Building Bridges, Not Barriers: Wiley’s Comment on Plan S

June 10, 2019 Liz Ferguson

Wiley has a long history of partnering with researchers, societies, universities, libraries, and funders around the globe to support vibrant research communities and advance critical shared goals, in particular taking meaningful action to accelerate open research. In recent months, we have focused our efforts to negotiate several groundbreaking transformative agreements that are tailored to the needs of our funder partners, enable immediate open access publishing for tens of thousands of articles each year, and provide access to the full portfolio of subscription content we continue to publish. It is with this unique perspective and demonstrated commitment to action that we have provided feedback to cOAlition S to date and will continue engagement and partnership moving forward.

We welcome the extended timeline put forward in the May 31st updated guidelines and believe this is an important baseline change vital to ensuring all stakeholders in the research ecosystem transition sustainably and swiftly. We now have a growing set of practical experience with transitional agreements. Each of the agreements we’ve concluded with funder partners in recent months is unique, reflecting their individual priorities and needs. We have learned very clearly throughout this process that one size does not suit all, either in transitional agreements or in the movement toward open access more generally, and all parties need time to find appropriate ways forward. This flexibility will continue to be important as individual members of cOAlition S determine for themselves how to implement the detail of the guidelines.

One common factor in Wiley’s transitional agreements is that all our journals are included in these arrangements, irrespective of ownership, irrespective of publishing model (full gold or hybrid or green) and irrespective of their individual standing. This is a clear demonstration of our commitment to innovative arrangements that expand access and meet the needs of different funders and institutions. We are glad to see that Plan S recognizes the value of multiple pathways to open access, including the potential of transformative agreements.  As we noted in our previous feedback, different models and pathways for sustainable open access must exist to meet the unique needs of every researcher, community and journal. We are committed to leveraging all models and working with all of our partners to find arrangements that meet their needs.

Important work remains, however, to make the vision of multiple pathways viable in practice for different communities – including a sustainable pathway for green open access – and to address potential impacts on multiple stakeholders. We remain concerned that the cOAlition continues to recommend green OA with zero month embargo under CC-BY by default as one such path. Compared to existing effective policies globally proving free access after short embargo periods, an inflexible zero month embargo undermines investments required to sustain journals, particularly against a backdrop of increasing complexity in publishing models and needed innovations in author and institutional services.

This coming year provides an important window to continue our dialogue on key issues and make meaningful progress through practical action. At Wiley, we are committed to supporting Open Research and leading the industry in identifying sustainable approaches to Open Access publishing. We look forward to continuing to explore how best to do that with cOAlition S, its individual members, other research funders around the world, and our partners in societies, at institutions, and among the research community.

About the Author

VP, Editorial Development, Wiley // Liz Ferguson is Publishing Solutions Director in the Research Innovations group within Wiley's Global Research division.

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