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Only a Handful

A new analysis finds few open-access journals meet the requirements of Plan S, ScienceInsider reports.

Plan S, which was developed by Science Europe, an association of European funding agencies, would require researchers receiving public funds to publish their work in OA journals. Eleven European countries — including the UK, France, and the Netherlands — as well as the Wellcome Trust and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have joined the initiative.

But two Norwegian researchers report that the "overwhelmingly large majority of open access journals are not Plan S compliant," as they write in a preprint. The researchers analyzed how well journals in that directory complied with nine criteria set by Plan S that could be analyzed using DOAJ meta-data. In particular, ScienceInsider notes they found only about 15 percent of science and medical journals listed are fully compliant.

The researchers found that small OA journals that don't charge authors processing fees tend to be the least compliant and say they may also have the most trouble making the sometimes technical fixes needed to meet the requirements.

"We are not arguing that these requirements should not be made," the Arctic University of Norway's Jan Erik Frantsvåg and the University of Bergen's Tormod Strømme write. "But we want to warn that the current timeline will pose a threat to a number of open access journals of good scholarly quality that scholars do not want to lose."