PRESS RELEASE: Researchers Respond to Implementation of Plan S

Brussels, 28 January 2019

A joint response to the implementation guidance for Plan S has today been issued by three organisations representing early-career and senior researchers in Europe. The response by the European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers (Eurodoc), the Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA), and the Young Academy of Europe (YAE) offers concrete recommendations on the proposed guidance for implementing Open Access via Plan S.

Our three organisations represent a broad spectrum of researchers in Europe: Eurodoc represents 100000+ doctoral candidates and postdoctoral researchers from 29 national associations across Europe; MCAA has 10000+ members who are alumni fellows of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA); YAE consists of 200+ outstanding and recognised researchers in Europe. We all strongly support the main goals of Open Science and Plan S.

The joint response builds upon previous recommendations by our organisations on the principles of Plan S and aims to ensure its realistic implementation from the perspective of European researchers. Eurodoc President Gareth O’Neill:Plan S has shaken the academic community awake and created a lively discussion on Open Access publishing. cOAlition S has addressed some key concerns from researchers in the technical guidance but still leaves other issues open and sets too strict standards for the desired broad adoption of Plan S.

The proposals on copyright and licensing are still somewhat contentious. YAE Vice-Chair Toma Susi who coordinated the response for YAE: “Copyright licences are complicated and often misunderstood. Plan S requires an open CC BY licence which applies only to publications and is necessary for unrestricted text-and-data mining and other desired reuses. This is why it is the right choice for publicly funded research. However, humanities and social science scholars have expressed valid concerns over misrepresentation and translations with CC BY. Our recommendation is thus to allow the option of an ND licence.

The key to the successful implementation of Plan S lies in the research evaluation system. Mattias Björnmalm who coordinated the response for MCAA:A crucial factor for Plan S to succeed is that funders and institutions modernise their research and researcher assessment (e.g. for grants, hiring, and promotion) and evaluate research on its own merits instead of relying on faulty metrics. Good practices already exist from many funders and institutions. We ask institutions and especially the members of cOAlition S to not only sign but to start implementing the DORA principles in their research and researcher evaluation.

We thank all of our members who contributed to this statement and also Bob Jones, Bianca Kramer, Raman Ganguly, Ignasi Labastida i Juan, Peter Murray-Rust, Jon Tennant, and Peter Suber for critical feedback. Any errors are attributable to Eurodoc, MCAA, and YAE.

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