September 26, 2018

Objections to Plan S

Objections to Plan S

Open access continues to be a hot topic in publishing, including recent focus on the European Plan S that is designed to accelerate the transition of all journals to open access. Specifically, 11 national funding organizations in Europe have issued an edict that by 2020 will require all articles produced from research funded by its members to be freely available for publication or more simply put Gold Access. This effectively abolishes the ability to publish Green open access (with a 6 to 12 month embargo). The biggest objection to this plan (Plan S) is that it restricts academic freedom! By limiting an author's publication options to just a handful of journals, it will prevent authors from publishing in the leading journals in their fields. This will essentially marginalize their work. Specific issues with Plan S include:

1. By forbidding publication in "hybrid" journals (i.e., titles that are sold through subscriptions but also offer Open Access publishing options), Plan S will prevent authors from publishing in most of the world's high-impact journals.
2.  By giving preference to the CC-BY Open Access license, authors covered under Plan S will not retain the commercial rights to their works. Anyone will be able to take the author's original work and re-use it for their own financial gain. 
3. By insisting on standard article processing charges (which without subscription sales will be 2 to 3 times of current pages charges) rates, Plan S does not consider the variabilities of funding available to authors in different fields.