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Draft guidance from cOAlition S supports transformative journals’ transition to full open access

Isometric businessman use hammer breaking the wall

cOAlition S aims for all funded research to be made freely and immediately accessible through open access publishing: journals that currently operate paid or subscription business models will not be permitted under the Plan S initiative. While cOAlition S initially viewed hybrid journals as non-compliant, this proved controversial, with several key stakeholders advocating for hybrid journals to retain a role in the future of scientific publishing. cOAlition S now permits individual hybrid journals to be deemed ‘transformative’ under Plan S, for a short transition period; a stance now supported by draft guidance for such journals.

The draft guidance from cOAlition S aims to help transformative journals move towards Plan S-compliant open access publishing.

The framework provides guidance in three key areas:

  • increasing the proportion of open access content gradually, with at least an 8% year-on-year increase in open access penetration rate
  • offsetting subscription income from payments for publishing services (to avoid double payments, also known as ‘double-dipping’)
  • demonstrating a clear commitment to transition to full and immediate open access for all peer-reviewed scholarly articles, within an agreed timeframe.

A public consultation seeking input on the draft framework ran until early 2020. cOAlition S plan to publish the feedback received, along with a final version of the framework, by the end of March 2020. Will publishers of hybrid journals view the guidance as helpful in their transition to full open access?


Summary by Julianna Solomons PhD, CMPP from Aspire Scientific


With thanks to our sponsors, Aspire Scientific Ltd and NetworkPharma Ltd

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