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….

In conclusion, the Letter offers plenty of unargued criticism, but no viable alternative to the currently unsustainable academic publishing landscape. Worse, it fails to grasp the opportunities offered by Plan S to do so.”

FOAA Board recommendations for the implementation of Plan S

“ii. Define a clear transition path for hybrid journals to (Gold) OA. We suggest, in line with Stephan Kuster’s comment at the LERU meeting of October 2018, that to be compliant, the journal would need to be able to demonstrate it is transitioning within a 3-4 year period to fully gold OA by reporting on progress every year. iii. Provide clarity if and how green Open Access (OA) will be compliant. Green OA repositories seem to be endorsed only for preservation, not for OA itself. However, if compliant green OA is explicitly defined as unembargoed libre green OA, this is just as satisfactory as unembargoed libre gold OA, and this might incentivize publishers to hasten the transition of their journals to full gold OA. In this way, the value of repositories for OA itself can be acknowledged, not just for preservation and editorial innovation. iv. We strongly recommend that support for OA promised in Plan S infrastructure be public and open infrastructure, that is, platforms running on open-source software, under open standards, with open APIs for interoperability, owned or hosted by non-profit organizations. This should avoid infrastructure being acquired by large commercial publishers, which is a deliberate approach being taken to increase ownership of the whole scholarly communication ecosystem ….”