We share the spirit of Plan S to achieve full open access to scholarly publications (see go.nature.com/2hszsaf), but we disagree with its implementation guidelines. The plan’s design ignores more than 20 years of widespread experience in open-access publishing in many developing nations, as well as Latin America’s widespread ethos of free-to-publish and free-to-read research.
To rectify this, the Plan S guidelines need to tackle the long-standing issues of conventional scholarly publishing, including the high concentration of articles in commercial publications. Funders should promote open-access practices that are more globally inclusive, while improving the quality of editorial processes and keeping their control within the scientific community.
Plan S has yet to demonstrate that it will also support the advancement of non-commercial open-access initiatives. We call for discussions to commit leading institutions and funders to global publishing that is more community-based and not commercial. Latin America should postpone any adhesion to Plan S until it can be sure that it will not be detrimental to less-privileged researchers, countries and institutions. (See also H. Debat and D. Babini PeerJ Preprints 7, e27834v2; 2019.)
Nature 573, 495 (2019)