The Royal Economic Society has expressed concern that the open-access initiative Plan S could be detrimental to institutions with lower income.
While the society “supports the principle of open access”, it fears that under the current Plan S guidelines research may be “less easily available due to competition for funds for article processing charges”. These are fees charged by publishers to make scientific papers available in open-access journals. Lower-income institutions are likely to struggle to pay these fees, the society said.
“We are concerned that Plan S as stated will adversely affect groups with less access to funding, thereby exacerbating differences between the haves and have-nots,” it said on 7 February. The society was responding to a public consultation on the Plan S implementation guidelines, which closes on 8 February.