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Will the World Embrace the Radical Proposal to Mandate Open Access to Science Papers?


Plan S, illustration

Credit: Davide Bonazzi / Salzam Art

How far will Plan S spread?

Since the September 2018 launch of the Europe-backed program to mandate immediate open access (OA) to scientific literature, 16 funders in 13 countries have signed on. That's still far shy of Plan S's ambition: to convince the world's major research funders to require immediate OA to all published papers stemming from their grants. Whether it will reach that goal depends in part on details that remain to be settled. But the plan has gained momentum: In December 2018, China stunned many by expressing strong support for Plan S. This month, a national funding agency in Africa is expected to join, possibly followed by a second U.S. funder. Others around the world are considering whether to sign on.

Plan S, scheduled to take effect on 1 January 2020, has drawn support from many scientists, who welcome a shake-up of a publishing system that can generate large profits while keeping taxpayer-funded research results behind paywalls. But publishers are concerned, and some scientists worry that Plan S could restrict their choices.

If Plan S fails to grow, it could remain a divisive mandate that applies to only a small percentage of the world's scientific papers.

From Science
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