Last month I had the privilege of attending the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) conference at the Royal Danish Library in Copenhagen. It was my first time attending an OASPA conference and I wanted to share some highlights. As the leader of a company that focuses on research and operates a grants management platform for research funders, I’m interested in the amount of change happening in scholarly publishing and how it impacts our customers.
While there were many terrific presentations and speakers at the conference, a good reference point for the Open Access (OA) topic is Plan S. Plan S is an initiative for Open Access publishing that was launched in September 2018 and is supported by cOAlition S, an international consortium of research funders. cOAlition S recently announced that Johan Rooryck has been appointed the Plan S Open Access Champion. Johan is in charge of promoting and developing Plan S and presented an update at the conference.
There are ten (10) Plan S principles, but the summary initiative statement is as follows: “With effect from 2021, all scholarly publications on the results from research funded by public or private grants provided by national, regional, and international research council and funding bodies, must be published in Open Access Journals, on Open Access Platforms, or made immediately available through Open Access repositories without embargo.”
A significant number of funders, including the Wellcome Trust, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Health Organization, have endorsed Plan S and are working on its implementation. cOAlition S is eager to get more funders to sign up and join the effort.
Another interesting presentation was by Heather Joseph, the Executive Director of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), on “Open Education”. While many of the presentations focused on Open Access from the perspective of publishing journals, Heather’s presentation was about the need for open textbooks and open education resources. Some interesting stats that jumped out at me were:
- 2 in 3 students say they decided against buying a textbook because the cost was too high
- 1 in 2 students say they have to delay classes because they can’t afford the books
SPARC released a landscape analysis publication in March, 2019 that contains a wealth of information about the changing academic publishing industry: https://sparcopen.org/our-work/landscape-analysis/.