Now that the updated version of Plan S has been released, publishers that wish to comply with the initiative to make all research fully and immediately open access can start taking steps to ensure their journals meet all of the Plan S requirements. Plan S is made up of 10 principles, with specific implementation criteria listed here. Even if you don’t think your journals will be impacted by Plan S as it stands, it’s worth reviewing the Plan S implementation guidelines because they are comprised of core publishing professionalization standards that all open access journals should fulfill.
In the coming months, Scholastica will be introducing product improvements to help journals using our open access publishing platform comply with the Plan S guidelines. We’re committed to supporting sustainable, high-quality open access journal publishing to enable organizations of any size to meet the highest publishing standards. In this post, we overview steps that journals using Scholastica’s open access publishing platform can take to start preparing for Plan S.
We will update this post as we introduce new improvements to Scholastica and as any changes to Plan S are released.
Let’s start with how to address one of the most fundamental Plan S requirements, applying open copyright licenses to all of your journal articles. In order for journals to be Plan S compliant, they must make all articles openly available upon publication under a CC BY 4.0 Creative Commons Attribution license. As secondary alternatives, cOAlition S will also accept the use of the CC BY-SA 4.0 license or the public domain dedication, CC0. Copyright licenses must be displayed on all journal articles and included in article-level metadata.
Journals that use Scholastica’s open access publishing platform can meet the Plan S copyright requirements in a few clicks by setting a default Creative Commons copyright license for all of their articles. The default copyright license will be applied globally for all articles published after it’s been set and will be displayed on article pages and included in article-level metadata.
To set a default copyright license for all of your articles, log in to your Scholastica account and navigate to My Journals > Publishing > Publishing Settings and click “Edit” next to “OA Publishing Settings.” Then, simply pick your preferred copyright license from the dropdown and click “Save”.
Note: The revised Plan S guidelines also state that they will consider the CC BY-ND license for individual articles in select circumstances. It is not yet clear how such case-by-case decisions will be made, though it appears that this will be determined at the funder level. Stay tuned for further details.
Apply for inclusion in the Directory of Open Access Journals and turn on automated metadata deposits
Another core open access publishing professionalization requirement for journals to be Plan S compliant is to be indexed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). DOAJ indexing serves as a mark of journal quality to scholars, their institutions, and research funders. In addition to being a Plan S requirement, DOAJ indexing can also help expand the reach of the articles you publish, because the DOAJ is a popular search tool and DOAJ metadata is ingested by many major discovery services.
Applying to the DOAJ is free and once you’ve met all of the indexing criteria you can easily submit an application. We break down everything you need to know about the DOAJ’s indexing criteria and how to apply in this blog post. We also overview how Scholastica users should answer some of the more technical DOAJ application form questions in this help doc. Journals that use Scholastica’s open access publishing platform will already fulfill many of the technical specifications on the DOAJ application form, such as allowing text mining.
Once your journal is accepted into the DOAJ, adding articles to the index is easy with Scholastica. We offer automated metadata deposits to all journals using our open access publishing platform. Just click “Manage integrations” on your Publishing Settings page > select the DOAJ integration option > and enter the API key.
Note: DOAJ and cOAlition S are still determining how they will certify Plan S compliance for journals admitted into the DOAJ, so there may be further guidelines to come for Plan S compliant DOAJ indexing. We will update this post as any changes are announced.
Plan S also requires journals to have persistent identifiers for all articles and states that Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) are preferable. You can obtain DOIs from any DOI registration agency. One of the most commonly used DOI registration agencies is Crossref, a not-for-profit membership organization that makes research outputs easy to find, cite, link, and assess. In a recent interview, Anna Tolwinska, Member Experience Manager at Crossref, provided a full breakdown on what you need to know to register for DOIs through Crossref and the benefits. In addition to the ability to register DOIs, Crossref membership comes with many benefits. Crossref has a global network of over 13,000 members and offers tools and services to help people around the world find, cite, and link to its member publications, making them more discoverable.
Scholastica will be introducing automated Crossref metadata deposits for journals using our open access publishing platform. If you’re using Scholastica’s publishing platform and you’re already a Crossref member, reach out to us to learn more about setting up automated Crossref deposits with Scholastica.
One of the most important steps that journals should take to ensure readers will always have access to their scholarship, is to deposit all of their articles into a secure archive. This is a mandatory technical condition for Plan S. Publishers must deposit all articles into a long-term digital preservation service such as Portico, LOCKSS, CLOCKSS, or an equivalent archiving program.
If you use Scholastica’s open access publishing platform and you have a Portico account, you can set up automatic article deposits to Portico. To integrate your journal with Portico, just click “Manage Integrations” on your Publishing Settings page > select the Portico integration > and enter your Portico login credentials.
Stay tuned for additional archiving integrations in the near future!
In addition to the above technical criteria, Plan S has some specific publication guidelines that journals must follow. Journals must have established peer review policies that meet the standards of their discipline and the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) guidelines. These policies must be clearly stated on the journal website. Peer review policies are statements about the peer review processes that a journal follows, including details like the type of peer review the journal uses—whether it be single-blind, double-blind, or open peer review; who evaluates manuscripts in each stage of review; and the typical length of time for peer review. We outline the primary elements to include in journal peer review policies and best practices to follow in this blog post. The revised Plan S guidelines also require journals to publish editorial statistics at least once annually, “covering in particular the number of submissions, the number of reviews requested, the number of reviews received, the approval rate, and the average time between submission and publication.”
Journals using Scholastica’s open access publishing platform can easily add a peer review policies section and publication statistcs to their “For Authors” page. All journals using Scholastica’s peer review software have access to journal performance analytics, including the editorial statistics required by Plan S. To access journal analytics just log in to your Scholastica account and go to My Journals > Analytics.
Additionally, in order to be Plan S complaint publishers must include transparent information about journal costs and fees on their publication websites. Plan S states, “no later than 1 January 2020, cOAlition S, in partnership with publisher representatives and other stakeholders, will define the various services (e.g., triaging, peer review, editorial work, copy editing) publishers will be asked to price. This price transparency requirement will apply to all articles funded through transformative arrangements as well as those levied by Open Access journals and platforms. As a minimum, the breakdown of prices should be at a publisher level, but where possible publishers are encouraged to provide this price transparency at the journal level.”
While the exact cost breakdown that Plan S will require is still to be determined, for now, journals should at least detail information on publication fees on their websites, such as submission fees or article processing fees (APCs). Journals using Scholastica’s open access publishing platform should add a section on publication fees to their “For Authors” page. In order to be DOAJ and Plan S compliant, journals must add information on publishing fees whether they have author-facing charges or not. If you’re: 1. publishing on Scholastica 2. covering the submission cost for your authors and 3. you have no publication/article processing fees — you can add a line to your “For Authors” page as simple as: “JOURNAL-NAME does not have any fees for submission or publication in the journal.”
For journals using Scholastica’s open access publishing platform, as you’re taking the above steps, we’ll be handling many of the technical Plan S requirements for you, including automatically producing high-quality machine-readable metadata for all of your journal articles. As per Plan S, Scholastica produces machine-readable metadata for all articles in standard interoperable formats that include cited references, complete funding information, and copyright license information. We produce front-matter JATS XML files with the required metadata for all journals that use our open access publishing platform and full-text JATS XML files for all journals that use our typesetting service.
As any additional Plan S requirements or guidelines are released, Scholastica will continue taking steps to support our journal users. If you have any questions about how you can start preparing for Plan S using Scholastica, don’t hesitate to contact us!