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….”

Thought Experiment on the Impact of Plan S on non-Plan S countries and Japan

Abstract:  In September 2018, a consortium of eleven European research funding agencies known as cOAlition S announced “Plan S,” which requires full and immediate Open Access to all research publications stemming from projects funded by the agencies. The goal of making research output openly available to all has been generally welcomed; however, the strict requirements of Plan S, which take effect on January 1, 2020, have drawn criticisms from various stakeholders. Researchers from affected countries considered it a violation of their academic freedom, as they will be forced to publish only in conforming journals. Publishers, especially those publishing high profile journals, claim that it will be impossible to sustain their business if forced to convert to Open Access journals and to rely solely on article processing charges. Institutions operating their own Open Access platforms or Open Access repositories view the requirements as well-intended but difficult to meet. Despite the turmoil, little has been heard from non-Plan S countries, especially from non-English speaking countries outside Europe. There have been scarcely any comments or analyses relating to the impact of Plan S on these non-Plan S countries. This paper aims to fill the gap with a thought experiment on the impact of Plan S requirements on various stakeholders in these non-Plan S countries. The analysis concludes that non-Plan S countries are indirectly affected by Plan S by being forced to adapt to the world standard that Plan S sets forth. As many non-Plan S countries lack support for this transition from their respective funding agencies, they will be seriously disadvantaged to adapt to the new standards. The article processing charge for publishing in Open Access journals and the strict requirements for Open Access platforms could suppress research output from non-Plan S countries and reduce their research competitiveness. Local publishers, whose financial position in many cases is already precarious, may be forced to shut down or merge with larger commercial publishers. As scholarly communication is globally interconnected, the author argues the need to consider the impact of Plan S on non-Plan S countries and explore alternative ways for realizing full and immediate OA by learning from local practices. This analysis uses Japan as an exemplar of non-Plan S countries. 

The Open Letter: Reaction of Researchers to Plan S: too far, too risky. A response of the Fair Open Access Alliance


“We write to provide a counter view to the recent open letter (“Plan S: Too Far, Too Risky”),1 partly based on our FOAA recommendations for the implementation of Plan S.2 We are glad to note that the researchers who have signed the open letter support open access as their very first principle. However, the letter itself goes on to make a number of highly problematic and logically fallacious statements with which we strongly disagree and here contest….”

The Open Letter: Reaction of Researchers to Plan S: too far, too risky. A response of the Fair Open Access Alliance


“We write to provide a counter view to the recent open letter (“Plan S: Too Far, Too Risky”),1 partly based on our FOAA recommendations for the implementation of Plan S.2 We are glad to note that the researchers who have signed the open letter support open access as their very first principle. However, the letter itself goes on to make a number of highly problematic and logically fallacious statements with which we strongly disagree and here contest….”