La difficile transizione all'Open Access | Scienza in Rete
alespierno's bookmarks 2018-10-04
[google transl.] The difficult transition to Open Access
On 4 September, a group of 12 European research funding agencies announced the initiative to convert to Open Access (OA) Plan S, which provides for mandatory publication in OA by 2020 for all researchers who receive funds from European public bodies. Among the subscribers to this initiative there is also the National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN), the only Italian body. "The INFN has an Open Access tradition and has been at the forefront of its promotion for years with projects such as SCOAP3 in collaboration with CERN," said Fernando Ferroni, president of the INFN.
The plan was developed by cOAlition S, a consortium of 12 national funding agencies coordinated by the organisation Science Europe, with the support of the European Commission's head of Open Access, Robert-Jan Smits. The 10 principles of Plan S impose very stringent constraints on publications. Only 15% of the total number of journals that comply with the requirements of the Plan S are journals. Newspapers that allow free consultation of articles only six months after publication, the so-called delayed open access, are excluded, as are those with a hybrid model that normally provide for paid access but allow individual articles to be published in OA by asking the author to pay a commission, called an article processing charge (APC). The proposed model is inspired by the Bill & Melinda Gates Fundation model, which has had some success in convincing some magazines to convert their business model.
Plan S could change the fate of the conflict between research funding agencies in Europe and scientific publishers, first and foremost Reed Elsevier, which has been known as the RELX Group since 2015. The Dutch giant alone covers 24% of the scientific publications market, with an annual turnover of £2.5 billion in 2017. Together with Springer, Wiley-Blackweel, Tayor & Francis and Sage, Elsevier publishes over 50% of its scientific articles. By December 2016, the German university library consortium Projekt DEAL had suspended (stopped paying) its subscription contracts for access to the Dutch group's journals. In May of this year, the Swedish members of the Bibsam Consortium followed their example by refusing to renew their contract with Elsevier. For a transitional period, hoping to conclude the negotiations successfully, the publishing house guaranteed access to its contents to researchers affiliated with these consortia, but in July 2018 it decided to raise its paywalls.
The protest of European universities and research institutions is originated by the rising prices for access to scientific content, unsustainable also because of the growing budget constraints for research. More generally, it represents the opposition to a business model that George Monbiot on The Guardian called a robbery.