Article: A guide to Plan S: the open-access initiative shaking up science publishing

Access, Document, Open Decision-Support, Research

A guide to Plan S: the open-access initiative shaking up science publishing

In 2018, an influential group of research funders announced a bold pledge: the scientists they fund should publish their peer-reviewed papers outside journal paywalls. The initiative, called Plan S, caused an instant uproar over its aim of ending journal subscription models — the means by which many scholarly publications have financed their existence. Its intended start date in 2020 was delayed, and its details were tweaked. But after much sparring over policy, the project formally began in 2021, with 25 funding agencies rolling out similar open-access (OA) mandates.

As the first papers under these mandates are published, Plan S supporters say it’s the start of a journey towards open science. But most research funders haven’t signed up yet, and negotiations over the plan have produced a complex landscape of options to avoid paywalls.

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Article: The Company of Biologists commits to the Transformative Journal approach

Access, Document, Open Decision-Support, Research

The Company of Biologists commits to the Transformative Journal approach

The Company of Biologists has offered Open Access publishing options since 2004 and two of its five journals are already fully Open Access. The Transformative Journal strategy signals more clearly the journals’ commitment to move towards full Open Access, while a transition period allows the Company to provide publishing options that support all authors through this change in the publishing landscape.

Transformative Journals proactively champion Open Access publishing and have Open Access growth targets. Over the 2021-2024 transition period, the three journals aim to grow the proportion of Open Access research content by 5% year-on-year. When Open Access research content reaches 75%, the journals will flip to full Open Access. As The Company of Biologists transitions towards Open Access, authors will still have the same three routes to publication

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Article: Open Science Prize goes to software tool for tracking viral outbreaks

Cures, Drugs, Open Health, Procedures (Medical)

Open Science Prize goes to software tool for tracking viral outbreaks

After three rounds of competition — one of which involved a public vote — a software tool developed by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Basel to track Zika, Ebola and other viral disease outbreaks in real time has won the first-ever international Open Science Prize.

Fred Hutch evolutionary biologist Dr. Trevor Bedford and physicist and computational biologist Dr. Richard Neher of the Biozentum Center for Molecular Life Studies in Basel, Switzerland, designed a prototype called nextstrain to analyze and track genetic mutations during the Ebola and Zika outbreaks. Using the platform Bedford and Neher built, anyone can download the source code from the public-access code-sharing site GitHub, run genetic sequencing data for the outbreak they are following through the pipeline and build a web page showing a phylogenetic tree, or genetic history of the outbreak, in a few minutes, Bedford said.

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