Full open access postponed by a year

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We’ll have to have a little more patience before all articles by Dutch scientists are available for free. Publishers and knowledge institutions will have a year longer to switch to full open access.

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Coalition S, an international group of research financers including NWO and ZonMW, wants scientists to publish exclusively in open access magazines (Plan S). The idea behind this is that publicly financed research should be available to everyone. Authors pay a one-time fee for publishing, making exorbitantly expensive subscriptions to magazines redundant.

The original plan was to switch to full open access by January 1, 2020. This turns out to be much too fast. After a thorough international consultation, it became apparent that the parties involved need more time to prepare for the change. They’ll get it: the starting date has been postponed to January 1, 2021.

Green route
This isn’t the only thing that’s been changed in Plan S. Scientists will also be allowed to publish through the ‘green route’, meaning that their articles in magazines are still locked behind paywalls, but they’re available for free to everyone in their own archives.

Coalition S will also review its assessment criteria, in light of the so-called DORA declaration. The declaration states, among other things that more attention should focus on the quality and impact of studies, and less on the citation and publication scores of scientists. The declaration was signed by over 1,200 organisations, including the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts & Sciences, NWO, and ZonMw.

Hybrid magazines
The international group of research financers remains critical with regard to hybrid magazines. These are magazines that publish both open access articles and paid articles. That means they receive subscription money, while also profiting from making scientific articles freely accessible. The financers don’t wish to pay for publications in these magazines any longer.

They do emphasise their willingness to contribute to possible costs resulting from open access publishing, to ensure scientists themselves don’t have to do so.

Click here for more DUB articles on Plan S

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