Plan S in Latin America: A precautionary note [PeerJ Preprints]

Abstract:  Latin America has historically led a firm and rising Open Access movement and represents the worldwide region with larger adoption of Open Access practices. Argentina has recently expressed its commitment to join Plan S, an initiative from a European consortium of research funders oriented to mandate Open Access publishing of scientific outputs. Here we suggest that the potential adhesion of Argentina or other Latin American nations to Plan S, even in its recently revised version, ignores the reality and tradition of Latin American Open Access publishing, and has still to demonstrate that it will encourage at a regional and global level the advancement of non-commercial Open Access initiatives.

Frontiers and Robert-Jan Smits emails reveal how Plan S was conceived – For Better Science

Guess what. After pestering the EU Commission and the European Ombudsman for exactly NINE months (since November 2018) the baby is born and I got the emails between the former EU Special Envoy for Open Access (OA), Robert-Jan Smits, and the Swiss, Lausanne-based, OA publisher Frontiers, namely its CEO Kamila Markram, who founded Frontiers together with her husband, the EPFL professor and brain simulator Henry Markram.

I previously published an analysis of same emails where, aside of addressee, sender and date only the subject line was made available. That was enough to establish the influence of Frontiers over Plan S conception. The finally released emails are still heavily censored yet even more revealing. We learn that the Frontiers vision of the OA future mediated to Smits neatly translated into what became on 4 September 2018 his Plan S, with one initial exception: The caps for Article Processing Charges (APC) were put in place, though not specified. Much of the email exchange between Smits and Markram was about APC caps, which the latter protested against, so the free market and innovation are not impeded. Frontiers highest APC is currently at €2440 or $2950, and Markram conceded to Smits to accept a cap of €3000. Soon after Plan S was announced, Smits turned to speaking of caps as not being necessary; at the revised Plan S, all talk of capping APC ended.Plan S was designed to flip scholarly publishing first in Europe, then in the world, to full OA, by banning all scientists from publishing in subscription journals and even by punishing them for attempting to do so. That is, all scientists who receive funding from Plan S-subscribing cOAition S members of national and EU funders as well as charities. Learned societies were ordered to flip their journals to OA and to cease using the publishing revenue for any outreach, training and community activities not directly related to publishing….”

Regarding a Delta Think blog post analysing the DOAJ – News Service

“The main problem, when you compare ROAD, Web of Science (WoS), Scopus and DOAJ, is that all of these services have different definitions and criteria as to what constitutes a valid journal entry in their databases.

In general, one can say that DOAJ’s criteria are the strictest and therefore DOAJ is not an index of all open access (OA) journals but an index of gold standard, quality, peer-reviewed OA journals. So therefore not all OA journals meet our criteria.

Being indexed in DOAJ acts like a badge of quality. A quality stamp based on the business operations of a journal and its reliability, how closely that journal adheres to best practices and which standards it uses. Scopus and WoS are not in the business of measuring any of those. (We would take this opportunity to point out that DOAJ holds many more journals which aren’t in Scopus.)…”

The future of scientific publishing – Sarr – 2019 – BJS – Wiley Online Library

“The advent of social media, more recently the focus and emphasis on open access publishing, and now the unprecedented creation of open access journals, have led to many challenges and also potential opportunities for publishers, authors and even editors of established scientific journals. Although change is good, and an opportunity, serious academics should be aware of the potential ramifications of these forces if we do not attempt actively to preserve the integrity of the scientific word. This editorial will address two aspects of the current world of publishing that threaten the future of scientific investigation: first, the move to making all journals open access, and, second, the viral proliferation of open access journals and its effects, both real and theoretical….”

Ecography’s flip to a pay‐to‐publish model – Araújo – – Ecography – Wiley Online Library

“The Nordic Society Oikos (NSO) has decided to flip Ecography from a pay?to?read model to a pay?to?publish model. All papers published after the flip, in January 2020, will become open access immediately. As a bonus, all published papers since 1997 will be also free to read.

According to NSO, the main reason for the flip is that the subscription income of Ecography is insufficient to cover the costs of publication. NSO has decided that, given the current changes in the publication landscape, the best strategy to guarantee the future of Ecography is to change its funding model.

As senior editors of Ecography (i.e. Editor?in?Chief and Deputy?Editors?in?Chief), we witness these changes with mixed feelings. On the one hand we acknowledge that there is little justification for limiting readers’ access to the scientific literature under a pay?to?read model. Most of the research published by journals is funded by taxpayers’ money and the general public should have the right to access it freely from any Internet terminal.

