Scientific societies worry about threat from Plan S

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Science  25 Jan 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6425, pp. 332-333
DOI: 10.1126/science.363.6425.332

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  • RE: Scientific societies worry about threat from Plan S

    Much attention is focused on the need for open-access and Plan S(1,2). As a founding board member and co-publisher of Herpetological Conservation and Biology, which assesses no author or reader fees, I am very familiar with online journals. Open-access is among several different kinds of scholarly publishing available today. Options range from entirely free, like HCB, to journals that have both author and reader fees. This diversity of publishing choices is essential to serve the diverse needs of the scientific community.
    The important argument supporting open-access is that publicly funded science should be publicly available. This point has great merit, but not all studies are publicly funded. Most open-access journals cover their costs via publication charges. Although some journals claim to wave these fees, many will not and waivers are not guaranteed. Publication charges are typically insurmountable for investigators who lack funding. Some claim self-funding of research is quite rare (3). However, about ~20% of research expenditures in 2008 were self-funded by the universities (4), but the proportion of researchers that are externally unfunded is unaccounted for, especially among non-university scientists. About 50% of economics (5) and 84% of pathology publications in 1990 (6) and 30% of cardiology researchers in 2013 (7) were unfunded. Many doing whole organism research do so without significant financial support (2). Self-funded scientists contribu...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.

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