Plan S in Latin America: Primum non nocere | Zenodo

Abstract:  We share the spirit of Plan S in achieving immediate and full Open Access (OA) of scholarly publishing, but we disagree with its implementation guidelines. We consider that while this initiative will influence the publishing ecosystem worldwide, its design has ignored more than 20 years of agenda on OA from the Global South, and the paradigm of a contrasting scholarly publishing landscape in Latin America. Our region represents the largest worldwide adopter of OA practices, where publishing is led by the scholarly community in collaborative and cooperative platforms, and access to knowledge is considered a universal right. The community sustains and encourages a tradition of free-to-publish and free-to-read OA publishing, which reverberates in an unparalleled apprehension of the scholarly record by students, researchers, and the public. In our opinion, the guidelines of Plan S fail to tackle the essential and chronic issues of traditional scholarly publishing, such as the concentration of articles in large international commercial publishers with extraordinary profit margins. It is our belief that to contribute to the democratization of knowledge, funders must promote policies, actions and resources to implement OA while improving the quality and retaining control of scholarly editorial processes by the scholarly community. Plan S is yet to demonstrate that it will also (financially) support the advancement of non-commercial OA initiatives. We call to interpellate asymmetrical discussions where privileged institutions and funders commit the global scholarly publishing landscape. We urge funding agencies to embrace an inclusive agenda that proposes a fair, equilibrated and rational ecosystem for the future of academic publishing. In the meantime, we call our region to postpone its potential adhesion to Plan S until its first evaluation would verify and inform results and implications for less privileged researchers, countries and institutions.