Following a recent update on criteria for transformative journals, cOAlition S has released guidance on Plan S-compliant price transparency frameworks. From July 2022, cOAlition S will require journals to disclose the costs of publishing articles before funders contribute to open access fees.
As summarised in a recent Science Magazine article, cOAlition S price transparency requirements will mean publishers must provide a breakdown of their open access fees, itemising the cost of services such as proofreading, copy editing, and organising peer review.
cOAlition S will only support open access publication fees that are fair and reasonable, and if the journals are not willing to disclose these costs, then cOAlition S funders simply will not pay.
Publishers can choose to adhere to one of two endorsed transparency frameworks:
- the Plan S Price and Transparency Framework, already used in a pilot study
- the Fair Open Access Alliance (FOAA) framework, implemented by several journals to date.
To mitigate concerns from publishers, the data provided will not be shared publicly (only with funders and research institutions), and there will be no price cap.
cOAlition S believe that transparent price and services information will enable customers to better understand the various elements of open publication and compare publishers, in turn stimulating competition. There is also potential for journals to benefit from these requirements. Indeed, Springer Nature remains supportive of cOAlition S, and Steven Inchcoombe (the chief publishing officer) agrees that price transparency will help people understand the value of journals and differences between them.
Robert Kiley, Head of Open Research at Wellcome and interim coordinator of cOAlition S, comments: “Providing this information is an opportunity for publishers to demonstrate their commitment to open business models and business cultures.”
cOAlition S foresee providing further details about how publishers should deposit their data by December 2021.