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Critics Say Open-Access Plan 'Goes Too Far'

Hundreds of scientists have signed a letter saying that the open-access scheme Plan S is "too risky for science," according to ScienceInsider.

Plan S would require publicly funded researchers to publish their work only in open-access journals, even eschewing hybrid journals in open-access and pay articles appear side by side. The initiative was developed by Science Europe and nearly a dozen countries, including the UK, France, and the Netherlands, have signed on, as have the Wellcome Trust and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

But in an open letter, researchers from those and other countries say that while they support open-access publishing, they believe the plan "goes too far" and "is a serious violation of academic freedom."

In particular, the letter, written by Uppsala University's Lynn Kamerlin, argues that it does not take into account the needs of researchers in different fields, especially by disallowing publication in hybrid journals — which include a number of society-run journals — a move that they say will hurt chemists disproportionately. They also note that the scheme could split the international scientific community in two based on whether they follow Plan S.

Kamerlin tells ScienceInsider that she hopes funding agencies will instead "come up with strong models that respect authors' choices and the full diversity of open access."

The Scan

Panel Votes for COVID-19 Pill

A US Food and Drug Administration panel has voted to support the emergency use authorization of an antiviral pill for COVID-19 from Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, CNN says.

But Not Harm

New Scientist reports that UK bioethicists say that though gene editing may improve food production, it should not harm livestock welfare.

Effectiveness Drop Anticipated

Moderna's Stéphane Bancel predicts that that current SARS-CoV-2 vaccines may be less effective against the Omicron variant, the Financial Times reports.

Cell Studies of Human Chromatin Accessibility, SARS-CoV-2 Variants, Cell Signaling Networks

In Cell this week: chromatin accessibility maps of adult human tissues, modeling to track SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, and more.