Science family of journals announces change to open-access policy -
Jan 15, 2021 1 min, 46 secs

Science and its sister journals will trial a new green open-access policy for some researchers supported by the Plan S group of funders.Credit: Loic Venance/AFP/Getty.

In a step towards open access, the publisher of Science will start allowing some authors publishing in its high-profile subscription journals to share their accepted manuscripts openly online under liberal terms that mean anyone could reproduce or redistribute the work.

The change ensures that scientists with grants from some funding agencies that insist on open-access (OA) publishing under the bold Plan S initiative can still publish in the Science family of subscription journals.

The new AAAS policy instead allows researchers funded by some Plan S agencies to post accepted versions of their articles online freely as soon as their papers appear — and under open licences that let anyone else redistribute or reproduce the manuscripts.

That did not satisfy Plan S funders, which say that if scientists can’t publish OA in journals (a process sometimes called gold OA), then they must share their accepted manuscripts under fully open licences as soon as they are published.

In July 2020, some Plan S funders even said that they would make it a legal condition of grants that authors retain the rights to share their accepted manuscripts openly — no matter what a journal’s publishing agreement says.

The AAAS now says that scientists funded by Plan S agencies that adopt this ‘rights retention scheme’ (RRS) will be able to apply open licences to their shared manuscripts.

The new arrangement, which applies to all research submitted to Science family journals from the start of this year, could see many Science manuscripts shared with open licences.

(Elsevier said it would waive OA fees for researchers in the lowest-income countries, and reduce them for some others.) This is why the AAAS has opted for green OA, rather than bringing in gold OA at its subscription journals, the publisher explained.

The AAAS wants to try the green OA model for its subscription journals as a “year-long experiment to see if this is sustainable”, says Bill Moran, the publisher of the Science family of journals

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