Currently, most journals charge for subscriptions and keep online papers behind a paywall for at least several months. But the Plan S funders, who will release final rules this month, insist that scientists who receive their funding publish without a paywall or waiting period. One way for scientists to comply with the plan, which is backed by 15 European government funders and four foundations, is to publish in a journal that collects fees from authors to cover free access—the “gold” model of open access.
Some publishers fear they wouldn’t earn enough through author fees to remain financially viable. So, according to John Sack, founding director of HighWire in Los Gatos, California, which provides web hosting for nonprofit scientific publishers, many have warmed to another compliance option: “green” open access. In that model—permitted in the draft version of Plan S, unveiled in September 2018—Plan S–funded authors could deposit free-to-read papers in public repositories without a waiting period. The journal would continue to collect subscription fees, and the mechanism could benefit some authors who lack funding to pay for gold open access.
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