The publisher PLOS is trying out a new model to pay for publishing articles there that Science writes may "herald the end of the author-pays era."
It notes that PLOS launched in 2003 and established a business model under which authors pay a fee that covers the cost of making their papers publicly accessible. But now, Science reports, the publisher is trying a model that shifts those fees to researchers' institutions. In particular, PLOS will be piloting a collective action model program in which research institutions pay a flat fee for its researchers to publish in PLOS Biology and PLOS Medicine with no added cost, if they are the corresponding author. Science notes that to encourage research institutions to join, PLOS will eventually charge a nearly $7,000 non-member fee for corresponding authors who aren't from participating institutions.
PLOS additionally announced fee and policy changes for its five other journals that include new fee tiers and the ability of institutions to also pay a single annual fee to pay for papers from its researchers as either corresponding or contributing authors, Science adds.
In a blog post, PLOS has announced an initial customer for its model, Jisc, a service that provides library services to universities in the UK.