“Open Science aims to transform current scientific practices into a fully transparent and open system, in which all scientific advances are made available not only to the entire scientific community, but also to society at large. A significant bulk of the scientific knowledge generated worldwide is supported by public money, and in many cases, entails scientific and social collaboration. Thus, it seems obvious that this knowledge should belong to society, with no restriction or cost to its immediate accessibility. …”
“Under Horizon Europe, beneficiaries of ERC grants must ensure open access to all peer-reviewed scientific publications13 relating to their results as set out in the Model Grant Agreement used for ERC actions. Beneficiaries must ensure that they or the authors retain sufficient intellectual property rights to comply with their open access requirements….
In the Track record (see “Proposal description”) the applicant Principal Investigator should list (if applicable, and in addition to any other scientific achievements deemed relevant by the applicant in relation to their research field and project): 1. Up to five publications in major international peer-reviewed multi-disciplinary scientific journals and/or in the leading international peer-reviewed journals, peer-reviewed conferences proceedings and/or monographs of their respective research fields, highlighting those as main author or without the presence as co-author of their PhD supervisor (properly referenced, field relevant bibliometric indicators21 [“except the Journal Impact Factor”] may also be included); preprints may be included, if freely available from a preprint server (preprints should be properly referenced and either a link to the preprint or a DOI should be provided);…”
“One of the world’s most prestigious research funders has told academics that they must not include journal impact factors (JIF) in their applications, in the latest sign that the controversial metric has become discredited.
In the European Research Council’s (ERC) latest work programme, applicants are for the first time explicitly told to avoid mentioning the metric when listing their publications.
“Properly referenced, field relevant bibliometric indicators” can be used “except the journal impact factor”, states the new guidance, released on 14 July….”
“On the occasion of the adoption of this work programme, the ERC is also announcing its formal endorsement of the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), in line with its long-standing adherence to the highest standards of research assessment. The ERC is convinced that the broad implementation of research assessment procedures that integrate the DORA principles is the key to an equitable transition to Open Science.”
“Horizon Europe is expected to mandate that grant recipients publish their results according to the principles of open science.
In particular, immediate open-access publishing will become mandatory for all recipients of Horizon Europe research grants, including those from the ERC, says Kütt. Scientists will be required to post an accepted, peer-reviewed version of their papers online at a ‘trusted repository’, according to a draft of the instructions for applicants, but it is unclear at this time which repositories will be acceptable. Grants will cover publishing costs for pure open-access journals, but not for hybrid publications. Authors must also retain intellectual-property rights for their papers….”
“The European Research Council (ERC) has withdrawn its support for a radical open-access initiative in Europe, known as Plan S, saying that it will follow its own path towards open access….
While the council is “still committed to implementing full and immediate open access”, it states that it wants to focus more on researchers’ needs – especially early-career researchers – as well as preserving equity among European countries, particularly those with more limited national financial support for research.
The main sticking point for the ERC over Plan S was cOAlition S’s stance on so-called “hybrid” journals….”
“Recalling our recent position Open Access in Horizon Europe, the leading universities of science and technology united in CESAER remain strong supporters of open science and open access to scientific publications.
We value the leadership that the European Commission and the European Research Council (ERC) have shown on these important topics, including in their support of Plan S which we also fully support.
It was therefore with surprise that we learned of the ERC Scientific Council’s abrupt withdrawal of their support from Plan S, despite their support since its inception, which was also reiterated last year.
With this letter, I reiterate our association’s strong support for achieving full and immediate open access. We firmly believe that Plan S is an important step towards achieving this goal, as expressed in our position Open Access in Horizon Europe.
We call upon the European Commission to continue their leadership in open science and open access, and we look forward to the full implementation of Plan S in the model grant agreement for Horizon Europe….”
“In a recent letter, which Khrono has with a copy, four organizations that organize researchers early in their careers plead with the European Commission to ensure full implementation of Plan S, despite the ERC withdrawing from the coalition. They point to the EU’s forthcoming research program Horizon Europe. The letter is addressed to EU Research Commissioner Mariya Gabriel and Director-General for Research Jean-Eric Paquet.
The letter from the Young Academy of Europe (YAE), the Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA), the European Council for Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers (Eurodoc) and the Global Young Academy (GYA) is written in support of Plan S and open publication of research.
The need for open access to research has been “confirmed by the Covid-19 pandemic”, they argue….”
“Bourguignon was ERC president from January 2014 until December 2019. His successor was nanobiologist Mauro Ferrari, whose tenure lasted for three months before a very noisy departure.
The sense around the ERC in recent months was of a ship beginning to drift without a captain. Only yesterday, the former EU director general for research and innovation, Robert-Jan Smits, criticised the agency for a lack of “strategic leadership”.
It has been a hard, unpredictable year for the agency, which had to face down criticism from Ferrari for its handling of the COVID-19 crisis, but also, in the past week, from advocates of open access to scientific research papers, who were dismayed at the agency for pulling its support for an open access initiative….”
