ALLEA has, in 2013 and subsequently in 2015, stated its clear support for open access and made specific recommendations regarding implementation. ALLEA thus broadly welcomes the bold ambition of Plan S, that scientific publications on the results from research funded by public grants provided by national and European research councils and funding bodies, be published in compliant open access journals or on compliant open access platforms and thereby realise
“science as a global public good”. We also recognise the frustrations with the slow progress in implementing open access that have prompted it.

However, we caution that transforming the large and complex print-based academic publishing system to an electronic open-access system is a non-trivial undertaking where it is all too easy to introduce perverse incentives and produce unintended consequences. There are also significant interactions and dependencies with other important areas of policy for science.

ALLEA presents this initial response in an attempt to identify some of these issues and stimulate debate. If Plan S is to gain general acceptance and to be made compulsory, there needs to be more consultation and discussion with all affected parties and a number of accompanying measures need to be taken.