Press release: Researchers call on EU institutions to ensure free circulation of scientific knowledge

Brussels, 17 February 2020

joint statement calling on EU institutions to ensure the right of researchers to share their research findings without embargoes or restrictions has today been issued by three organisations representing early-career and senior researchers in Europe and beyond. The statement by the European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers (Eurodoc), the Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA), and the Young Academy of Europe (YAE) calls upon the European Commission to propose legislation ensuring that researchers always retain the right to share their publicly funded, peer-reviewed research findings.

Our three organisations represent a broad spectrum of researchers: Eurodoc represents 100,000+ doctoral candidates and postdoctoral researchers from 29 national associations across Europe; MCAA has 14,000+ members who are current or previous beneficiaries of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions; YAE consists of 200+ outstanding and recognised researchers in Europe.

YAE Vice-Chair Toma Susi: Embargoes are an unjustified disservice to society, researchers and science itself, and it is becoming increasingly clear they are a thing of the past. European governments and others who fund research are entitled to demand immediate open access to research supported by taxpayer money. Legislation like this would ensure that researchers do not end up as collateral damage or bargaining chips in this long-overdue transition.

Eurodoc President Eva Hnátková:Immediate access to the most up-to-date information is crucial to tackling urgent societal challenges. A clear example of this is the laudable commitment by funders and publishers to ensure that all peer-reviewed research publications relevant to the coronavirus outbreak are made immediately open access to help save lives. But why should we stop there? Aren’t saving lives from other diseases also urgent and important? And isn’t this equally true for the climate crisis and for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals? There is no valid reason to lock away research outputs that are so vital to help us tackle all of these urgent and important challenges.

MCAA Chair Matthew DiFranco: In addition to the many open access journals that exist, there are also numerous subscription-based journals that already today allow researchers to share their findings in open access repositories without embargoes or restrictions. We call upon the publishers that still force barriers on the flow of knowledge to modernize and accept the need for immediate access. While a European directive is important as it would solve this challenge for all researchers in Europe, ensuring that all publishers modernize their policies would solve this problem for all researchers globally.”

We thank all of our members who contributed to this statement. 

Please reference the joint statement using: http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3669124

YAE contribute to international symposium on the impact of Plan S

An international symposium on the impact of Plan S, organised by the AE Cardiff Knowledge Hub in collaboration with  the Young Academy of EuropeKU Leuven Libraries and Cardiff University, took place at KU Leuven on 5th-6th November 2019.

An audience of around 130 gathered at the historic Leuven Institute for Ireland in Europe. A distinguished panel of experts debated the prospects for researchers, universities, learned societies, academies and publishers.  

Dr Mangala Srinivas
Dr Mangala Srinivas FYAE, Chair of Young Academy of Europe, welcoming the attendees


After a welcome by Professor Sierd Cloetingh MAE, President of Academia Europaea, and Dr Mangala Srinivas FYAE, Chair of Young Academy of Europe, the conference started with the keynote address by Professor Johan Rooryck MAE, the new Open Access Champion.

The YAE contributed to the first panel discussion of the day which explored the impact of Plan S on early- and mid-career researchers. The session was chaired by Professor John Creemers, Director of the Doctoral School for Biomedical Sciences at KU Leuven. Speakers included:

The panel: Impact of Plan S on early- and mid-career researchers
Professor Toma Susi representing the YAE


Key points made during this open discussion were:

  • The negative effect of the present research evaluation system and impact factors on early-career researchers, with criticism of the current narrow definition of quality. 
  • DORA principles are important to early-career researchers but need to be implemented properly. 
  • Many early-career researchers are not well-informed about Plan S, therefore clear communication is vital. 
  • The possibility of alternative open publishing platforms was generally welcomed, as was a transition towards more open and transparent peer review processes.  


Panellists and organisers of “The future of research: Assessing the impact of Plan S”
Images courtesy of the Academia Europaea Cardiff Knowledge Hub.
7th November 2019. For further information please contact info@yacadeuro.org

New Open Access Champion of cOAlition S, Johan Rooryck, to be keynote at Plan S symposium

We are delighted to announce that new Open Access Champion of cOAlition S, Professor Johan Rooryck, will be our keynote speaker at The Future of research: Assessing the impact of Plan S.

