In a step towards open access, the publisher of Science will begin to allow some authors publishing in their high-profile subscription journals to share their accepted manuscripts openly online on liberal terms, which means that anyone can reproduce or redistribute the work.
The change ensures that scholars with grants from some funding agencies who insist on open access (OA) publishing under the bold Plan S initiative can still publish in the family of subscription journals Science. About two dozen funders signed up for Plan S, which officially began on January 1
In the last two months, many selective subscription journals have introduced options for authors to pay fees to publish their OA reports, in response to Plan S. But the American Science Development Association (AAAS) in Washington, which publishes Science, says he wants to avoid this because he is concerned about the introduction of OA publishing fees, which may be financially unaffordable for authors.
Instead, the new AAAS policy allows researchers funded by some Plan S agencies to publish freely accepted versions of their articles online as soon as their documents appear – and under open licenses that allow anyone else to distribute or reproduce the manuscripts. (Some Plan S agencies have not yet finalized their manuscript sharing policies, such as the UK National Funding Fund, the UK Research and Innovation Fund, so the policy does not yet apply to them.)
AAAS already allows this type of instant sharing initiated by the author, sometimes called green open access, but its terms state that manuscripts can only be shared on personal or institutional web pages and cannot be redistributed. Researchers also had to wait six months before publishing manuscripts in repositories such as PubMed Central. This did not satisfy Plan S funders, who said that if scientists could not publish OA in journals (a process sometimes called golden OA), then they should share their accepted manuscripts under fully open licenses as soon as they were published.
In July 2020, some Plan S donors even said they would make it a legal grant for authors to retain the right to share their accepted manuscripts openly – no matter what the magazine’s publishing agreement says.
AAAS now says that researchers funded by Plan S agencies that adopt this “rights preservation scheme” (RRS) will be able to apply open licenses to their shared manuscripts. No other scientist publishing in AAAS journals will be able to do this.
Plan S has always allowed authors to comply with its policy through this type of green OA, said Johan Rorick, CEO of cOAlition S, the group of funders who signed the initiative. “We are pleased that AAAS has updated its policy to explicitly allow the sharing of these manuscripts,” he said in a statement.
The new agreement, which applies to all research presented in the family journals of Science since the beginning of this year, can see a lot Science manuscripts shared with open licenses. According to a report by Clarivate Analytics in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 31% of the articles published in Science in 2017, it recognized grants from funding plan S.
Some other magazines have also adopted a green OA to comply with the S. The plan New England Journal of Medicine told funders in October that it would allow a green OA in 2021 for scientists funded by Plan-S, for example. The Royal Society of London has for years allowed green OAs in its magazines and allows this to be done under open licenses if funders so require.
Open access routes
Other highly selective subscription magazines have adapted to Plan S in various ways. In November, publisher Springer Nature said it would offer OA in Nature-branded magazines for a fee of $ 9,500 ($ 11,500) on paper; he is also testing a price reduction program in some of his magazines. (Nature is editorially independent of its publisher.)
And in December, publisher Elsevier in Amsterdam announced a set of OA options for Cell Press magazines, with a fee of € 8,500 for publishing OA in Cage and € 7,600 for other magazines.
But many scientists worry that these prices are too high. Although Plan S funders can pay fees for their scientists, many other researchers will not be able to afford the OA option. (Elsevier said he would waive OA fees for researchers in the lowest-income countries and reduce them for some others.) That’s why AAAS chose green OA instead of importing gold OA into its subscription magazines, the publisher explained. .
“This approach reflects AAAS ‘concern that facilitating open access only through gold routes places an undue financial obligation on authors, which may freeze or exacerbate long-standing inequalities for authors of race, gender, geography, discipline and institution.” said in a statement.
“It is a bold move to come up with a green solution for OA that meets the requirements of Plan S and notes that they point to inequalities associated with the product handling fee business model,” said Stephen Curry. structural biologist from Imperial College London.
The AAAS approach means that most scholars publishing in its journals will not have a full option for OA, said Lisa Hinchliff, a librarian at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “It is unfortunate that this preserves the differences we see in the ecosystem, where the privileges of some publishing pathways extend to certain scholars but not to others – in this case, reflecting the uneven adoption of Plan S policies even in the funding family. plan S, “she says.
How to finance the wholesale transition from a read-only payment model to OA remains highly controversial. Some journals, hoping to slowly ease their way from subscribing to OA’s business models, have reached agreements whereby libraries or institutions pay a lump sum to cover the cost to their authors of both reading subscription content and publishing OA. In December, 11 publishers opposed the adoption of a green OA, saying it would “undermine progress” towards a full OA and that the version of the article’s record, not the accepted manuscript, should be opened.
AAAS wants to test the green OA model for its subscription magazines as a “year-round experiment to see if it’s sustainable,” said Bill Moran, publisher of the Science family of journals.
Can green OA work in the long run for the publisher (who also publishes a gold OA magazine, Scientific progress) is “the biggest issue we have struggled with,” he added. But given that the AAAS already allows manuscripts to be shared – if not so liberally – he hopes the change won’t mean that libraries or other communities cut subscriptions that support society.