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PRESS RELEASE: Researchers Support Open Access via Plan S

Brussels, 24 September 2018

Three organisations representing early-career and senior researchers across Europe have today released a Joint Statement on Open Access for Researchers via Plan S (PDF 303 Kb). The statement from the European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers (Eurodoc), Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA), and Young Academy of Europe (YAE) welcomes and supports proposals from a coalition of national research funding organisations in Europe to achieve full and immediate Open Access to scientific publications by 01 January 2020.

The proposed ‘Plan S’ consists of 10 principles which will be enacted by the 11 national funders of ‘cOAlition S’. Our statement offers support for Plan S and recommendations on implementing the principles to ensure a smooth transition to full and immediate Open Access for researchers in Europe. Eurodoc President Gareth O’Neill:Plan S is a bold and ambitious move for researchers to take back control of access to scientific publications. Author retention of copyrights, a funding boycott on hybrid publishing, and a funding cap on publication fees are especially radical. It is now crucial that early-career and senior researchers are heard to develop and implement the principles and make Plan S a success”.

The three organisations agree generally with the principles, but call for more details on some key aspects of the plan, such as the amount and duration of the funding cap as well as the importance of self-archiving and publishing models with no author-facing fees. MCAA Chair Matthew DiFranco:Plan S is a bold step in the right direction for reigning in the exploitation of publicly funded research for private profits. However, the plan should not complicate efforts by researchers to publish their work and advance in their careers. Wider adoption of Plan S will be necessary to ensure that researchers benefit from the proposals”.

The plan should crucially not be implemented in isolation, but should occur simultaneously with the educating and training of researchers in Open Science, and the revision of the research reward system to include Open Science practices. YAE Chair Marcel Swart:Plan S is only the first step to move away from evaluation practices based on journal impact factors and number crunching. Especially for early-career researchers, who are in a precarious moment in their lives, a fair evaluation is needed where research and scientific advances should play a central role. The implementation of Plan S without jeopardising young careers in an international competitive playfield is crucial for European research”.

We thank all of our members who contributed to this statement and also Ashley Farley, Bianca Kramer, Björn Brembs, Jon Tennant, and Peter Suber for critical comments on a draft version of this statement. Any errors are solely attributed to Eurodoc, MCAA, and YAE.

Contact details:  Gareth O’Neill | @gtoneill  | +31651003175  | gareth.oneill@eurodoc.net