» Scholarship has bigger fish to fry than access

” For the last 6-7 years, paying for subscriptions has ceased to be necessary for access. One sign of the changing times is the support that initiatives such as DEAL, Bibsam etc. have: two years without subscriptions to Elsevier and what do you hear out of, e.g., Germany? Crickets! Nothing! Of course, it would be silly to conclude that in these two years nobody in Germany has read any Elsevier articles. The reason for the silence and the continued support for DEAL is that we now can access anything we want without subscriptions….

With the realization that EOSC; Plan S, DEAL, etc. are actually working on different aspects of the same issue, the problem to be solved is no longer that scholars publish in toll-access journals, but that institutions haven’t come up with a more attractive alternative. If individuals are not to blame, than there is no reason to mandate them to do anything differently. Instead, institutions should be mandated to stop funding journals via subscriptions or APCs and instead invest the money into a modern, more cost-effective infrastructure for text, data and code. Obviously, in this specificity, this is nearly impossible to mandate in most countries. However, there is a mandate that comes very close. It has been dubbed “Plan I” (for infrastructure). In brief, it entails a three step procedure:

Build on already available standards and guidelines to establish a certification process for a sustainable scholarly infrastructure
Funders require institutional certification before reviewing grant applications
Institutions use subscription funds to implement infrastructure for certification….”