With only five months until the implementation of Plan S, cOAlition S have announced a new strategy to bypass a block on their road to open access. As reported in a news article published by Nature, the Rights Retention Strategy will “safeguard researchers’ intellectual ownership rights,” empowering those supported by cOAlition S organisations to publish in their journal of choice – including subscription journals.
The Plan S roadmap includes three routes to achieve full and immediate open access, involving publishing in:
- open access journals or platforms
- subscription journals under transformative agreements
- subscription journals, with the article made openly available in a repository.
The latter involves – as a minimum – embargo-free availability of an author accepted manuscript (AAM) under a CC-BY licence or equivalent. However, publishers often prohibit such sharing by requiring authors to sign exclusive publishing agreements. This is where the new Rights Retention Strategy comes into play.
cOAlition S funders will stipulate in their grant conditions that, for original research that they have funded, a CC-BY licence is applied to all AAMs or versions of record (VoR) deposited to meet the Plan S requirements.
cOAlition S hope that, with these grant conditions taking legal precedence over any publishing agreements, subscription publishers will amend their policies to allow free and immediate sharing of AAMs or VoRs. Marc Schiltz (President of Science Europe and Chair of the cOAlition S Leaders Group) has emphasised the importance of immediate sharing of research, arguing that the COVID-19 crisis has revealed embargo periods to be “indefensible”. Will embargo periods for scholarly publications become a thing of the past? It’s an interesting journey ahead.