The international symposium, taking place at KU Leuven on 5th-6th November 2019, will begin with Professor Rooryck speaking about Plan S: from principles to implementation. Following the keynote, expert panels will focus on key aspects of Plan S and its impact on research, with the opportunity for interactive discussion.

Continue reading “New Open Access Champion of cOAlition S, Johan Rooryck, to be keynote at Plan S symposium”

AE Cardiff Hub interviews Mangala Srinivas

Mangala Srinivas, Chair of the YAE, has been interviewed as part of the Academia Europaea Cardiff Knowledge Hub interview series.

In her interview Dr Srinivas discusses the impact of being awarded an ERC Starting Grant, her role as the Chair of the Young Academy of Europe and why the YAE became involved in the debate on Plan S. Read the interview.

1st August 2019. For further information please contact info@yacadeuro.org

Press Release: Researchers respond to revised guidance for Plan S

The European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers (Eurodoc), the Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA), and the Young Academy of Europe (YAE) jointly welcome the revised implementation guidance for Plan S published by cOAlition S on 31 May 2019. Revisions to the guidance are based on 600+ feedback submissions to the open consultation that represented both individual and organisational stakeholders including researchers.

Our three organisations recognised the need to revise the scholarly publishing system and chose to work constructively with cOALition S to ensure full and immediate Open Access without adversely affecting researchers. We jointly supported the principles of Plan S with critical comments for further development and subsequently submitted feedback to the implementation guidance for Plan S with comprehensive recommendations. We are pleased to see greater clarity in the revised guidance details and believe that the three routes to compliance in Plan S will provide researchers with ample options to publish their research.

The revised guidance has extended the implementation deadline by one year to 01 January 2021 and addressed our main concerns including (1) exemptions for CC BY-ND licences (in the Humanities and Social Sciences) (2) softening of the mandatory technical requirements for publications and publishing venues and repositories (3) explicit support for venues with no author-facing fees and societies and open infrastructures (4) commitment to develop clear guidelines for waivers/discounts for authors and for collaboration with non-cOAlition S researchers (5) commitment to implement a new research incentive and reward system.

Toma Susi (YAE Vice-Chair and contact for Plan S):

Our organisations spent considerable time to understand and discuss the reasons for Plan S and implementation details such as copyright and licensing and the many technical requirements. This was vital for developing informed and constructive policy recommendations, which has clearly been effective given the amendments of the guidance and the public recognition of our feedback by cOAlition S.

Véronique De Herde (Eurodoc Secretariat Coordinator and contact for Plan S):

cOAlition S has listened to the concerns of researchers and positively revised the guidance. More transparency in publishing costs/prices plus a new reward system not focused on journal impact factor will release researchers from the increasingly unaffordable prestige-driven model and enable more cost-effective and fair ways of publishing and evaluating research.

Mattias Björnmalm (MCAA Vice-Chair of WG Policy and contact for Plan S):

We hope to see more awareness-raising and communication as well as ongoing interaction with the research community leading up to the implementation of Plan S by cOAlition S. These issues have been debated for more than a decade and real change is long overdue. It is now crucial that researchers take an active and leading role in the future of Open Access.

We hereby reaffirm our support for Plan S and look forward to working closely with cOAlition S to ensure a successful implementation of Open Access for researchers.

Issues addressed: [http://eurodoc.net/eurodoc-plans-annotation-2019.pdf] (PDF 400 kb)

5th June 2019. For further information please contact Toma Susi | @mostlyphysics | chair@yacadeuro.org

The future of research: assessing the impact of Plan S

The bold ambition behind Plan S is to ensure that full open access to published research finally becomes a reality.  Yet, what does it mean for the future of research?  Join us for this international event at KU Leuven on 5th-6th November 2019, where our distinguished panels of experts will debate the prospects for researchers, universities, learned societies and academies.

