Why making academic research free is complicated – Vox

“Freeing research largely paid for by taxpayer money can seem like a no-brainer, but over time, the potential downsides of open science efforts like the Plan S mandate have become more apparent. While pay-to-publish but free-to-read platforms bring more research to the public, they can add barriers for researchers and worsen some existing inequalities in academia. Scientific publishing will remain a for-profit industry and a highly lucrative one for publishers. Shifting the fees onto authors doesn’t change this.

Many of the newly founded open-access journals drop the fees entirely, but even if they’re not trying to make a profit, they still need to cover their operating costs. They fall back on ad revenue, individual donations or philanthropic grants, corporate sponsorship, and even crowdfunding.

But open-access platforms often lack the prestige of well-known top journals like Nature. Scientists early in their careers — as well as those at less wealthy universities in low-income countries — often rely on precarious, short-term grant funding to carry out their research. Their career depends on putting out an impressive publication record, which is already an uphill battle….”


The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) of Australia joins cOAlition S | Plan S

Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) is the first Australian organisation to join cOAlition S and the country’s first funding agency to introduce the requirement that scholarly publications arising from the research it funds must be made freely available and accessible.

Open Science Observatory – OpenAIRE Blog

“The Open Science Observatory (https://osobservatory.openaire.eu) is an OpenAIRE platform showcasing a collection of indicators and visualisations that help policy makers and research administrators better understand the Open Science landscape in Europe, across and within countries.  

The broader context: As the number of Open Science mandates have been increasing across countries and scientific fields, so has the need to track Open Science practices and uptake in a timely and granular manner. The Open Science Observatory assists the monitoring, and consequently the enhancing, of open science policy uptake across different dimensions of interest, revealing weak spots and hidden potential. Its release comes in a timely fashion, in order to support UNESCO’s global initiative for Open Science and the European Open Science Cloud (the current development and enhancement is co-funded by the EOSC Future H2020 project and will appear in the EOSC Portal).  …

How does it work: Based on the OpenAIRE Research Graph, following open science principles and an evidence-based approach, the Open Science Observatory provides simple metrics and more advanced composite indicators which cover various aspects of open science uptake such us

different openness metrics
FAIR principles
Plan S compatibility & transformative agreements

as well as measures related to the outcomes of Open Access research output as they relate to

network & collaborations
usage statistics and citations
Sustainable Development Goals

across and within European countries. ”

Dr. h.c. Johan Rooryck – an in-depth interview | Open Science Talk

Abstract:  On 1 September 2022, professor of linguistics and director of cOAlition S Johan Rooryck was created a doctor honoris causa at UiT The Arctic University of Norway. In this in-depth interview, Rooryck reflects on his career so far and shares his vision of a future where scholar-led, fair and equitable open access prevails over commercial publishing structures.

Johan Rooryck starts out by explaining how he became the editor-in-chief of the high-ranking journal Lingua in 1999, how his relations with the publisher Elsevier became increasingly strained, and how he succeeded in bringing all his co-editors along in a sensational break with Elsevier. Instead, they launched the fully open access journal Glossa (now a high-ranking journal of general linguistics) at the platform Open Library of Humanities, in 2015. Rooryck in particular dwells on the non-commercial model known as Diamond Open Access, with no charges facing either readers or authors. Speaking on behalf of Plan S and the cOAlition S, whose executive director he became in 2019, Rooryck also broadens the view to all forms of open access, including open access to books and research data. At the end, he looks ahead to the future, when faced with the final, fundamental question: are you an optimist?

David Sweeney: UK right to pursue impact agenda | Times Higher Education (THE)

“Mr Sweeney’s powerful influence in steering the UK sector towards open-access research is a key part of his legacy, helping to set up the Finch report in 2011, which later laid down the “unanswerable” principle that “results of research that has been publicly funded should be freely accessible in the public domain”. As UK Research and Innovation’s lead on open access, Sweeney was also influential in ensuring the funder was an early supporter of Plan S, the Europe-wide open access drive, while UKRI’s own policies, which took effect in April, pushed requirements further. “The Finch report was significant and moved the dial on open access but without this global collaboration we won’t be able to move the system further,” he reflected….”

