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hybrid journals to be deemed ‘transformative’ under Plan S, for a short transition period; a stance now supported by draft guidance for such journals.
The draft guidance from cOAlition S aims to help transformative journals move towards Plan S-compliant open access publishing.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?