Working together to implement Plan S

Plan S outlines the aspirations of an international group of research funders, including UKRI, to reach 100% open access quickly and cost-effectively. This morning we have got more draft detail on how the signatories to Plan S, cOAlition S, envisage it being pursued. We now know, for example, that there is an important future for open access repositories, providing they can demonstrate that they meet requirements such as using the CC-BY 4.0 licence. The new guidance specifically points to the Jisc OpenDOAR service as a directory of repositories that can help with this, and to the Jisc RoMEO service, where journals’ policies regarding repositories must be listed. It also flags a range of new requirements on repositories, such as automatic ingest tools, XML file formats and long term preservation, that they typically do not yet meet. The new Jisc shared open research service will provide UK universities with a repository tool that does meet these requirements.

We also know that the kinds of transformative agreements with journal publishers that Jisc Collections has been pursuing for some time are going to remain critical to the transition to OA. The guidelines point to a set of services that journals and platforms will need to offer to be compliant, many of which featured in our ‘compliance’ document in 2016. We do not know precisely how these, and other, approaches will feature in the OA policies of funders, apart from the Wellcome Trust which has already declared its new policy.

In the UK – and this will be the same everywhere that Plan S is pursued – the open access policies of the signatory funders will be guided by Plan S, but not strictly defined by it. Nevertheless, the new guidance suggests that there will be a degree of commonality in the way the plan is implemented. Inspired by this, Jisc is looking to deepen its existing cooperation with colleagues in organisations across Europe to put in place implementation mechanisms that will help researchers, their employers and funders, and publishers, realise the goals of Plan S, while respecting that the signatories may differ in their open access policies. We are in discussions on this with colleagues in Ireland, Sweden, Austria, Norway, Finland, the Netherlands and France, and with the teams responsible for the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and the ESAC (Efficiency and Standards for Article Charges) initiative, which are directly referenced by cOAlition S today, and the OpenAPC service (opening data about open access fees). We anticipate cooperation on journal negotiations and on the delivery of information services that ease the workflows associated with open access and, in particular, compliance with open access policies. Already, we see the Jisc requirements for transformative agreements with publishers included in ESAC’s list of such principles and requirements.

But of course this international cooperation is only one part of the picture. Jisc is also working with both global publishers and small society publishers, to find models that enable all of them to be confident about supporting Plan S in their operations and business models.

An international movement such as cOAlition S calls for an international response; one that reflects that research itself is usually international, that funders are collaborating internationally, but also that research funding and policies are often specific to countries and/or disciplines or subject areas. Those realising a new, more open, approach to scholarly communication are working together to support the aspirations of those who fund research.

By Neil Jacobs

JISC Programme Director, Digital Infrastructure (Information Environment)

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