Guide to Plan S compliance in OJS

“For cOAlition S funded research covered by Plan S requirements, all peer-reviewed scholarly articles must be published in venues that fulfil the “Requirements for Publication Venues.” Individual publication venues (such as journals publishing on OJS) are responsible for ensuring that they meet these requirements. Journals that do not meet these requirements will not be suitable for scholarly articles resulting from cOAlition S-funded research.

Many of the Plan S requirements for publication venues represent best practices for quality, discoverability, and interoperability in scholarly publishing. We recommend that journals adopt these practices regardless of whether they intend to publish scholarly articles resulting from Coalition S-funded research….

This guide is intended for journals published on OJS which intend to meet the Requirements for Publication Venues articulated by Plan S under Part III: Technical Guidance and Requirements. This guide is modelled around the Plan S requirements, with sections of this guide mirroring the sections (1.1 and 1.2) of the Plan S requirements. The guide provides specific recommendations for implementing the requirements in OJS. Where suitable we have linked to other PKP documentation and guidance which provides additional details on the implementation of specific features and specifications.

While we will do our best to keep this guide up-to-date, the Plan S documentation should be relied upon for the most current and detailed information….”

Stop paying to be published Open Access –  a French perspective

“I recommend that they publish in a journal with no APC (‘diamond’ OA journal) or a non-OA journal and make the peer reviewed manuscript or accepted author manuscript (AAM) OA through a repository (‘green’ OA). In some cases, a journal with low and affordable APC may also be suitable. I propose this in accordance with the French national open science policy, which clearly asks that scientific articles must be available OA and encourages its research community to turn to free publication models for both authors and readers….

French national policy invites those who publish in paywalled journals to deposit their AAM as soon as it is published. If the journal  does not allow it, the AAM may be deposited in an open archive with a delay (embargo). The Rights Retention Strategy, developed by the cOAlition S, makes it even possible to publish AAM without embargo. I therefore recommend resorting to this strategy….”

Calls for disease-specific open access criticised – Research Professional News

“Amid monkeypox content push, Plan S leaders say all research should be openly available

Open access to research results should not be “dictated by the perceived urgency of a disease”, leaders of the Plan S open-access initiative have stressed, amid a push to make papers on the monkeypox outbreak freely available.

Plan S executive director Johan Rooryck and head of strategy Robert Kiley said in a blog post published on 16 August that—in line with Plan S—funders should instead require open access to any papers reporting work they have supported.

Earlier this month science and technology leaders from across the globe called on scholarly publishers to provide open access to papers reporting research on monkeypox, to aid the public health response to the disease. Science leaders made similar requests during the Zika, Ebola and Covid-19 outbreaks.

Publishers have responded to the call to action, with Springer Nature and Elsevier both announcing they were making monkeypox content free to access.

But Rooryck and Kiley criticised this disease-specific approach, saying that publisher responses are “typically time-limited and may contain restrictions on how the research can be reused”. …”

Journal transparency – the new Journal Comparison Service from PlanS | Maverick Publishing Specialists

“At a recent STM Association webinar, Robert Kiley, Head of Open Research at the Wellcome Trust, presented an informative overview of the new Journal Comparison Service from PlanS. He stated that the goal of this new tool is to meet the needs of the research community who “have called for greater transparency regarding the services publishers provide and the fees they charge. Many publishers are willing to be responsive to this need, but until now there was no standardised or secure way for publishers to share this information with their customers.” Publishers of scholarly journals are invited to upload data on their journals – one data set for each journal. The cOAlition S Publisher’s Guide  points out that the data is all information that publishers already have in some form, and it will need to be uploaded every year for the previous year.

There are two versions of data that can be supplied and I took a look at the version developed by Information Power (see https://www.coalition-s.org/journal-comparison-service-resources-publishers/ for the details and an FAQ). There are 34 fields, including basic journal identifiers plus additional information in three broad categories: prices (APC data; subscription prices plus discount policies); editorial data (acceptance rates, peer review times, Counter 5 data); and costs (price and service information)….

As a previous publisher of a portfolio of journals, I know that allocating these kinds of costs back to a specific journal is at best a guesstimate and very unlikely to be accurate and comparable.