KU Leuven Library
KU Leuven Library

Continue reading “The future of research: assessing the impact of Plan S”

Joint Statement on Implementation Guidance for Plan S

Plan S is an initiative by cOAlition S to achieve full and immediate Open Access to scientific publications after 01 January 2020 in Europe. At the heart of the plan are 10 principles currently being developed into a set of implementation guidelines. We, representatives of early-career and senior researchers across Europe, have already commented on Plan S and hereby reaffirm our general support and offer our views on the implementation guidance.

We commend cOAlition S for addressing initial concerns and for the open consultation on the guidance. There are now three clear routes to compliance via either author-accepted manuscripts or versions of record of publications. It is crucial, however, that cOAlition S ensures that these routes are viable through appropriate regulations, funding, and support. We reiterate three key concerns from our first statement on Plan S: disruption for doctoral dissertations should be minimised; venues with no author-facing fees and societies as well
as open infrastructures should be supported; institutions and funders should modernise their researcher evaluation and implement the Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA).

(1) We agree that copyright on publications should stay with the original copyright holder
and not be transferred to publishers. The copyright holder is typically the author and/or institution, which can depend on legal requirements, but is often not explicitly stated. We encourage cOAlition S to recommend the author as copyright holder where legally possible.

(2) We agree that the licence on publications should by default be Creative Commons (CC) Attribution (BY), to maximise benefits of research for society via the right to reuse, modify, and redistribute. We also agree that Non-Commercial (NC) licences are not justifiable for publicly funded works. While Non-Derivative (ND) licences can restrict text-and-data mining (TDM) and Open Education, we disagree that they should not be allowed, because of concerns over misrepresentation and translations in the Humanities and Social Sciences. We encourage cOAlition S to allow researchers to opt out of CC BY for a CC BY-ND licence.

(3) We agree that publications should be identifiable via persistent identifiers (PIDs) and archived via long-term digital preservation programmes. Publications should use PIDs such as Digital Object Identifier (DOI) that enable versioning, and link to underlying data and code and author PIDs such as Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID). Archiving programmes should use multiple data pools and bitstream preservation such as Controlled Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe (CLOCKSS). We note that there are other valid options and encourage cOAlition S to specify the requirements for PIDs and for archiving programmes.

(4) We agree that publications should have high-quality metadata that is available under a Public Domain (CC0) licence. This includes information on the publication such as the PID, version, author, copyright holder, licence, open status, and funding as well as information on all citations in the publication. Guidelines by OpenAIRE for publication metadata and by the Initiative for Open Citations (I4OC) for citation metadata are ideal but there are other valid standards. We encourage cOAlition S to specify the required standards for metadata.

(5) We agree that the metadata and full text of publications should be machine-readable in
an interoperable format allowing TDM. Extensible Markup Language (XML) Journal Article Tag Suite (JATS) is an ideal format but is technically challenging, and other valid formats exist such as HyperText Markup Language (HTML) or minimally Word, OpenDocument, and LaTeX. We encourage cOAlition S to specify other acceptable publication formats for TDM.

(6) We agree that publishing venues should offer high-quality peer review and register their self-archiving policy in SHERPA/RoMEO , as well as be registered in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and be transparent in their publishing costs and pricing. Peer review should follow standards set by disciplines and the Committee on Publicat ion Ethics (COPE) . We are concerned that DOAJ acting as a sole external gatekeeper could result in a single point of failure (SPOF) for identifying compliant venues. We encourage cOAlition S to
create and maintain a ‘seal of compliance’ for venues in close collaboration with DOAJ.

(7) We agree that article processing charges (APCs) should be paid or supported by cOAlition S where applicable and that there should be equitable waiver/discount policies. The ability to publish should never be constrained by the ability to pay. There should not only be clear regulations for waivers/discounts for authors in low/middle-income countries but also for authors with limited financial means. The planned independent study on publishing costs and pricing will help to determine a reasonable range and cap for APCs. We encourage cOAlition S to develop clear regulations for APCs and for waivers/discounts for authors.

