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The British Academy publishes commentary on cOAlition S’s final version of Plan S

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The British Academy has published a new commentary on cOAlition S’s final version of ‘Plan S’ for open access publishing, and once again voiced concerns over the initiative.

Plan S aims to “accelerate the transition to full and immediate open access to scientific publications”. ‘cOAlition S’ is the name of the coalition of funders who have signed up to Plan S and are driving the plan forward.

As the national academy for the humanities and social sciences, the British Academy has been paying close attention to the development of Plan S and has commented on the previous iterations of it.

Earlier this year cOAlition S issued a final version of Plan S, together with guidelines for its implementation, in response to the extensive international reactions to the original initiative.

The Academy’s new commentary focuses on this final version of Plan S, and highlights three specific areas of concern:

  • The failure by the proponents of Plan S to address its implications for issues of equality and diversity, in particular problems which it might cause for early career researchers, BME researchers, scholars outside universities, and retired but still active academics
  • The use of Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs licences (CC BY-ND); the Academy believes the use of this licence should be automatic and not subject to individual application as, for humanities and social sciences scholars, ND licences are essential to prevent misrepresentation of data by third parties
  • The implications of Plan S for journals in the social sciences and particularly in the humanities, where most research is not supported by grants that include an allowance for Article Processing Charges (APCs). The Academy is particularly disappointed by the ignoring of widespread concerns expressed about ‘hybrid’ journals, since these make up almost nine-tenths of all HSS journals.

The British Academy remains committed to open access publishing and will continue to engage with cOAlition S on Plan S.

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