Six Questions (with Answers!) about UC’s and Elsevier’s New Transformative Deal – The Scholarly Kitchen

“As is so often the case with transformative deals, this one is complex; it’s also somewhat controversial, and the scholarly communication discussion space has been buzzing with questions. The good news is that the UC-Elsevier MOU is publicly available and it answers quite a few of them — while also fully illustrating the complexity of the deal.

Here I’d like to focus on six questions that I’ve had about the new UC-Elsevier deal, and share the answers I was able to find….”

Open Access and Academic Freedom: Teasing Out Some Important Nuances – Anderson – – Development and Change – Wiley Online Library

Abstract:  Discussion of the ways in which open access (OA) and academic freedom interact is fraught for a number of reasons, not least of which is the unwillingness of some participants in the discussion to acknowledge that OA might have any implications for academic freedom at all. Thus, any treatment of such implications must begin with foundational questions. Most basic among them are: first, what do we mean by ‘open access’; second, what do we mean by ‘academic freedom’? The answers to these questions are not as obvious as one might expect (or hope), but when they are answered it becomes much easier to address a third, also very important, question: in what ways might OA and academic freedom interact? With every new OA mandate imposed by a government agency, institution of higher education, or funding organization, careful analysis of this issue becomes more urgent. This article attempts to sort out some of these issues, controversies and confusions.


Open Access, Plan S and ‘Radically Liberatory’ Forms of Academic Freedom – Moore – – Development and Change – Wiley Online Library

Abstract:  This opinion piece interrogates the position that open access policies infringe academic freedom. Through an analysis of the objections to open access policies (specifically Plan S) that draw on academic freedom as their primary concern, the article illustrates the shortcomings of foregrounding a negative conception of academic freedom that primarily seeks to protect the fortunate few in stable academic employment within wealthy countries. Although Plan S contains many regressive and undesirable elements, the article makes a case for supporting its proposal for zero?embargo repository?based open access as the basis for a more positive form of academic freedom for scholars around the globe. Ultimately, open access publishing only makes sense within a project that seeks to nurture this positive conception of academic freedom by transforming higher education towards something more socially just and inclusive of knowledge producers and consumers worldwide.


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….”

Open-access Plan S to allow publishing in any journal

“Funding agencies behind the radical open-access (OA) initiative Plan S have announced a policy that could make it possible for researchers to bypass journals’ restrictions on open publishing. The change could allow scientists affected by Plan S to publish in any journal they want — even in subscription titles, such as Science, that haven’t yet agreed to comply with the scheme.

Plan S, which kicks in from 2021, aims to make scientific and scholarly works free to read and reproduce as soon as they are published. Research funders that have signed up to it include the World Health Organization, Wellcome in London, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, Washington, and 17 national funders, mostly in Europe. The European Commission also says it will follow the plan.

Under the initiative, scientists funded by Plan S agencies must publish their work OA. If a journal doesn’t allow that, researchers can instead post an accepted version of their article — an author accepted manuscript, or AAM — in an online repository as soon as their paper appears. This kind of author-initiated sharing is sometimes called green open access. Under Plan S, it comes with a key condition that has so far been anathema to many subscription journals: the AAM must be shared under a liberal ‘CC-BY’ publishing licence that would allow others to republish and translate the work….”


What HHMI Scientists Think About Scientific Publishing |

“HHMI works to discover and share scientific knowledge. We believe that science is a public good. Should new research be shared freely, widely, and quickly? We asked our scientists what they think….

Finding 1 – Most surveyed scientists see significant challenges with scientific publishing today and generally favor open access over subscription….

Finding 2 – The scientists are divided on whether they oppose or favor a policy requiring them to publish open access, which would restrict their publication choices….

Finding 3 – When considering a policy requiring them to publish open access, the scientists’ top concern was that trainees will find it more difficult to obtain tenure-track academic positions if they cannot publish in prestigious journals that are currently subscription-based….

Finding 4 – The majority of Group Leaders at HHMI’s Janelia Research Campus who took the survey report posting or reading preprints, with a lower proportion of HHMI Investigators and trainees doing so. Scientists are split on whether they oppose or favor a requirement to publish preprints….”

