“Currently, all ESC journals are publishing with a subscription model (except ESC Heart Failure and soon EHJ Digital Health), whereby readers or their institution pay, while submitting is free. The editors label 1–2 papers of each issue as Editor’s Choice which are freely accessible, while the remaining papers become open only after 12?months. The hybrid model has the big advantage that it provides funding to run large editorial offices, as required for high impact journals. Of note, editorial services, statistical reviewing, illustrations, as well as news sections require resources. Not the least, subscription provides income for educational societies such as the ESC and many others a service for their members.
Recently, the Welcome Trust, and the European Union, presented Plan S to make open access mandatory for all journals. Plan S would change the business model of publishing completely. Under this regimen, the authors have to pay, while for readers access is free. While open access provides immediate access, also hybrid journal such as the EHJ get 12 million downloads per year (Figure 1B). A disadvantage of open access is the huge manuscript handling fees required for high impact journals which would be a burden for authors from less affluent economies. Therefore, the ESC PubComm took the stand that hybrid journals should continue to be allowed. Also, few open access journals have reached acceptable impact factors. Whether or not Plan S will be able to change publishing remains to be seen. To that end, the decision of US journals and of the National Institute of Health will be essential….”