EMS on new developments concerning Open Access

Two months ago the EMS reiterated its position on open access, see here.

While scientific publishing may move in this direction, any change of the system must be done in a balanced way taking into account the interests of all parties involved, in particular that of the scientific community.

However, at the moment we are witnessing several disturbing developments. The European Commission (EC) announced its "Plan S" which would make so-called “Gold Open Access” de facto obligatory from 2020 within the EU. The participation of big commercial publishers in formulating this plan was explicitly mentioned. Furthermore, the EC has selected Elsevier as a subcontractor responsible for monitoring the plan through the Open Science Monitor. In our view this is an obvious conflict of interests. We are surprised that the EC, with its manifest willingness to fight big internet companies, should turn a blind eye to such a serious problem in its own backyard.

This decision will have a serious and lasting impact on the future of Open Science and innovation in Europe, the livelihoods of European citizens, and even the legitimacy of the European Commission. A number of people have accordingly supported a complaint to the European Ombudsman, requesting that this decision be revoked.

The European Mathematical Society shares these worries about the future of scientific publishing and strongly supports the complaint.