cOAlition S Introduces the “Towards Responsible Publishing” Proposal
From a Plan S Statement:
Driven by the same “duty of care for the good functioning of the science system” that inspired Plan S, the funders forming cOAlition S are now exploring a new vision for scholarly communication; a vision that holds the promise of being more effective, affordable, and equitable, ultimately benefiting society as a whole.
Our vision is a community-based scholarly communication system fit for open science in the 21st, that empowers scholars to share the full range of their research outputs and to participate in new quality control mechanisms and evaluation standards for these outputs.
First, the traditional journal-accepted article undermines timely dissemination and quality control of new research findings. Articles submitted under the pre-publication peer review model often take a year to get published. Such a long delay is arguably just as detrimental as the 12-month Open Access publication embargo that Plan S has eliminated. Compounding this delay, the cascading of articles from one journal to another, while concealing critical peer reviews, compromises the ability of the publishing system to fulfill its error-correcting and appraisal functions for science and scholarship.
Secondly, the journal-accepted article drives up publishing costs and puts more sustainable and equitable open access models at a disadvantage.
1. Authors, not third-party suppliers, decide when and what to publish.
In such a ‘scholar-led’ publishing system, third-party suppliers can still offer and charge for services that facilitate peer review, publication and preservation. However, they will not block scholars from sharing their work at any stage during the research and dissemination process.
2. The scholarly record includes the full range of outputs created during the research cycle, and not just the final journal-accepted version.
By making early article versions and peer review feedback critical elements of the scholarly record, a future scholarly communication system can capture research ‘in the act’. Shining a light on how research progresses towards increasingly trustworthy knowledge creation offers opportunities for reviewing and filtering scholarly outputs for the purposes of curation and research assessment.
Rooryck and Kiley say that cOAlition S is still true to its founding principles, but that it needs to evolve. “Our DNA, our overarching goal, remains unchanged. We want all research to be open access, so anyone in the world can read it and reuse it,” Kiley says.
The change they suggest is outlined in the new proposal, which goes well beyond the earlier focus on open-access articles. It now aims to address several often-discussed problems in the research-publishing system: the costs of journal subscriptions and APCs; long delays between submission of an article and its publication while peer review takes place; failure to publish peer-review reports and wasteful repetition of peer review for the same article at different journals; and pressure for academics to publish in highly selective, prestigious journals because journal status is often used as a proxy for research impact.
The coalition’s solution, outlined in a document called ‘Towards responsible publishing’, is to transition to alternative systems in which members of the academic community control the publication of their work. It points to one example model called ‘Publish, Review, Curate’: authors post their preprints openly on dedicated platforms and submit their paper for review; academics manage the peer-review process at no charge to authors; and peer-review reports, revisions and editorial decisions are published openly. Costs would be covered by a mixture of organizations, including libraries, funders, governments and universities.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.