Stakeholders united in the charge for transformation: Plan S and the Open Access 2020 Initiative

The Open Access movement has received an enormous boost today with the launch of Science Europe’s 10 principles of Plan S, devised by Robert-Jan Smits, the Open Access Envoy of the European Commission. Already 11 national research funding organisations have agreed to implement the 10 principles of Plan S in a coordinated way, forming cOAlition S, with the support of the European Commission and the European Research Council (ERC).

This decisive action on behalf of the research funding community reinforces the efforts of the Open Access 2020 Initiative, constituting a strategic alignment in the drive to accelerate the transition to open access with concrete measures aimed at removing our financial support of a scholarly communication system based on paywalled subscriptions.

By designating the ‘hybrid’ model of publishing as not compliant with the principles of Plan S, the funding bodies of cOAlition S are putting an end to “double dipping” and, thus, increasing the leverage power of their investments in precisely the same way that national consortia are using their subscription expenditures as leverage to inject open access into license negotiations. Like the successful flanking tactics in the Battle at Marathon, research funding organizations and research performing institutions (via their libraries and consortia) are now working on both sides of the scholarly communication chain to rein in the expenditures flowing to subscription publishers and lay siege to paywalls.

Recognizing the work of the Open Access 2020 Initiative and those research performing organizations that are taking active steps to convert their subscription expenditures into funds that support open access publishing, the President of Science Europe, Marc Schiltz specifically acknowledges transformative agreements (publish and read, offsetting, etc.) as a valuable, complementary strategy in the Preamble to Plan S:

We acknowledge that ‘transformative’ type of agreements, where subscription fees are offset against publication fees, may contribute to accelerate the transition to full Open Access. Therefore, it is acceptable that, during a transition period that should be as short as possible, individual funders may continue to tolerate publications in ‘hybrid’ journals that are covered by such a ‘transformative’ type of agreement.

As Schiltz further states, “There is no valid reason to maintain any kind of subscription-based business model for scientific publishing in the digital world, where Open Access dissemination is maximising the impact, visibility, and efficiency of the whole research process.”

A new, open paradigm in scholarly communication starts with a commitment to remove financial support of the subscription system. As Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research Science and Innovation has stated, “Now is the time for us to act collectively to make [open access] a reality.”



On the effectiveness of APCs – outcomes of the 3rd ESAC workshop, Munich

Thanks to the great support from the workshop participants, the ESAC Initiative is happy to publish the final report of the 3rd ESAC workshop held in Munich last month, “On the effectiveness of APCs”:

While a significant portion of open access journals operate on independent funding mechanisms, the Article Processing Charge (APC), originally pioneered by BioMed Central as a means to secure the financial viability of journals, has grown to be one of the most prevalent business models in open access publishing, adopted by well-established pure open access publishers such as PLoS, MDPI, Hindawi, Frontiers and beyond. With the steady growth of open access publishing in recent years, particularly by traditional subscription publishers via hybrid article publishing options, born-OA journals such as Nature Communications and Scientific Reports, and transformative agreements (ie offsetting, publish and read, etc.) the need for close monitoring and control of processes, standards and workflows related to Article Processing Charges (APCs) has become crucial. Through such work academic and research libraries have the opportunity and, indeed, the responsibility to exercise oversight and management of APCs to ensure the best interests of their researchers and institutions are served.


LIBER 2018 | Lille, France | July 4, 2018

LIBER 2018

July 4, 2018
Lille, France


The aim of the workshop is to give participants a clear understanding of the essential role that libraries have to play in the transformation of scholarly communications. The aim is also to empower the libraries with key insights in order to develop an action plan to drive the transition towards Open Access through a variety of approaches. In the first part of the workshop, we will introduce some data-driven strategies for achieving more OA and, in the second part, we will explore approaches in an interactive manner, addressing topics such as OA for e-books, Gold OA journals, as well as the transformation of paywalled journals.

Libraries have the power to lead the way in the OA transformation, and there are many ways to do so! This workshop is planned and organised by the LIBER Open Access Working Group in collaboration with OA2020 .


Open Access 2020 Transformation Workshop | Munich, Germany | June 5 – 7

Open Access 2020 Transformation Workshop

June 5 – 7, 2018
Munich, Germany

For librarians and consortia staff looking to take pro-active steps to drive the transition of scholarly communications to open access.

This workshop, featuring special guest presenters and Max Planck Digital Library staff with over 10 years of experience in developing OA strategies and workflows, empowers participants with a clear understanding of the essential role librarians play in driving the transition of scholarly communications from the subscription system to open access publishing. Covering multiple strategies but with a strong focus on transformational agreements (ie offsetting, read and publish, etc.), participants will learn strategic and practical approaches to help them create and implement their own local OA2020 roadmap and have impact on a global scale. Now in its third iteration, the workshop is a fantastic opportunity to share experiences and learn best practice in managing and leading the transition to Open Access.


LOA 2018 (Licenses and Open Access) | June 1 | Stockholm, Sweden

LOA 2018 (Licenses and Open Access)

June 1, 2018
Stockholm, Sweden

Colleen Campbell will deliver the keynote OA2020 and Alternative Publishing Models and participating in a panel discussion on the Transition to Open Access – Re-organizing the Payment Streams, moderated by Beate Eellend, Open Access Coordinator, National Library of Sweden, with Wilhelm Widmark, Library Director, Stockholm University; Lisbeth Söderqvist, Analyst, Swedish Research Council; and Mikael Laakso, Associate Professor, Hanken School of Economics.