“Wellcome Trust and Gates Foundation announce backing for EU’s Plan-S, requiring journal papers to be free to read on day of publication. But 600 chemists say this is going too far….
Grant holders subject to Plan-S would be banned from publishing in hundreds of journals, including influential titles such as Nature, Science and The Lancet, unless those journals flip their business model. Publishing in these high impact journals remains the main measure of the quality of individual researchers or their work. It is also a route preferred by the big publishers running big media relations departments.
Signatories to the letter, including two Nobel laureates, Ben Feringa and Arieh Warshel, say the ban on so-called hybrid journals envisaged by Plan-S is “a big problem, especially for chemistry”, as it would prevent scientists from publishing in journals that are important for their career progression.
“I expected resistance because Plan-S is a radical plan,” said Smits. “People have been publishing in subscription journals for ages and they are obsessed with journal metrics.”
In response to the 600 signatories of the letter, Smits says the ball is in their court. They should get involved in adapting and pushing for change to an outdated model that drains the budgets of university libraries and shuts out people who cannot afford hefty subscriptions, he argues.
“One thing I was quite disappointed by – although these scientists are extending the frontiers of knowledge, when it comes to publishing, they still embrace the traditional subscription based model and, with this, the journal impact factor instead of going for full open access and developing new metrics,” Smits said.
“It’s not just what Plan-S can do for you, but what you can do for Plan-S.” …”