At the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) Annual Meeting in San Diego last Thursday, those unfortunate enough to be speaking during the 4pm slot lost their audience as everyone’s attention turned to their phones. The wait was over! Revised Plan S implementation guidelines were released last Thursday or Friday, depending on what part of the globe you were in.
If nothing else, Plan S is the gift that keeps on giving for bloggers, pundits, and consultants and this will certainly not be the last word on the revised guidelines you read here in the Scholarly Kitchen. I’m going to use the opportunity of having the first word here to take a step back to look at the bigger picture (so those of you looking for the play-by-play will have to wait!). Today, I’m more interested in how Plan S may or may not contribute to a more fundamental remake of scholarly communication – one that is more fit for purpose in this digital century, rather than one that continues to be driven by the legacy of the print era. And yes, I do worry that in all of the wrangling about what is and isn’t Plan S compliant, we’re far too focused on the trees and are not asking the right questions.
My initial disclaimer, if it’s not obvious, is that I am completely supportive of the driving principles and objectives of Plan S. I lead an organization that is – and always has been – Plan S compliant from top to toe. But more than that, I share the goal of a future in which the research literature is fully and immediately open with liberal rights of reuse. And so, I am pleased to see that this bold goal not only remains unchanged but that the feedback process has encouraged (or, in some cases, perhaps forced) stakeholders to support these general principles:
‘The feedback received has shown that the overall goal of achieving full and immediate Open Access is widely supported by those who responded. The overall objective of Plan S has thus not been challenged.’