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Funders publish framework for monitoring impact of Plan S

Tool will measure effects on researcher employment and evaluation as well as journal choice

The group of funders behind Plan S, who will require publications they have supported to be made openly immediately available in certain outlets from 2021, has published a framework for monitoring the impact of the controversial initiative on a swath of areas, including researcher evaluation and journal choice.

“Signatories of Plan S can track or monitor the most significant of these effects, both positive and negative,” the group said on 10 July when announcing the monitoring tool, which relies primarily on available datasets collected by research funders.

The tool was developed by Plan S representatives, including the association of research funders and performers Science Europe and the national funder UK Research and Innovation, as well as early career researcher groups. It focuses primarily on how Plan S will affect researcher employment, evaluation and journal choice—and any consequences for diversity and collaboration.

Monitoring is considered necessary because some people and organisations are concerned Plan S could have harmful effects, including on young researchers’ career paths. “Because the connection of publication venue to career progression is currently strong, this effect will be monitored as a priority concern”, the funders said.

To a lesser extent, the tool also evaluates effects on research activity, costs of open-access publishing, administrative burden, visibility and reach of papers published, partnerships between research funders, and changes to the sustainability of scholarly societies.