Australian funders urged to join Plan S open access drive | Times Higher Education (THE)

:Australian and New Zealand research funders are under growing pressure to join Plan S, the European-led push to require academics to make publicly funded research freely accessible at the point of publication.

The initiative is due to be implemented at the start of next year by the 13 European national research funders that have backed it so far, alongside the European Commission and three charitable funders, including the Wellcome Trust and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

However, the project’s backers acknowledge that, to achieve the “big flip” towards open access, they need to build a global coalition, and efforts have been made to persuade North American, Asian and African funders to sign up….”

Richard Smith: Pharmaceutical companies follow public funders of research in efforts to reform science publishing – The BMJ

Funders of research are the one group who have the power to change the slow, inefficient, old-fashioned, wasteful, arbitrary, and, some would say, iniquitous way that we publish science. About half of biomedical research is funded by pharmaceutical companies, but they have been much slower than public funders of research to use their influence. Open Pharma, which “works with pharma to drive fast and transparent medical publishing,” is encouraging pharmaceutical companies to use their influence more. The group met last week and discussed promoting open access and finding ways to link together the material on particular issues—perhaps a single clinical trial, a drug, or a disease—that currently is widely scattered and hard to find. (I chaired the meeting: see conflict of interest statement below.)

On the day of the meeting only one pharmaceutical company—Shire had mandated open access for the research it funds, whether undertaken by its employees or outsiders. Indeed, remarkably it seemed to be the only for-profit company to have done so—despite hundreds, probably thousands, of public bodies having mandated open access. (The day after the meeting another pharmaceutical company, Ipsen, also mandated open access.) One ironic reason for pharmaceutical companies being so slow is that they are heavily regulated and uncertain how regulators will view mandatory open access….

We agreed that for a patient, researcher, reviewer, or journalist it could be useful to have all the material together, and for a funder, including a pharmaceutical company, it would be good to be able to easily access all material related to research it had funded. There was also a hope expressed at the meeting that ensuring all material was available would increase trust in pharmaceutical companies.

At the moment, six major pharmaceutical companies are part of Open Pharma, along with six publishers—and the hope is that more may join and that the companies can work with public funders of research in improving the publishing of science.”

View of Open Data Meets Digital Curation: An Investigation of Practices and Needs

Abstract:  In the United States, research funded by the government produces a significant portion of data. US law mandates that these data should be freely available to the public through ‘public access’, which is defined as fully discoverable and usable by the public. The U.S. government executive branch supported the public access requirements by issuing an Executive Directive titled ‘Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded ScientificResearch’ that required federal agencies with annual research and development expenditures of more than $100 million to create public access plans by 22 August 2013. The directive applied to 19 federal agencies, some with multiple divisions. Additional direction for this initiative was provided by the Executive Order ‘Making Open and Machine Readable the New Default for Government Information’  which was accompanied by a memorandum with specific guidelines for information management andinstructions to find ways to reduce compliance costs through interagency cooperation.In late 2013, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) funded the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) to conduct a project to help IMLS and its constituents understand the implications of the US federal public access mandate and howneeds and gaps in digital curation can best be addressed. Our project has three research components: (1) a structured content analysis of federal agency plans supporting public  access to data and publications, identifying both commonalities and differences among plans; (2) case studies (interviews and analysis of project deliverables) of seven projects previously funded by IMLS to identify lessons about skills, capabilities and institutional arrangements that can facilitate data curation activities; and (3) a gap analysis of continuing education and readiness assessment of the workforce. Research and cultural institutions urgently need to rethink the professional identities of those responsible for collecting, organizing, and preserving data for future use. This paper reports on a project to help inform further investments.

China backs bold plan to tear down journal paywalls

In a huge boost to the open-access movement, librarians and funders in China have said that they intend to make results of publicly funded research free to read immediately on publication….

It is not yet clear when Chinese organizations will begin implementing new policies, or whether they will exactly adopt Plan S’s details, but Robert-Jan Smits, the chief architect of Plan S, says the new stance is a ringing endorsement for his initiative. …

In three position papers, seen by Nature, China’s National Science Library (NSL), its National Science and Technology Library (NSTL) and its Natural Science Foundation, a major research funder, all said that they “support the request of the OA2020 initiative and Plan S to transform, as soon as possible, research papers from publicly funded projects into immediate open access after publication, and we support a wide range of flexible and inclusive measures to achieve this goal.” …

Funders and research institutions in China have since 2014 encouraged — and funded — scientists to publish their papers in open-access formats, and to archive manuscripts openly online….

