• Posted 10-Apr-2019

Search is on for new steward to deliver Plan S open access

Robert-Jan Smits finished his one year mandate as the European Commission’s open access envoy end of Ferbrury and will be replaced for now by Robert Kiely, head of open research at the Wellcome Trust, until a long-term coordinator for the Plan S open access initiative is appointed.

Ελληνικό Κείμενο 

Plan S, which Smits and Science Europe, the body representing national funding agencies, got off the ground last year, demands that papers resulting from taxpayer-funded research be free to read at the point of publication by 2020. So far, 13 of Europe’s national funding agencies have signed up to the scheme. Two of the biggest research foundations in the world, the Wellcome Trust and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, also came on board.

 “I’m very grateful for the mandate given to me,” Smits said. “Carlos (Moedas) had told me that he wanted to have open access of scientific publications sorted out before the end of his term in office. So my task was clear, although it was a kind of mission impossible. Within a year, I had to come up with a plan and build a coalition around it. it became an amazing journey, a rollercoaster.”

The hope is that Plan S can catalyse the open access publishing movement, which has seen slow progress in its bid to make scientific literature freely available online. Detractors view the scheme as a misguided attack on academic freedom and it is also opposed by some scientific publishers.

In a couple of months, the Plan S organisers will present a revised version of their proposal based on a recent consultation, which generated feedback from 600 organisations. There will be changes to the original pitch, Smits said. “You don’t do a consultation, and then change nothing. The 10 principles of the plan will not be put into question, but there will be tweaks, and some more flexibility notably for repositories,” he said.

Meanwhile, the search will continue for more recruits. During his mandate, Smits attempted to sell Plan S to funders, research organisations and academic libraries in countries including South Africa, India, Japan and the US. China’s pledge of strong support for the plan in December last year, which stunned many, has boosted expectations that other science superpowers will swing behind the plan in time. India’s chief science adviser recently said his country, the third biggest producer of science papers in the world, would sign up.

In May, there is a meeting of the Global Research Council in Brazil, with representatives from all the main funders in the world expected to attend. There, Plan S organisers will try to get more agencies to sign up, and discuss terms with a similar open access initiative, Open Knowledge for Latin America and the Global South, known as Amelica. “We’re reaching out to see if we can join forces. Amelica is 100 per cent compatible with Plan S,” Smits said. “If we succeed, it will be an enormous step forward.”

Smits never expected the plan “would get so much traction, so much visibility and discussion. This was the icebreaker that science needed,” he said. But publishers have serious concerns about Plan S. Elsevier, the world’s biggest science publisher, has urged caution on the initiative, saying, "Above all, it is vital that researchers have the freedom to publish in the publication outlet of their choice."

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), publisher of the journal Science, argues that the model outlined in Plan S “will not support high-quality peer-review, research publication and dissemination”. National research agencies in some of Europe’s science powerhouses, such as Switzerland and Germany, have not yet signed up.

Smits says the bigger the Plan S coalition gets, the more chance there is that publishers will relent, and change their business models. Plan S, as written, would bar researchers from publishing in many influential journals.

“When will the commercial publishers give in and go for a big flip? How much is required? Do we need 20 per cent coverage for Plan S in the world, 30 per cent, 50 per cent? It’s the million-dollar question but the bigger we go, the more chance they have of flipping,” he said.

Smits says he has discussed an “orderly big flip” with the commercial publishers. “We do not want a chaotic system; I reached out to say, ‘can we not agree on a number of principles for the so-called transformative agreements?’. They have turned down the offer.”

Despite the lack of reaction, Smits says there has not been any animosity between him and publishers. “I was always courteous but very frank with them. We just have different agendas,” he said. But occasionally, the nature of his role marked him out as a target. “I regret some people played it below the belt, making accusations of a personal nature, like that I have links with certain people, and how I’m not a scientist,” he said.

More information: https://sciencebusiness.net/news/search-new-steward-deliver-plan-s-open-access-smits-bows-out



Ξεκίνησε η αναζήτηση για νέο διαχειριστή για το σχέδιο ανοικτής πρόσβασης Plan S

Ο Robert-Jan Smits ολοκλήρωσε το Φεβρουάριο τη θητεία του ως απεσταλμένος της Ευρωπαϊκής Επιτροπής για την ανοιχτή πρόσβαση και θα αντικατασταθεί, για τώρα, από τον Robert Kiely, τον επικεφαλής για την ανοιχτή έρευνα του Wellcome Trust, μέχρις ότου αναλάβει, σε μια πιο μακροπρόθεσμη βάση, ένα άτομο το συντονιστικό ρόλο για την πρωτοβουλία ανοικτής πρόσβασης Plan S.

To Plan S, το οποίο ξεκίνησαν τον προηγούμενο χρόνο ο Smits και το Science Europe (το όργανο που εκπροσωπεί τους εθνικούς οργανισμούς χρηματοδότησης) ζητά όπως μέχρι το 2020 άρθρα τα οποία έγιναν με έρευνα που χρηματοδοτήθηκε από τα χρήματα των φορολογουμένων να είναι διαθέσιμα για ανάγνωση δωρεάν κατά τη δημοσίευσή τους. Μέχρι στιγμής, 13 εθνικοί οργανισμοί χρηματοδότησης υπέγραψαν το σχέδιο. Επίσης, δύο από τα μεγαλύτερα ερευνητικά ιδρύματα, το Wellcome Trust και το Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation αποδέχτηκαν το σχέδιο.

Υπάρχει η ελπίδα ότι το Plan S μπορεί να προωθήσει το κίνημα εκδοτικής δραστηριότητας ανοικτής πρόσβασης, το οποίο έχει δει αργή πρόοδο στην προσπάθειά του να καταστήσει την επιστημονική βιβλιογραφία ελεύθερα διαθέσιμη στο διαδίκτυο. Οι δυσφημιστές του σχεδίου το βλέπουν σαν λανθασμένη επίθεση προς την ακαδημαϊκή ελευθερία. Την ίδια στιγμή, μερικοί επιστημονικοί εκδότες αντιτίθενται του σχεδίου.

Σε μερικούς μήνες, οι οργανωτές του Plan S θα παρουσιάσουν μια αναθεωρημένη έκδοση της πρότασής τους βασιζόμενοι σε μια πρόσφατη διαβούλευση η οποία έλαβε σχόλια από 600 οργανισμούς.  Σύμφωνα με τον Smits θα υπάρξουν αλλαγές στην αρχική πρόταση. Επίσης είπε ότι «δεν κάνεις διαβουλεύσεις και μετά δεν αλλάζεις τίποτα. Οι 10 αρχές του σχεδίου δεν θα αλλάξουν αλλά θα υπάρξουν αναπροσαρμογές και περισσότερη ευελιξία κυρίως σε ότι αφορά τα αποθετήρια».

Περισσότερες πληροφορίες: https://sciencebusiness.net/news/search-new-steward-deliver-plan-s-open-access-smits-bows-out