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Societies split on Plan S

Two of the world’s foremost scientific societies are divided over the open-access initiative Plan S, amid concern that it may cut access to society journals for some researchers.

Plan S is an initiative from a group of funders, calling themselves Coalition S, to increase their impact by requiring the researchers they support to publish results immediately in pre-approved open-access journals and platforms. Thirteen national funders across Europe have signed up so far, as well as the European Research Council, the Wellcome Trust and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Researchers have expressed diverse opinions on the plan. Several early-career associations have lent their support, but more than 800 individual researchers have signed a letter of concern, which was published on 5 November. Their worries include that Plan S will prevent researchers who get money from signatory funders from publishing in, and even reading, some important subscription journals. On 8 November, the Association of American Publishers said it “shares these concerns”.

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