In an information?driven society, it is also disingenuous to allow fake news to roam freely on the Internet, while keeping the highest?standard information ever created by humankind behind paywalls. A better world will no doubt emerge from open science.

On the other hand, we share with many others the concern that a pay?to?publish system will increase inequality among authors….

The frequent flyer’s programmes of airline companies inspires the system we propose. Essentially, reviewers of manuscripts should obtain, for each review they perform for Ecography, a voucher that is worth a specified discount on the billed open access fees of their next paper in Ecography, valid for a specified time period. Within the same time window, editors will obtain vouchers worth a specified discount for every year of service.

We also propose that discounts can be granted for those that do not have institutional support or other means of paying Open Access fees. An author’s ability to pay should not influence any aspect of the review process, including the decision on whether or not the manuscript is accepted for publication….”

Plan S and Humanities Publishing – The Scholarly Kitchen

It is widely recognized that HSS and its publishing industry are different (and less profitable). As a publisher in those fields, one could easily be tempted to ask funders for exceptions to policies that push for a faster transition to OA – out of fear that we might become collateral damage in a process that hit us like a storm. One year after Plan S, I think to do so would be a huge mistake.

It is very simple: if we ask for exceptions for HSS, the research we publish will not be able to transition to open with the same speed as STM. As a consequence, HSS research would not be visible as much, would generate less impact and would be even more pushed to the background when budgets are distributed. HSS would be left behind.

We not only need to accelerate OA – increase the speed of transition – but, more importantly, we need to expand the possibilities to transition to OA beyond the APC model. HSS research is highly relevant and deserves to be open. By being more open, HSS can have a greater impact on society and contribute more efficiently to making this world a better place. As HSS publishers, we need to speak up for the communities we serve and help them defend their position in a competitive research landscape. With the right plan for a transition to more openness, HSS will not only survive but thrive in the future and unfold their full potential….”

Plan S: the final cut—response from cOAlition S – The Lancet

On behalf of the cOAlition S Executive Steering Group, I commend the Editors of The Lancet for their positive support for Plan S and the ambition to make full and immediate open access a reality. Finding ways in which researchers can seek to publish in their preferred journals, while ensuring that the outputs of funded research can be accessed and used by all, is a key part of our strategy.

It was especially pleasing to read that the Lancet group’s hybrid journals will be fully compliant with Plan S.
As the payment of article processing charges in hybrid journals will no longer be supported by Plan S funders, we welcome the stance the Lancet family of journals have adopted: researchers who have articles accepted for publication in these venues can self-archive the Author-Accepted Manuscript (at no cost) in a repository where it can be made publicly available at the time of publication (no embargo) under a CC BY Open Access license.
This approach is in line with that of other publishers such as the Royal Society and the Microbiology Society, and we look forward to other publishers moving to a fully open access model….”

Peter Suber: The largest obstacles to open access are unfamiliarity and misunderstanding of open access itself

I’ve already complained about the slowness of progress. So I can’t pretend to be patient. Nevertheless, we need patience to avoid mistaking slow progress for lack of progress, and I’m sorry to see some friends and allies make this mistake. We need impatience to accelerate progress, and patience to put slow progress in perspective. The rate of OA growth is fast relative to the obstacles, and slow relative to the opportunities.”

Peter Suber: The largest obstacles to open access are unfamiliarity and misunderstanding of open access itself

I’ve already complained about the slowness of progress. So I can’t pretend to be patient. Nevertheless, we need patience to avoid mistaking slow progress for lack of progress, and I’m sorry to see some friends and allies make this mistake. We need impatience to accelerate progress, and patience to put slow progress in perspective. The rate of OA growth is fast relative to the obstacles, and slow relative to the opportunities.”

UKRI signs San Francisco Declaration of Research Assessment – UK Research and Innovation

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has signed an international declaration aimed at strengthening and promoting best practice in the way research is assessed.

The San Francisco Declaration of Research Assessment (DORA) recognises the need to improve the ways in which the outputs of research are evaluated with regards to appropriate use of metrics and makes high-level recommendations for how this can be achieved. DORA includes specific recommendations for funders and organisations that undertake evaluation.

The seven Research Councils* are current signatories, and the Higher Education Funding Council for England was a signatory. Research Councils UK (RCUK), the umbrella organisation for the seven Research Councils before the formation of UKRI, signed DORA in February 2018.

UKRI is a member of the Plan S coalition, an international initiative launched to make full and immediate open access to research publications a reality. Plan S recognises DORA and that research needs to be assessed on its own merits rather than on the venue of publication….”