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Plan S will hit some academic societies hard

Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.

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Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.

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University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.
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Plan S is good news (Nature 561, 17–18; 2018). As we move towards this subscription-free publishing model for 2020, the enormous costs that institutions pay to access the scientific literature will gradually be phased out. However, this could adversely affect the activities of academic societies that run their own journals.

These societies currently use income from subscription fees to host affordable conferences, run workshops, award travel grants, develop policy and engage in outreach. As publication charges for authors replace subscription fees, this income will plummet. Funding bodies might need to step in to make up the shortfall for supporting these services to the scientific community.

When publication charges become the norm, authors who cannot afford to pay them must not be unfairly disadvantaged (see J. Measey Nature 562, 494; 2018). Means-tested rules for fee waivers will need to be factored in to the new publishing model.

Nature 564, 39 (2018)

doi: 10.1038/d41586-018-07609-1
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