Open Access is the Plan S Way Forward in Hematology Research : HemaSphere

“There has been some anxiety among researchers and publishers, as is the case with any change. The open access principle seems to be widely supported, but there is fear that the introduction of strict rules will limit researchers and restrict the choice of journals where they can publish. Young researchers pointed out that they need to be able to publish in a top journal to accelerate their career and this may become more difficult with additional rules. This is indeed a potential problem, but if all funding agencies adopt the Plan S principles, all important journals will need to adapt and offer full open access for a reasonable cost. That is at least what is hoped by the consortium and by the researchers worldwide who support this initiative.

EHA has been supporting many of these principles for more than 20 years. In the past, EHA and the Ferrara Storti Foundation published Haematologica, an open access journal with low publication fees, which is completely in line with the spirit behind Plan S. Since 2017, EHA is publishing HemaSphere, its own open access journal. There was universal agreement among the EHA board members that this new journal had to be open access and offer low publication fees. Authors publishing their work in HemaSphere retain the copyright of their work, removing the restrictions they would otherwise later face when wishing to use their own work for education, research, or sharing. EHA invests in its journal by offering open access publication against low fees, not only for its members, but also for the entire international hematology community….”

What a Journal Makes: As we say goodbye to the European Law Journal | Verfassungsblog

“On January 31st, the Editorial and Advisory Boards of the European Law Journal resigned en masse from their positions in protest after the publisher, Wiley, decided that it was not willing to ‘give away’ control and authority over editorial appointments and decisions to the academics on the journal’s Boards. We recount our small act of resistance here because we think there may be lessons for the wider academic community. We are not looking to portray ourselves as martyrs for academic freedom or principled radicals looking to overhaul the entire system of academic publishing. Indeed, the most significant aspect of our rupture with Wiley lies in the modesty of the demands they were unwilling to meet. …”

Open Access in Heart Failure: Ready or Not, Here We Come – ScienceDirect

“While I applaud exploring broader open access and the principles of early, immediate, and wide dissemination of medical information, the pace of conversion must be taken into account, as there could be some adverse consequences.

These include:


This policy could be perceived as a restriction of academic freedom as stated in the recent International Committee of Medical Journal Editors recommendations (4). Are we ready for a policy that prevents investigators from publishing in journal x, because it was deemed not a qualified journal?


Decrease in the quality of review and subsequent quality of scientific publications. In the process of peer review, significant augmentation of the quality of the paper occurs through a multi-review process. This involves not only recommending additional analyses, study augmentation, and adjustments to the analytical plan, but also identifying major and minor errors and correcting these reports before appearing in public. Peer review provides one guard against scientific misrepresentation.


Increase in scientific misinformation, as it will be easier to promote reports in the open access forum without safeguards. Although some members of the scientific community believe that science is self-correcting, it can sometimes take years and can impose harm that could get into medical practice from erroneous conclusions that may affect patient care. Take the case of some recommendations against vaccines and statins.


Important financial strain to small nonprofit subspecialty societies. The conduct of publishing journals through professional societies allows modest dollars to come into the smaller societies and support other important activities that may not have full support, such as education, conferences, research grants, patient awareness, and advocacy. These important initiatives would have to be re-evaluated in societies and may affect patient care by reducing other venues and methods of information dissemination and policy advocacy. As Dr. Mann has called out in his previous communication (5), it is important that we have a serious dialog about open access immediately and thoroughly, as this train has left the gate; it is up to the broader scientific community to delve into the details of how we transition from our current system that has served the community well in the past, but will not be the ecosystem of the future….”


Editorial: Open Science and Ethics | SpringerLink

“At first sight it seems to be self-evident that the ethics-community should embrace those open science principles unconditionally. Transparency, accessibility, and solving societal challenges are laudable goals. Understanding and solving societal challenges seems to be the core business of ethics: the theoretical branches of ethics aim for a better understanding of the practical and moral dimension of human life in general and applied ethics engages with possible solutions of urgent societal challenges. Thus, ‘open science’ seems to be the ideal context for ethical research to flourish. But as philosophers we should be a bit more reflective than just preaching the gospel of open science without critical remarks. In the following I want to highlight five possible pitfalls and problems around open science. The aim is not to frustrate the entire enterprise but to contribute to a responsible way of introducing the open science principles….

I think the opposition between academic freedom and open science is a misconception. Academic freedom is a necessary requirement for any research….”