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PLOS welcomes the revised Plan S guidelines

As a fully Open Access publisher entirely ready to support cOAlition S-funded authors, we have always been in a position to give our support to this bold initiative, and entirely agree that the driving principles and overall objective of Plan S have not been lessened or changed. cOAlition S has clearly listened to constructive suggestions from the community, and there is now enhanced scope for continued community dialogue, alongside the forward momentum. There are a number of revisions which we recognize will make the transition easier for the community, and which clarify or acknowledge other important factors, such as:

  • Diversity of models underpinning OA – The clarification that neither Plan S nor OA insists on the APC/publication fee model is a key refinement. While this has been a dominant model of OA publishing (including ours) in the Global North, it is absolutely necessary for any OA policies, plans, or mandates to be clear that OA is the outcome for research, not a single or specific business model;
  • Commitment to research assessment based on intrinsic merit – PLOS is an active member of DORA and appreciates the emphasis on changing the reward and incentive system of research. The OA movement has always operated closely with movements to improve the culture of research, and so we welcome this acknowledgement;
  • Preprints and peer review – PLOS advocates the posting of preprints to accelerate sharing of knowledge and welcomes cOalition S’s  “strong encouragement” for the early sharing of research through preprints while acknowledging that preprint posting alone is not a route to Plan S compliance. The value of high quality peer review as a “significant addition of value to scholarly communication” as emphasized in the Plan S Rationale is recognized at PLOS and was a driver in our move to offer published peer review, giving authors and reviewers more choices about how they publish and claim credit for their work.

The timeline shift for Plan S implementation to 2021 will be helpful to gain even more community support for the initiative. But we (along with many other publishers) remind the community that PLOS is already 100% Plan S compliant, and our suite of seven journals is available immediately for your cOAlition S-funded work  in most scholarly disciplines relevant to Plan S.

PLOS was founded on the principle that scholarly knowledge is a public good. We welcome the bold move of funders aligned behind the fundamental principle that no scholarly publication should be locked behind a paywall.

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