(8) We agree that repositories should use an open application programming interface (API) and be registered in the Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR), as well as be continuously available and offer user support. ResourceSync is an ideal API although other valid APIs exist such as Open Archives Initiative (OAI) Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (PMH) and Object Exchange and Reuse (ORE). We disagree that repositories should have a help desk as long as they offer adequate user support. We also disagree that repositories should have automated ingest but should be free to choose how to ingest. We are concerned that OpenDOAR acting as a sole external gatekeeper could result in a SPOF for identifying compliant repositories. We encourage cOAlition S to specify acceptable APIs and to create and maintain a ‘seal of compliance’ for repositories in close collaboration with OpenDOAR.

(9) We agree with allowing transformative agreements with publishers to read and publish
publications during a time-specified transition period. This gives hybrid venues more time and researchers more options during the transition. All agreements should be transparent and be registered with the Efficiency and Standards for Article Charges (ESAC) as well as specify how the venue will transition once the agreement expires. It is currently unclear what sanctions will be imposed if a venue does not transition as agreed and whether older paywalled publications will be opened. We encourage cOAlition S to specify the sanc tions to be imposed on venues that do not transition and to address older paywalled publications.

(10) We agree with direct deposition of publications in author-designated or centralised repositories for scientific publications. We note that a compliant repository for researchers should always be available and that there is no centralised repository in Europe apart from Europe PubMed Central . We encourage cOAlition S to designate and support Zenodo as a fall-back compliant or even as a centralised European repository for publications in Plan S.

Signed by Gareth O’Neill [President European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers (Eurodoc) ], Matthew DiFranco [Chair Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA)], and Mangala Srinivas [Chair Young Academy of Europe (YAE) ] on 28 January 2019.

Contact details: Gareth O’Neill | @gtoneill | +31651003175 | gareth.oneill@eurodoc.net

Joint Statement on Implementation Guidance for Plan S (pdf)

Press Release: Researchers Respond to Implementation of Plan S

A joint response to the implementation guidance for Plan S has today been issued by three organisations representing early-career and senior researchers in Europe. The response by the European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers (Eurodoc), the Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA), and the Young Academy of Europe (YAE) offers concrete recommendations on the proposed guidance for implementing Open Access via Plan S.

Our three organisations represent a broad spectrum of researchers in Europe: Eurodoc represents 100000+ doctoral candidates and postdoctoral researchers from 29 national associations across Europe; MCAA has 10000+ members who are alumni fellows of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA); YAE consists of 200+ outstanding and recognised researchers in Europe. We all strongly support the main goals of Open Science and Plan S.

The joint response builds upon previous recommendations by our organisations on the principles of Plan S and aims to ensure its realistic implementation from the perspective of European researchers. Eurodoc President Gareth O’Neill:

“Plan S has shaken the academic community awake and created a lively discussion on Open Access publishing. cOAlition S has addressed some key concerns from researchers in the technical guidance but still leaves other issues open and sets too strict standards for the desired broad adoption of Plan S.”

The proposals on copyright and licencing are still somewhat contentious. YAE Vice-Chair Toma Susi who coordinated the response for YAE:

“Copyright licences are complicated and often misunderstood. Plan S requires an open CC BY licence which applies only to publications and is necessary for unrestricted text-and-data mining and other desired reuses. This is why it is the right choice for publicly funded research. However, humanities and social science scholars have expressed valid concerns over misrepresentation and translations with CC BY. Our recommendation is thus to allow the option of an ND licence.”

The key to the successful implementation of Plan S lies in the research evaluation system. Mattias Björnmalm who coordinated the response for MCAA:

“A crucial factor for Plan S to succeed is that funders and institutions modernise their research and researcher assessment (e.g. for grants, hiring, and promotion) and evaluate research on its own merits instead of relying on faulty metrics. Good practices already exist from many funders and institutions. We ask institutions and especially the members of cOAlition S to not only sign but to start implementing the DORA principles in their research and researcher evaluation.”

We thank all of our members who contributed to this statement and also Bob Jones, Bianca Kramer, Raman Ganguly, Ignasi Labastida i Juan, Peter Murray-Rust, Jon Tennant, and Peter Suber for critical feedback. Any errors are attributable to Eurodoc, MCAA, and YAE.

