The commercial model of academic publishing underscoring Plan S weakens the existing open access ecosystem in Latin America


The commercial model of academic publishing underscoring Plan S weakens the existing open access ecosystem in Latin America
Source: London School of Economics



Health emergencies such as those we face today reveal the importance of opening scientific knowledge; something that not-for-profit open access publishing has permanently and organically allowed for a long time. The expansion of Plan S, a research funder led initiative to promote a global transition to open access to scholarly research, to Latin America has led to significant debate about how the policy will impact the existing system of non-commercial open access publication in Latin America. Responding to earlier posts on this subject, Eduardo Aguado López and Arianna Becerril García argue that introducing Article Processing Charges, whereby academics or their funders pay to publish open access, will inherently degrade existing non-profit forms of open access publishing that have existed in Latin America for over three decade

First of all, we would like to thank Professor Rooryck for his straightforward and candid response to our previous post. However, in many ways this response has clarified the difference between Plan S and other global open access initiatives, such as Redalyc/AmeliCA. In particular, whilst acknowledging that given the opportunity to redesign academic publishing from scratch, the academic-led and not-for-profit model adopted by AmeliCA and others would be the preferred model. This is then followed by an unexpected volte-face, in his words: “Try as we might, however, we cannot wish the commercial publishers away. This is why Plan S engages squarely with commercial publishers, pursuing transparent, transformational agreements and transparent pricing. In essence, Plan S encourages commercial publishers to regain the trust that they squandered.”

From our perspective, Open Access is about scholars taking control of their own labour and future – not reforming the for-profit sector. Attempts to deliver “transparent pricing” and “transformative agreements” are indicative of the way in which Plan S has been largely shaped by the interests of corporate publishers and ultimately not those of the academic community, especially the academic community outside of the Global North. It’s discouraging to admit that the main critique of Plan S is accurate: That it is a Eurocentric proposal that aims to remove paywalls to achieve open access, but which does not seek to reduce the earnings and concentration of power over academic publishing enjoyed by a small number of commercial publishers. As such, Plan S resembles an accounting project, albeit a potentially transparent one: shifting funds from subscriptions towards article processing charges (APCs), whilst leaving the current communication system largely intact.




Cont'd.

LINK:
https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2020/05/20/the-commercial-model-of-academic-publishing-underscoring-plan-s-weakens-the-existing-open-access-ecosystem-in-latin-america/

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