Implementation of Europe's ambitious open-access plan postponed

Lindsay Borthwick
June 5, 2019

The start date for Plan S, a Europe-led vision to make full and immediate open access to publicly funded research a reality, has been postponed by a year to January 1, 2021. The new timetable is the result of extensive, global consultation, and is intended to provide researchers, institutions, publishers, repositories and research funders more time to comply with the plan’s requirements.

The change was announced May 31 by cOAlition S, an international consortium of research funders.

“We are committed to implement what is one of the most significant and ambitious changes to the research system and with the final plan now in place we look forward to more funders, from across the world, supporting the transition to full and immediate open access by joining and aligning with cOAlition S,” said Marc Schiltz, president of Science Europe and co-initiator of Plan S, in a press release.

The final plan differs from the draft version in ways that are designed to ease the transition for subscription-based journals to open access, and also to change the research reward and incentive system.

Plan S is supported by 18 national and regional funders in Europe, including the European Commission and European Research Council, and three charitable organizations, including the Wellcome Trust and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It has not been endorsed by federal research funders in Canada, which introduced a joint open-access policy in 2015.

The Canadian Association of Research Libraries—one of more than 600 organizations to submit feedback to cOAlition S—welcomed the policy and acknowledged that: “Scholarly communication is global in nature, and Plan S will have a significant impact on scholarly publishing, both in the signatory countries and in other regions including Canada.”



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