28th January 2019. For further information please contact Gareth O’Neill | @gtoneill | +31651003175 | gareth.oneill@eurodoc.net
Dr Mangala Srinivas, Chair Young Academy of Europe (YAE) contributing to the debate

YAE starts to debate Plan S

Academia Europaea Cardiff Knowledge Hub’s 30th anniversary reception, held on 14th January, featured a lively discussion on Plan S, an initiative for open-access science publishing. Plan S was launched in September 2018 by an international consortium of research funders, cOAlition S, supported by the ERC and launched by Science Europe.

Prof Ole Petersen, the Hub’s Academic Director, and Dr Mangala Srinivas, Chair of the Young Academy of Europe (YAE), introduced the topic, followed by audience discussion.

Dr Mangala Srinivas, Chair Young Academy of Europe (YAE) contributing to the debate
Dr Mangala Srinivas, Chair Young Academy of Europe (YAE) contributing to the debate

Although Plan S is seen as a force for change and is supported by some very important funding bodies, such as UKRI, the Wellcome Trust and the Gates Foundation, there remain a number of challenges and some institutions remain cautious.  There are challenges for researchers.  They include those trying to build their career through publishing in high-impact journals that are not generally open-access, and those who do not have the advantage of research grants to meet the costs of publishing fees, often in developing countries.  At the same time, it was recognised that the academic publishing industry may undergo a fundamental transformation, with new not-for-profit publishing initiatives and fresh publishing strategies adopted by learned societies and others.

15th January 2019. For further information please contact info@yacadeuro.org

Joint Statement on Open Access for researchers via Plan S

Three organisations representing early-career and senior researchers across Europe have today released a Joint Statement on Open Access for Researchers via Plan S. The statement has been issued by the European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers (Eurodoc), Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA), and Young Academy of Europe (YAE) in response to proposals from a coalition of national research funding organisations in Europe to achieve full and immediate Open Access to scientific publications by 01 January 2020.

 

The proposals have been termed Plan S and consist of 10 principles which will be enacted by the 11 national funders currently forming cOAlition S and supported by the European Commission and European Research Council. The joint statement offers both support to Plan S and critical recommendations on implementing the principles to ensure a smooth transition to full and immediate Open Access for researchers in Europe. As President Gareth O’Neill of Eurodoc notes: “Plan S is a bold and ambitious move for researchers to take back control of access to scientific publications. The retention of publication copyrights by authors, the funding boycott on hybrid publishing, and the funding cap on publication fees will be particularly contentious. It is crucial that early-career and senior researchers are now heard to further develop and implement the 10 principles and make Plan S a success.”

The three organisations agree generally with the principles but note a lack of details on some key aspects of the plan such as the specific amount and duration of the funding cap on publication fees as well as the importance of self-archiving and publishing models with no author-facing fees. MCAA Chair Matthew DiFranco notes, “Plan S is a bold step in the right direction for reigning in the exploitation of publicly funded research for private profits. However, the plan should not complicate efforts by researchers to publish their work and advance in their careers. Wider adoption of Plan S will be necessary to ensure that individual researchers ultimately benefit from the proposals.”

One crucial point is that the plan should not be implemented in isolation but should also occur simultaneously with the educating and training of researchers in Open Science and the revision of the research reward system whereby research and career evaluations move away from journal-based indicators and incorporate Open Science practices. Chair Marcel Swart of YAE: “Plan S is only the first step to move away from evaluation practices based on journal impact factors and number crunching; especially for early-career researchers who are in a turbulent moment in their lives, a FAIR evaluation is needed where research and scientific advances should play a central role. The implementation of Plan S without jeopardizing young careers in an international competitive playfield is therefore crucial for European research.”

Plan S has attracted much attention since it was published on Sep. 4, among others by chemists (YAE Fomer Chair Kamerlin et al.) where the majority of journals are published by academic societies and only ca. 2% of the chemistry journals are currently compliant with the Plan S rules. Article Processing Charges (APCs) are widely debated (including what would be an appropriate value for the cap on them), and Academic Freedom as well, but according to the Cambridge blog we should relax, because Plan S is just the beginning of the discussion.

24th September 2018. For further information please contact info@yacadeuro.org