Journal Open Access and Plan S: Solving Problems or Shifting Burdens?

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Kamerlin, Shina Caroline Lynn; David J. Allen; Bas de Bruin; Etienne Derat & Henrik Urdal (2021) Journal Open Access and Plan S: Solving Problems or Shifting Burdens?, Development and Change. DOI: 10.1111/dech.12635.

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​This article interrogates the impact of funder Open Access mandates, in particular Plan S, on scholarly communication practices, setting these developments in the context of the history of scholarly communication and current reactions by researchers to Plan S. The article raises concerns about the likely negative effects of such mandates on key features of scholarly publishing and research practice.

​This academic thought piece provides an overview of the history of, and current trends in, publishing practices in the scientific fields known to the authors (chemical sciences, social sciences and humanities), as well as a discussion of how open access mandates such as Plan S from cOAlition S will affect these practices. It begins by summarizing the evolution of scientific publishing, in particular how it was shaped by the learned societies, and highlights how important quality assurance and scientific management mechanisms are being challenged by the recent introduction of ever more stringent open access mandates. The authors then discuss the various reactions of the researcher community to the introduction of Plan S, and elucidate a number of concerns: that it will push researchers towards a pay‐to‐publish system which will inevitably create new divisions between those who can afford to get their research published and those who cannot; that it will disrupt collaboration between researchers on the different sides of cOAlition S funding; and that it will have an impact on academic freedom of research and publishing. The authors analyse the dissemination of, and responses to, an open letter distributed and signed in reaction to the introduction of Plan S, before concluding with some thoughts on the potential for evolution of open access in scientific publishing.

Plan S: At the Crossroads of Open Access to Research

In September 2018, Plan S was announced in Norway and several other European countries. While the initiative is aimed at increasing open access, it can have consequences for the researchers and institutions affected by the policy. 
With this in mind, researchers at the University of Oslo and PRIO authored a report evaluating the possible drawbacks and problems tied to Plan S. The Norwegian report was released earlier this month, and the English version is now available. While the report is written as a commentary specific to the situation in Norway, many of the issues raised are relevant to all countries and individual researchers subject to Plan S.

Welcome to Open Access Week on the PRIO Blog!

​This week is International Open Access Week 2019. The aim of this global event is to raise awareness about open access and open science and to contribute to promoting and mainstreaming open research practices. To mark this year’s OA Week, we’ll be publishing a series of short blog posts exploring different aspects of the debates about open access and open science that are happening here at PRIO.

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