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Editorial Snapshot: Launch of Plan S delayed

- G.A., Senior Editor

As discussed in an Editorial Snapshot published in January, January 1, 2020 had been set as the start date for the Plan S initiative. Established by major funding agencies for research in Europe, Plan S aims to limit where researchers can publish their research if it is funded by public grants.

In June 2019, it was announced that the 19 public and private research funders had agreed to a 1-year delay in the implementation of Plan S. In revised guidelines, the coalition of funders announced the delay and provided details on the establishment of agreements in which traditional subscription-based publishers can transition to Open Access.

However, both publishers and some scientists remain concerned that, even with the 1-year delay, the implementation of Plan S remains rushed. Furthermore, scientists continue to point out that Plan S is limited by the fact that it only applies to scientists in the UK and European countries.

Despite the delay and the modification of some guidelines, Plan S remains a threat to hybrid journals, for which publishers collect traditional subscriptions but provide open access when requested. It appears that the extension of the deadline may be a result of the challenges faced by major publishers in developing new business models that allow their journals to remain financially viable, but compliant with Plan S. Hopefully, the extension will also give the funders time to address the concerns of the scientists themselves.

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