The webinar included a contribution from Rod Cookson, CEO of International Water Association (IWA) Publishing.  Rod has been an advocate for transparency and helped to create the tool kit for publishers who want to negotiate transformative agreements (https://www.alpsp.org/OA-agreements). Rod reported that it had taken 6 people 2-3 months to gather the data to complete the 34 fields in the comparison tool.  IWA Publishing publishes 14 journals….”


Analysing Open Access publishing beyond Plan S: Motivations for publishing in Hybrid and Bronze OA formats | Zenodo

Abstract:  Recently, the discussion of OA publishing has been dominated by the consideration of potential effects of Plan-S on scholarly publishing. Part of the debate centred on the academic freedom and autonomy of researchers to self-select in which journals they publish their findings, as journals labelled as Hybrid under Plan-S are no longer eligible for publishing (except in cases where publishers agree to transformative agreements on their portfolios). The publisher’s own choices on opening publications, through Bronze OA, is also in need of further debate. With that in mind, this study made a first attempt to understand motivations behind Hybrid and Bronze choices, especially in face of Plan-S restrictions….

Files are currently under embargo but will be publicly accessible after September 7, 2022.


Is there a special, Year 1, exception for TJ titles which do not meet their 2021 (Year 1) Open Access target? | Plan S

“The Transformative Journal programme is a new initiative, designed to provide another route by which publishers can provide a Plan S-aligned publishing option to cOAlition S funded-researchers. Given that this model is still in its infancy, cOAlition S has agreed that if a Transformative Journal does not meet its Year 1 (2021) OA target, then the Transformative Journal title can remain in the programme, provided that the journal agrees that the Year 2 target is calculated as if the Year 1 target had been achieved. Figure 1, below, provides an illustration….”

82% of European physics researchers are unaware of Plan S – AIP Publishing LLC

“A new global study from AIP Publishing, the American Physical Society (APS), IOP Publishing (IOPP) and Optica Publishing Group (formerly OSA) has found that 82% of physics researchers based in Europe are unaware of Plan S.

Plan S aims for all publications reporting the results of publicly funded research to be published on an open access (OA) basis.  Plan S was created by cOAlition S, an international consortium of 28 research funding and performing organisations that support Plan S.

Over 3,000 physical science researchers from across the globe participated in the OA in physics: researcher perspectives study, which was carried out by the physics society publishers to better understand and meet the needs of the physical science community as it relates to OA.

Of the small number of physicists who were aware of Plan S (18%), the key concerns focus on how Plan S will limit their publication choices, restrict the type of research that Plan S-compliant funders will support, and  increase the financial burden on researchers who want to publish OA research….”

Exclusive licence to publish – now here’s a thing | Plan S

by Sally Rumsey, Jisc’s cOAlition S OA Expert Imagine this scenario. You’ve written an article and want to make it Open Access (OA). To do this, you submit it to a journal that enables gold OA, i.e. the publisher makes the article immediately OA on publication. You decide to apply a Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND licence to your manuscript. This licence does not allow users, by default, to make commercial use (NC=non-commercial) nor derivatives (ND=no derivatives) unless they receive a corresponding authorisation. On acceptance, the publisher of the journal presents you with a Licence to Publish (LTP). This is where the problems surrounding the assignment of the CC-BY-NC-ND licence start. The LTP comprises the grant of a licence to the publisher by you, the original copyright holder and licensor, required for the publisher to publish your article. It also includes a long list of Terms & Conditions created by the publisher. For now, I’ll skate over the fact that you, as the author, are the original copyright holder, and as such, it is you who grants the LTP. Nevertheless, the LTP and its terms and conditions are written by the publisher using their terms – I have written about this unacceptable cock-eyed situation previously (see Licence to publish – the boot is on the wrong foot). […]  

The Future of Scholarly Communication | Unlocking Research – Open Research at Cambridge

Authors: Emma Gilby, Matthias Ammon, Rachel Leow and Sam Moore

This is the second of a series of blog posts, presenting the reflections of the Working Group on Open Research in the Humanities.  Read the opening post here. The working group aimed to reframe open research in a way that was more meaningful to humanities disciplines, and their work will inform the University of Cambridge approach to open research.  This post considers the future of scholarly communication from a humanities perspective.