8 Publishers to disclose pricing details as part of a Plan S pilot

8 Publishers to disclose pricing details as part of a Plan S pilot

cOAlition S has initiated a pilot project wherein eight publishers have volunteered to share detailed information about their pricing. The main intent of this initiative is to bring transparency around publication costs, which will help libraries and funders to make informed decisions.

On 14 January, cOAlition S announced the pilot based on an independent report published by the consultancy Information Power. This report, funded on behalf of the coalition, presented a framework for publishers “to provide information about OA services and prices in a transparent, practical, and insightful way.”

As part of Plan S, journals and publishing platforms are obliged to provide “information on the publishing costs and on any other factors impacting the publication fees” from January 2021. Therefore, funders, libraries, publishers, and universities worked together to develop a framework to furnish this information.

The participating publishers are expected to provide details about 24 parameters including acceptance rate, percentage of price for peer review management, subscription price, and article processing charges (APCs) for OA publication. Apart from this, the report also shares the concerns expressed by publishers, which include imposition of price caps; extensive focus on costs; and comparison across a diverse range of journals, funders, and librarians. The exercise is intended to build trust among stakeholders, the report emphasizes.    

It is legitimate for the research community, funders, and taxpayers to be able to understand how taxpayer-supported research is being published,” said Bernd Pulverer, head of scientific publications at EMBO Press, which is a participant in the project.

Several publishers including PLOS, Hindawi, and SpringerNature will be participating in the project, which will kick off this week and continue until March. The information gathered from the publishers will be anonymized and shared with funders and libraries. Based on the outcome of the pilot, cOAlition S will decide whether the framework needs to be refined and whether it can be implemented widely.  

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