PLOS Response to the Wissenschaftsrat (German Science Council) Statement on Open Access

“However, in addition to our support for this Open Access vision we would add several points to the statement to ensure it does not only focus on published Open Access Versions of Record, but also accommodates the developing Open Science ecosystem. 

In our opinion, focusing on research article Versions of Record, and spending the following three years only focused on an OA financing system, risks further embedding them as the primary and sole unit of sharing research. In considering how to reorganize the financing system to support more openness and research integrity, we believe it will be important to look beyond OA and build in the potential to support policies and developments that will enable more efficient and transparent research-sharing, especially as that is something the Wissenschaftsrat additionally seeks….”

Scientific knowledge must be protected to ensure a Europe fit for the digital age

“CESAER, COAR and LIBER welcome the strong focus of the European Commission towards a A Europe fit for the digital age as part of its priorities from 2019 to 2024. We are convinced that the importance of research and education needs a strong focus within these initiatives and call upon the EU institutions to (i) acknowledge the unique position of universities and other research performing organisations in the provision of digital services and infrastructure directed towards the common good and (ii) provide for an overarching legal framework excluding university and research related repositories and corresponding infrastructures from market-oriented EU legislation, in order to prevent any unintended collateral damage from current and future EU legislation aimed at commercial players….

While we understand that the aim of these initiatives is to modernise legislation in a digital age for the good of society, we are concerned that certain aspects of them will negatively impact the research and education sectors, as they conflict with key notions of scientific collaboration, open science, and knowledge-based societies….

It is important to ensure that the knowledge sector does not suffer unintended consequences and collateral damage in current and future market-oriented EU legislation. On the contrary, research and education sectors must be empowered to assume responsibilities in creating a Europe fit for the digital age built on scientific knowledge and learning.”

G6 statement on Open Science

“The growing momentum for Open Science is in line with our mission to foster research excellence and to accelerate the advancement of science. Open Science principles and approaches were developed from within the scientific community itself, out of genuine self-interest and to further develop key scientific principles – the transparency of research practises, reproducibility of results, and the sharing of knowledge. By opening up publications, data, processes, codes, methods and protocols, it also offers new ways for scientific practices. G6, as Research Performing Organizations (RPO), are committed to excellence in research and Open Science is definitely a good approach to foster excellent research. G6 institutions actively support the transition to Open Science. This transition requires a concerted effort to reform cultural and technological practices. G6 institutions intend to contribute to this transition by jointly addressing the following priorities: …”

G6 statement on open science | CNRS

The statement emphasises six priorities to support the transition to Open Science and foster excellence in research: accelerating Open Access as the default mode of academic publishing; making research data “as open as possible and as closed as necessary” in line with the FAIR principles; extending the principles of Open Science to research software; developing new procedures and criteria to assess research aligned with and supporting the development of Open Science; facilitating the necessary skill building process; lastly, maintaining appropriate infrastructures and services, across Europe if not globally, to keep up with current and future requirements resulting from the transition to Open Science. By jointly addressing these priorities, G6 institutions intend to actively contribute to this transition and to the concerted effort it requires to transform the practices of sharing knowledge between scientific communities.

COPIM statement on the corporate acquisition of OA infrastructure | Community-led Open Publication Infrastructures for Monographs (COPIM)

A statement by the COPIM project addressing our stance towards the corporate acquisition of OA infrastructure, and the structures and safeguards we are putting in place to ensure that our infrastructure will remain community-owned and governed.

At COPIM, we have noted the recent acquisition of Knowledge Unlatched by Wiley, which itself follows Knowledge Unlatched’s opaque transition in 2016 from a UK Community Interest Company (a non-profit organisation) into a German GmbH (roughly equivalent to a UK PLC, i.e. a for-profit company). This move by Wiley is one of several recent acquisitions of open access (OA) infrastructure by large commercial organisations, such as bepress by Elsevier in 2017, and F1000 Research by Taylor & Francis in 2020. It reflects an ongoing consolidation of research infrastructure by major publishing corporations, and in particular the increasing attempts to monetise and, potentially, monopolise the infrastructures of open knowledge dissemination.

From its beginning, COPIM has been driven by the belief, held by all its partners (a consortium of universities, libraries, scholar-led OA publishers and research infrastructure providers) that the infrastructure we rely on to publish and disseminate OA books should itself be open, and owned and governed by the research communities that use it. We have repeatedly cited the widely-quoted argument by Bilder, Lin and Neylon that ‘Everything we have gained by opening content and data will be under threat if we allow the enclosure of scholarly infrastructures’ and this motivates and shapes our work. The recent acquisitions of OA infrastructures by large for-profit corporations pose precisely this threat.

By contrast, the central philosophy of COPIM, which we have discussed publicly and written about extensively, is that of ‘scaling small’:

an alternative organisational principle for governing community-led publishing projects based on mutual reliance, care, and other forms of commoning […] this principle eschews standard approaches to organisational growth that tend to flatten community diversity through economies of scale. Instead, it puts forward the idea that scale can be nurtured through intentional collaborations between community-driven projects that promote a bibliodiverse ecosystem while providing resilience through resource sharing and other kinds of collaboration.

SPARC Statement on UNESCO Ratification of Open Science Recommendation

“SPARC welcomes the unanimous ratification of the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science during its 41st General Conference.  This action represents an enormous step forward towards creating a global knowledge sharing ecosystem that is both open and equitable by design.

As the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis have underscored, there is an urgent need to accelerate scientific progress and to reimagine how we produce, share, and communicate scientific information. The UNESCO Open Science Recommendation provides a critical tool to catalyze change towards this on a global scale. 

