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Plan S: A European Open Access Mandate

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OpenAIRE welcomes the announcement of the ambitious ‘Plan S’, launched by cOAlition S, a coalition of 11 national funding organisations. This is an important step towards an open and transparent environment for research, where all kinds of research outputs can be openly accessed, linked, enriched and archived. We expect that this initiative will accelerate the transition to Open Access and Open Science, complementing the existing efforts, with the aim of making all publicly funded research publications Open Access by 2020.

Among the 10 Principles of 'Plan S', we particularly welcome the following:
  1. Author copyright retention: Authors retain copyright and should use open licenses such as the CC-BY license (or other licenses fulfilling the criteria of the Berlin Declaration). This is a crucial principle to enable the reuse of scholarly information.
  2. Support for existing or future infrastructures: These infrastructures should be as open as possible in terms of governance and technology.
  3. Recognition of the importance of repositories: The ‘green’ road to Open Access represents a cost-friendly and sustainable way of offering freely accessible, searchable and findable research artefacts.
  4. Monitor compliance and sanction non-compliance: It is vital to be able to follow up on a mandate and to see funder output in terms of publications and data.
We also expect the announcement of Plan S to have an effect on the following elements of the scholarly communication landscape:
  1. Reinforce the role of the existing network of repositories. Sustained by hundreds of universities and other research institutions worldwide, repositories are an essential building block in the Open Access landscape. Interlinked repositories are an instrument to discover open versions of paywalled articles and other components of the scholarly record, ie. gray literature, reports as well as supporting supporting reproducibility via overlay journals.
  2. Support versatile, alternative and innovative publishing models.  Plan S should not ‘seal’ the current system, rather work to support collaborative Open Access publishing so that scholarly communication is part of the broader costed knowledge landscape which includes production, verification/certification, publishing, reading/mining/using and citing of publications.
  3. Build trusted, open, new-generation infrastructures.  Infrastructures to support research and reproducibility need to be built on the principle of open: openness of the infrastructure itself (code, APIs, workflows, governance) and the openness of digital objects being stored (publications, data, methods, lab books). They should support innovative ways of conducting research  (e.g. open metrics, pre-prints, open peer review), and facilitate new ways of assessment and evaluation for the benefit of researchers, funders, research administrators.
  4. No hybrids and APC caps. OpenAIRE supports the principle of the capping of APCs as our practice has shown in the  FP7 OA post-grant pilot. In the same vein, the principle that the ‘hybrid’ model of publishing will not be compliant is welcomed.

Having supported the EC’s Open Access Mandate since 2009, OpenAIRE is at the forefront of the evolving Open Access and the Open Science landscape.  As we know that details matter in the success of any plan, we are looking forward to support the implementation of the ‘Plan S’ at both European and member states level.

References and further statements on Plan S:


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