“The ERC, together with funders of research throughout Europe, has been behind the demand for open publication of research which is laid down in the so-called Plan S.
Now the collaboration is abruptly over.
In recent months, the ERC’s Scientific Council has “intensified the internal debate and reached a unanimous decision”, the press release states, and the result is that they will end their cooperation with Coalition S and work on the introduction of Plan S.
The Norwegian climate researcher Eystein Jansen, who is a professor at the University of Bergen, is a member of the Scientific Medical Council and has been involved in the unanimous decision. He tells Khrono that the decision has been made after thorough assessments….
Director of the Research Council, John-Arne Røttingen, is one of the leading figures in the international work on Plan S.
– The decision in the ERC comes as a big surprise, and the timing is strange, says Røttingen.
– When we established Plan S, we got the Scientific Council of the ERC on the team, and they played an important role in shaping the plan and the implementation plan.
He assures that the decision in the ERC will not affect the changes in financing terms that are planned to be introduced from 1.1. 2021. Since the EU Commission is allocating the money to the ERC’s budget, Røttingen believes that the ERC’s change of course will not put a stop to the plans for open publication as set out in Plan S.
– It is the EU Commission that set the framework for all project funding that is provided. The commission has wholeheartedly assured that they support Plan S and the implementation plan, says Røttingen….”
“The decision by the governing body of the European Research Council (ERC) to pull support for the radical open access initiative Plan S, is a “slap in the face” to all those who support the scheme, said its creator.
Robert-Jan Smits, the European Commission’s former director general for research and innovation, and also one of the founding fathers of the ERC, said the COVID-19 crisis “has shown the importance of making the results of publicly funded research immediately available” and not locked behind expensive paywalls with embargo periods….”
“I was dismayed to read your press release of 20th July announcing that you are withdrawing your support from cOAlition S and Plan S. I was even more dismayed to see that you rationalized this based on the needs of “young researchers who represent the future of European science and innovation”, arguing that the unavailability of APC funding for hybrid journals under Plan S is detrimental to early career researchers. As a young researcher and ERC Starting Grant awardee myself, I would like to take this opportunity to state categorically that I do not recognize this argument as valid.
The harm that hybrid journals cause to the ecosystem of scholarly publishing is well known. In particular, through “double dipping” — charging subscription fees at the same time as full APCs for Open Access articles — publishers of such journals are able to appropriate a far greater quantity of public funds than would otherwise be possible. Pinfield et al. (2015) demonstrate empirically, in a UK context, that double dipping is not merely a theoretical issue, but a genuine problem; they also show that hybrid journals charge on average vastly higher APCs than fully Gold Open Access journals, strongly suggesting that funding Open Access publication in hybrid journals represents bad value for money….”
“Dramatic U-turn by Europe’s premier research agency casts doubt on feasibility of scheme to make scientific papers free to read as soon as they are published….The governing body of the European Research Council (ERC) has dealt a severe blow to radical open access initiative Plan S, announcing it is withdrawing support for the scheme….”
“Groups representing young researchers have expressed surprise at the decision of the European Research Council’s governing Scientific Council to withdraw its support from the Plan S open-access initiative.
Under Plan S, a group of funders known as Coalition S will require researchers they support to make their work openly available immediately from 2021 in outlets that meet certain criteria. The requirements are being adopted in the EU’s 2021-27 R&D programme Horizon Europe, including the ERC.
The ERC Council, an independent body of researchers that helps to set the strategic direction of the EU funder, had previously expressed its support for Plan S, but on 20 July it announced a U-turn, saying the impact of Plan S on young researchers and countries with limited funds had been underestimated. In particular, the ERC Council expressed concern about Plan S terms for publication in hybrid journals that offer both subscription and open-access options….”
“cOAlition S remains firm in its view that support for hybrid journals has failed to accelerate the transition to full and immediate Open Access over the past two decades. The already scarce funding in the Horizon Europe Framework Programme should not be used for the payment of publication fees in hybrid journals. Indeed, outside of transformative agreements, the hybrid model has no effective means to keep double-dipping by publishers in check. For this reason, many European countries, from Germany to Hungary, have recently put in place transformative agreements with publishers.
Maintaining the current status quo on hybrid journals will exacerbate inequalities among European researchers, since only those that benefit from generous funding will be able to cover expensive publication fees. In contrast, the cOAlition S Rights Retention Strategy which provides Open Access in compliance with Plan S via the repository route, will empower all researchers to publish in their journal of choice, including subscription and hybrid journals.
cOAlition S is particularly attentive to the concerns of Early Career Researchers (ECR). We are grateful for the support of many ECR organisations, including the European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers (Eurodoc), the Global Young Academy (GYA), the Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA) and the Young Academy of Europe (YAE). These organisations are closely collaborating with cOAlition S in order to further shape Plan S, to monitor its implementation, and to evaluate potential effects for the next generation of researchers….”