, many disciplines also have a more national focus, and available funding is therefore even more difficult to identify and secure.
It is not possible for the vast majority of HSS (Humanities and Social Science) journals to simply ‘flip’ to APC-based open access. Many serve relatively small research communities and combine low publication volumes with high rejection rates. They will not be able to provide the same level of service to their communities on the basis of a small number of capped APCs….”


“The Library Copyright Alliance (“LCA”) has serious concerns with the discussion draft of the Digital Copyright Act of 2021 released today by Senator Thom Tillis, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property. LCA consists of the American Library Association, the Association of College and Research Libraries, and the Association of Research Libraries. These associations collectively represent over 100,000 libraries in the United States employing more than 300,000 librarians and other personnel. The discussion draft proposes sweeping changes to the safe harbors for online service providers contained in the Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. These changes would threaten libraries’ ability to provide internet access to Americans in every community across the country. They would lead to increased filtering, which would limit free speech and fair use rights. They would result in less consumer privacy, and increased risk of the termination of consumers’ internet access….”


Open access takes flight | Science

“In 2018, a group of mostly European funders sent shock waves through the world of scientific publishing by proposing an unprecedented rule: The scientists they funded would be required to make journal articles developed with their support immediately free to read when published.

The new requirement, which takes effect starting this month, seeks to upend decades of tradition in scientific publishing, whereby scientists publish their research in journals for free and publishers make money by charging universities and other institutions for subscriptions. Advocates of the new scheme, called Plan S (the “S” stands for the intended “shock” to the status quo), hope to destroy subscription paywalls and speed scientific progress by allowing findings to be shared more freely. It’s part of a larger shift in scientific communication that began more than 20 years ago and has recently picked up steam.

Scientists have several ways to comply with Plan S, including by paying publishers a fee to make an article freely available on a journal website, or depositing the article in a free public repository where anyone can download it. The mandate is the first by an international coalition of funders, which now includes 17 agencies and six foundations, including the Wellcome Trust and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, two of the world’s largest funders of biomedical research….”

Does the rise of immediate green Open Access undermine progress? A response from cOAlition S to the OASPA open post | Plan S

“The primary argument made by the signatories to the blog post is that authors, if they have a choice between making either the AAM or VoR OA, will invariably opt for the AAM on the grounds that they don’t have to pay a publishing cost.  No evidence is provided to substantiate this claim.

Moreover, this argument is far too simplistic. It ignores the fact that if an institution has participated in, say, a “Read and Publish” deal, it has already paid to make the VoR OA.  For example, Wiley, one of the signatories to the OASPA blog post, have such a deal in place in the UK which in 2020 has resulted in more than 6300 VoR articles being made OA. This equates to around 80% of UK-funded research published by Wiley in this year. In this example, both Wellcome and UKRI OA funds have been used to contribute to the “publish” pot.

The argument also assumes that researchers are paying publication fees directly, and thus would prefer to use those funds on other activities.  In practice however, publication costs are being met directly by the institution (via Read and Publish deals etc.) and/or by the funder….

However, even though Plan S was announced more than 2 years ago – and will be implemented within the next four weeks – many publishers have not developed any Plan S-aligned publishing policies.  As such, the RRS provides a means by which our funded researchers can continue to seek publication of their choice and remain compliant with their funders’ OA policy.

We also find the characterisation of repositories – a limbo where multiple, inferior versions of articles are said to languish, with no access to the underlying data etc. – to be painfully at odds with the reality of many repositories.  For example, Europe PMC – supported by several cOAlition S funders including the Dutch Research Council (NWO), the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), WHO, UKRI and Wellcome – accepts AAMs and provides a number of value-added services.  These include mining the text to provide links to chemical compounds, genetic sequences, etc; linking the submission to the relevant grant ID and any preprint associated with the submission; as well as an unambiguous link to the VoR on the publisher site….

To conclude, cOAlition S organisations are prepared to pay publishers a fair, reasonable, and transparent fee for the services they provide to make the VoR OA. And, though we believe there is added value in the VoR, to ensure this model is widely adopted, publishers need to demonstrate to the research community that the value provided by making this version OA is commensurate with the price charged.”