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Plan S offers little for the people it will affect most

Early-career researchers would feel more enthusiastic about the disruption of scholarly publishing if there were any sign of alternative ways to build a reputation, says Dave Nicholas.

Early-career researchers who are millennials are, as a group, sympathetic to openness, sharing and greater outreach. Many believe open access can benefit science and welcome the chance to take back some control of their outputs.

But they are also competitive, strategic and pragmatic; their professional survival depends on it. They know what keeps their bosses happy and secures tenure. And that is publishing in journals with high impact factors, irrespective of publisher, open-access status or audience.

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