Planning for PlanS

Several European funders announced planS, which suggests that several European nations will ban grantees form publishing in paywalled journals (including hybrid journals that allow one to make an article open access for a fee), and that includes many society journals that are owned by societies but published by large subscription-based publishers. This is to begin in 2020.

Many open access journals charge an APC or article processing charge. Then, open access increases dissemination and readership but can shut out poor authors. This issue is one reason I favor the overlay journal model (here is an example), which can operate at very low cost.  For overlay journals, the manuscript uploading and hosting issues are off-loaded to servers such as PsyArxiv. Management of the peer review flow can be handled for free by university-hosted OJS software (I think; I’m not aware of an overlay journal being managed by OJS – anyone know of any?), or with an external professional service such as Scholastica, which charges $10/article (here is Scholastica’s entry in our guide to low-cost publishers). At a low cost like that, sufficient funds should be available from various sources, such that poor authors don’t have to pay anything.

Unfortunately, many societies have become dependent on money that comes from restricting dissemination of its members’ research. One can anticipate a lot of resistance from these societies to open access for that reason. AAAS, which publishes Science, has already resisted.  For societies that are less conservative (such as the Association for Psychological Science, which I am an associate editor for), how should they be lobbied? What realistic goal should we be pushing for? I’m still thinking through the path(s) that should be taken.

PlanS has yet to be fully spelled out. It is possible (and hoped by many) that researchers will be able to satisfy the mandate via green OA (uploading their manuscript to a server such as PsyArxiv, or their institutional repository) rather than prohibition on publishing in a certain type of journal.  The money that was previously going to fat subscription publishers, sometimes in the form of APCs, would still be cut off, and the alternate publishing infrastructure associated with green OA would be boosted. This would hasten a transition away from dependence on journals for dissemination, and thereby lower the cost that journals can charge, as a subscription or as an APC. We can anticipate that peer review facilities, both pre- and post-publication, will become more and more available for “preprint” servers, unleashing lower costs as well as new innovation in what a journal is.

FYI, is a resource (together with LingOA and MathOA) that we created to help journals flip to open access. And Publishing Reform is an open discussion forum for discussion of this and many other issues.


2 thoughts on “Planning for PlanS

  1. Hi Alex, Great post! Could you update the 2nd link in Paragraph 2, where it says ‘. . . here is Scholastica’s entry . . .’? Right now it links to a closed GitHub group. Thanks!

    • Thanks for pointing that out! I think it’s meant to be public; I’ll contact those who run the page. In the meantime, here are the contents of that particular page:


      A modern academic journal management system.
      US$10/submission is the only cost for peer review.
      Can be used only to organize peer-review ( does that), or as a full publishing platform ( does that).
      Extra features such as indexing, DOI assignment, plagiarism checking, etc, must be provided by other means.

      The company is based in Chicago.

      Peer review features

      Automatically tracking reviewer deadlines
      Automatically saving all email communication with the relevant manuscript
      Managing versions of files from pre-review to peer review through the production process
      Real-time analytics about time to decision, acceptance rates, and submission volume over time

      Journal website + OA publishing features

      Beautiful, modern design
      Responsive design for mobile, tablet, desktop, etc.
      Automatic metadata for Google Scholar, etc.
      Analytics (views, downloads, referers, etc.)

      For the journals listed below, Scholastica has provided the following features free of charge

      Help set up their new domain and website design elements
      Migrating over back issues from publisher, including coordinating with old publisher and CrossRef re: DOIs
      Integrate with for submission and publication (both operate as arXiv-overlay journals)
      Planning and consultation calls as needed, e.g. ISSNs, DOIs, references to other services, etc.
      Extra editor training and support
      Coordinating with MathSciNet re: injecting metadata into their index (WIP)

      Example journals publishing with Scholastica

      Pricing packages

      $10 USD per submission for peer review
      $99 USD per month for website + OA publishing hosting
      HTML+PDF typesetting: $5 per 500 words + $7 per attachment

      More information

      [Homepage with links to individual feature pages] (
      [A short PDF overview of Scholastica] (
      [A 1-minute video about Scholastica] (

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