The Plan S architect, scourge of paywalls, reveals how the policy sausage got made.
Plan S for Shock: Science. Shock. Solution. Speed. Robert-Jan Smits & Rachael Pells Ubiquity (2022)
In 2018, a group of influential research funders struck a blow in the decades-long fight to end paywalls in science. Peer-reviewed papers from research they supported must be made open access immediately on publication, they declared: free to read, download and redistribute.
An interview about a fascinating book that delves into the history and origins of Plan S, the policy from European research funding bodies that requires the open access of funded research. As long as the equity issues can be sorted out (see our recent post) AHRECS absolutely agree that scientific papers should be free to access.
In Plan S for Shock, Smits — now president of the executive board of Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands — and journalist co-author Rachael Pells emphasize that nothing less than a transformation of academia’s reward systems is needed to achieve full OA. The authors also introduce dozens of other viewpoints, from researchers, publishers (including Springer Nature, which publishes Nature) and non-academics frustrated that they can’t easily access the knowledge they need. The book is itself free to download: it is published by the OA Ubiquity Press in London, and Pells was paid for her time by OA publisher Frontiers, based in Lausanne, Switzerland. (Frontiers had a key role in encouraging Smits to introduce Plan S.)