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Updated Plan S implementation guidelines revealed

On 30 May 2019, the signatories of Plan S issued a set of updated implementation guidelines following the received feedback of over 600 respondents. EuChemS published a Position Paper outlining the concerns and suggestions of Learned Societies in the field of the chemical sciences in response to the unveiling of Plan S. The paper stressed the need to ensure that any full transition to open access publishing should be made in the right conditions and in a framework that would not harm European science. Moreover, we highlighted the role Learned Societies play in the publishing ecosystem and the risks associated with Plan S.

EuChemS acknowledges the work that has been done in order to evaluate the large amount of feedback received. We would also like to acknowledge that some of our recommendations were adopted, in particular that no cap will be introduced on APCs. Regarding publication costs, we remain concerned at the wording used in the updated Plan S, which could leave room to publication costs being carried by individual researchers. EuChemS is moreover surprised that the updated guidelines have not taken into enough consideration the points of view expressed by Learned Societies. The cOAlition S’ stance on other forms of journals as well as on embargo periods has unfortunately not changed. This continues to have grave implications for many publishers who are not capable of flipping business models in such a short time frame.

EuChemS acknowledges that the role of Learned Societies is mentioned and recognised in the updated guidelines. However no accommodation has concretely been made to include them more thoroughly into the debate and decision-making process. As an important pillar of the knowledge creation ecosystem, and as representatives of an important segment of the research community, we strongly recommend further dialogue between Plan S signatories and Learned Societies.

As it stands, Plan S has not been fundamentally modified, and whilst the date it is meant to go into effect has been pushed back by a year, too many uncertainties remain. EuChemS would strongly encourage the signatories of Plan S to continue discussing with all stakeholders and work towards a sustainable solution that works for science and for the entire scientific community.