Two other non-European countries are expected to sign up to the plan in the coming weeks, said Smits….”

Open Letter in Support of Funder Open Publishing Mandates

“We, the undersigned, are researchers who believe that the world’s scholarly literature is a public resource that only achieves its full value when it is freely available to all. For too long we have tolerated a pay-for-access business model for scholarly journals that is inequitable, impedes progress in our fields, and denies the public the full benefit of our work. We therefore welcome efforts on the part of public and private research funders to require that publications based on work they fund be made immediately freely and openly available without restrictions on access or use.

Funders are uniquely positioned to transform scholarly publishing by changing the explicit and implicit rules under which we all operate. We recognize that funder mandates may superficially limit our publishing options in the short term, but believe they will lead to a system that optimizes what we really care about: maximizing the reach of our scholarship and its value to the research community and public.

We understand that effective scholarly communication costs money, and support substantial investment in this endeavor, but only if it allows everyone to freely access and use the scholarly literature. We acknowledge that challenges remain, especially ensuring that all scholars everywhere have the unfettered ability to freely share their work and have their contributions recognized. And we therefore commit to continue working with funders, universities, research institutions and other stakeholders until we have created a stable, fair, effective and open system of scholarly communication….”

Big European funders flesh out plan towards immediate free access to journals | Science|Business

“The architects of Plan S, a contentious plan to tear down scholarly journals’ paywalls in Europe, have laid out more details on how the initiative will work.

In a seven-page implementation guidance note published on Tuesday, funders backing the plan, including the European Research Council, national agencies in France, the Netherlands and the UK, as well as private funders including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, explain how grantees can abide by Plan S rules by 2020, when it goes into effect.

The note says that, aside from publishing in an open access journal or platform, researchers can comply with Plan S by publishing in a subscription journal provided they also make a peer reviewed version immediately available in a repository. Many top journals do not allow this until at least six months after publication….

Grantees will be permitted to publish in so-called hybrid journals, which charge a subscription but make some articles free to view, but only if the journal has committed to transform into a fully open access model….”

Feedback | Plan S

“Members of cOAlition S have read with interest the many comments made on Plan S. After discussion and consideration, the coalition has approved the implementation guidance on making full and immediate Open Access a reality. The guidance is now open for public feedback….

[The] feedback form will remain open until the 1st of February 2019 at 17h00 CET….”

Time to break academic publishing’s stranglehold on research | New Scientist

“HERE is a trivia question for you: what is the most profitable business in the world? You might think oil, or maybe banking. You would be wrong. The answer is academic publishing. Its profit margins are vast, reportedly in the region of 40 per cent.

The reason it is so lucrative is because most of the costs of its content is picked up by taxpayers. Publicly funded researchers do the work, write it up and judge its merits. And yet the resulting intellectual property ends up in the hands of the publishers. To rub salt into the wound they then sell it via exorbitant subscriptions and paywalls, often paid for by taxpayers too. (Some readers may scent a whiff of hypocrisy, given New Scientist also charges for its content. But good journalism does not come free.)




The academic publishing business model is indefensible. Practically everybody – even the companies that profit from it – acknowledges that it has to change. And yet the status quo has proven extremely resilient.

The latest attempt to break the mould is called Plan S, created by umbrella group cOAlition S. It demands that all publicly funded research be made freely available (see “An audacious new plan will make all science free. Can it work?”). When Plan S was unveiled in September, its backers expected support to snowball. But only a minority of Europe’s 43 research funding bodies have signed up, and hoped-for participation from the US has failed to materialise. Meanwhile, a grass-roots campaign against it is gathering momentum.

Plan S deserves a chance. The scientists who oppose it have real concerns, but are letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. Research funders should put their worries aside too, on behalf of the taxpayers who fill their coffers. Plan S only works if everyone gets on board; if it fails, it is hard to see how the iron grip of academic publishing can ever be broken….”

Open access to publications: the SNSF supports Europe’s Plan S – SNF

“European and national research funders are expected to commit all researchers to granting open access to their publications as of 2020. The SNSF supports this “Plan S”, which was published in Brussels today. However, it is not in a position to add its signature to the plan at present….”