Developed through an inclusive, transparent, and multi-stakeholder consultation process, the Recommendation is the first global standard-setting framework for international open science policies and practices.  It provides a common definition of open science that covers all scientific disciplines and scholarly practices while also encompassing the broad range of movements working to make scientific knowledge openly accessible and reusable for those within and outside the traditional scientific community….”

UKRN position on academic publishing | UK Reproducibility Network

The UK higher education sector has invested approximately £1bn in academic publishing over the last decade (i). In our view, the principles guiding interactions between UK institutions and academic publishers should be:

Value for money.
Availability of output to all readers without subscription (e.g., open licensing).
Transparency in agreements (e.g., making costs openly available).
Support for and implementation of initiatives such as DORA.
Support for transparent research practices (e.g., around data and code).
Support for text and data mining (at no extra cost).
Active and transparent engagement with expressions of concern.

The UK higher education sector should take these factors into account in discussions with academic publishers, on the understanding that our continuing support of those who do not meet an acceptable standard is not in the long-term interests of the sector.

RLUK welcomes publication of UKRI’s new Open Access Policy | Research Libraries UK

RLUK welcomes the publication today of a new Open Access (OA) policy applying to research outputs that result from UKRI funding. The new policy is the result of an extensive consultation period during which the views of all relevant stakeholders – including the research library community and RLUK – were sought and heard.

The new policy is clearly informed by the consultation and represents an evolutionary development of the current policies covering Research Council-funded research outputs.  Within the new policy, RLUK is particularly pleased to see:

A single, consistent policy covering all UKRI-funded output
A continued commitment to move to 100%, embargo-free open access;
The support of both green and gold OA as valid routes to compliance;
A commitment from UKRI to maintain block grants to institutions in support the policy;
Clarity that the use of those grants to pay APCs for articles in ‘hybrid’ journals that are not part of a transitional agreement will not be permitted; 
Acknowledgment of the vital role that rights play in scholarly communications and a requirement that both versions of record and author’s accepted manuscripts should carry the most liberal rights appropriate;
Encouragement for the use of OA preprints to facilitate open research practices; 
A measured approach to long-form works, although we note that the challenges around OA for these outputs are significantly different to those of journal articles.

RLUK and our members look forward to discussions over the coming months with UKRI on issues around allocation and management of block grants, reporting requirements, and management of exceptions. We will also work with our members to ensure that institutional repositories meet the technical requirements outlined in the policy.

Twenty years ago, the Budapest Open Access Initiative described the move to open access as unlocking ‘an unprecedented public good’. Providing access to research outputs reduces inequalities, encourages economic growth and knowledge transfer, and promotes rapid innovation (seen most dramatically over the last 18 months in the unprecedented speed with which vaccines against COVID-19 have been developed). As a result of open access policies over the past two decades, the UK has made great strides in ensuring its research outputs are available to all interested readers. This new policy from UKRI will help accelerate that change and move us closer to 100% open access.

Surprise and confusion over ERC Council’s Plan S reversal – Research Professional News

“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 Response to the ERC Scientific Council’s Statement on Open Access and Plan S | Plan S – [https://www.coalition-s.org/coalition-s-response-to-the-erc-scientific-councils-statement-on-open-access-and-plan-s/]

“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….”

OA2020 and cOAlition S Launch Joint Statement | Plan S

“One of several pathways pursued by OA2020 participants is to negotiate transformative agreements under which the funds previously spent for subscriptions are repurposed to cover the costs associated with open access publishing. This approach enables a swift and efficient transition to open access, in which ‘hybrid’ publishing models can be included to increase the proportion of articles published open access— without paying twice for services relating to one piece of content.

Institutions who engage in such agreements will contribute to delivering the greatest possible range in Plan S-compliant publishing options to their authors while significantly growing the proportion of research made openly available. At the same time, cOAlition S recognizes the importance, as one of three routes towards full and immediate open access, of those agreements in providing a strong incentive for scholarly publishers who have yet to pilot open access models. Publishers will find institutions and consortia willing to partner on such agreements in exchange for a commitment to a definitive transition to full and immediate open access with fair and transparent pricing. Neither the cOAlition S funders nor the OA2020 partners intend to pay for open access publishing in hybrid subscription journals outside such transformative agreements….”

OA2020 and cOAlition S Launch Joint Statement | Plan S

“One of several pathways pursued by OA2020 participants is to negotiate transformative agreements under which the funds previously spent for subscriptions are repurposed to cover the costs associated with open access publishing. This approach enables a swift and efficient transition to open access, in which ‘hybrid’ publishing models can be included to increase the proportion of articles published open access— without paying twice for services relating to one piece of content.

Institutions who engage in such agreements will contribute to delivering the greatest possible range in Plan S-compliant publishing options to their authors while significantly growing the proportion of research made openly available. At the same time, cOAlition S recognizes the importance, as one of three routes towards full and immediate open access, of those agreements in providing a strong incentive for scholarly publishers who have yet to pilot open access models. Publishers will find institutions and consortia willing to partner on such agreements in exchange for a commitment to a definitive transition to full and immediate open access with fair and transparent pricing. Neither the cOAlition S funders nor the OA2020 partners intend to pay for open access publishing in hybrid subscription journals outside such transformative agreements….”

Breaking: UC terminates subscriptions with Elsevier in push for open access to publicly funded research | UC Berkeley Library News – [https://news.lib.berkeley.edu/elsevier-outcome]

While we did make progress, particularly in the past few weeks, toward defining a model for open access publishing of UC research, Elsevier was ultimately unwilling to meet UC’s key goal: securing universal open access to UC research, as stated in UC’s faculty-driven principles on scholarly communication, while integrating open access publishing fees and subscription fees into a single cost-controlled contract….”