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Open access across the globe: our summary of the second Biomedical Transparency Summit series webinar

The Center for Biomedical Research Transparency (CBMRT) hosted the second of three webinars last week, continuing the virtual sessions forming this year’s Biomedical Transparency Summit series. The webinar, entitled ‘Open access – developments across the globe’, included presentations from Professor Johan Rooryck (cOAlition S) and Professor Ginny Barbour (Australasian Open Access Strategy Group [AOASG]).

Professor Rooryck spoke about Plan S, an open access (OA) initiative requiring that publications arising from research funded by cOAlition S organisations are published OA, aiming to make all scholarly publications available to the largest possible audience worldwide. He provided an overview of the three potential routes for compliance with Plan S:

  • publish in/on a fully OA journal/platform, in which case the funder should pay any article processing charge, not the individual
  • publish in a subscription journal but make a copy (either the Author Accepted Manuscript or Version of Record) immediately available via repository under a CC BY licence – however, this Rights Retention Strategy, underpinned by the legal precedence of grant conditions over publishing agreements, has been met with some resistance
  • publish OA in a journal under a transformative arrangement in which subscription publishers agree to transition to OA through a range of strategies.

Professor Barbour described how COVID-19 has been a catalyst for greater adoption of open science globally, but noted that there was a need for more diverse approaches as this move has not been supported by all sectors. She highlighted large, international efforts from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), in addition to Plan S, that aim to promote open science, but described how national strategies were essential to drive locally relevant approaches. Professor Barbour discussed the major challenges to developing national approaches, emphasising that both high-level (ie governmental) support plus consultation and engagement with all sectors were required. She presented an update on new and ongoing OA initiatives and policies in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Japan, and Indonesia.

A panel discussion, facilitated by Katie Steen (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) and Dr Nick Campbell (Springer Nature), concluded the webinar.

Further topics raised during the webinar included:

  • recent results from a study of diamond OA journals (those free for readers and authors), which emphasised the need to develop infrastructure and increase funding to support this OA approach
  • cOAlition S’ transparent pricing initiatives
  • the growth of OA in the US in recent decades, and hopes for greater US engagement with international OA initiatives like Plan S, once the administration has transitioned
  • the need for long-term, international engagement to build a diverse publishing infrastructure that benefits high-, low- and middle-income countries equally.

Feel free to explore the recording or slides from Professor Rooryck’s presentation and Professor Barbour’s presentation yourself. You can also read our summaries of the first and third webinars in the series.


Summary by Alice Wareham PhD, CMPP from Aspire Scientific

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