The OA Interviews: Peter Mandler

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Richard Poynder

Dec 11, 2018, 9:43:18 AM12/11/18

Plan S is the most ambitious OA initiative yet mooted by any public research funder and has caused hand-wringing even amongst OA advocates. While some have welcomed the initiative, others are critical. Yet others appear decidedly conflicted about it.


To date, much of the public debate has focussed on the implications for scientists. Yet the impact on Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) scholars looks likely to be more profound.


The implications for HSS journals and learned societies are of particular concern, and there are real fears that the rules that will be applied to journals (including compulsory CC BY) will be extended to books too – a move that is felt would be entirely inappropriate. cOAlition S has yet to issue guidance on this but has said that it plans to do so. To add to the concern, earlier this year it was announced that to be eligible for the 2027 REF long-form scholarly works and monographs will have to be published OA. Monographs are key vehicles for HSS scholars to communicate their research.


What is particularly frustrating for UK-based HSS scholars is that Plan S looks set to rip up the settlement that was reached in the wake of the 2012 Finch Report. Wounds that had begun to heal will be re-opened.


As Peter Mandler, Professor of Modern Cultural History at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, puts it, “[I]t’s as if we haven’t had the five years of post-Finch arguments! We’re just going to have to have them all over again.”


For a sense of the challenge Plan S poses for HSS scholars please read the interview with Peter Mandler here:

Richard Poynder

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