Plos extends author fee waiver deal to Canadian universities

Strategy for institutional financing of open science follows California and UK models

January 19, 2021
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The Public Library of Science is expanding across Canada its system for subscription-free journals in which institutions largely cover the publication costs.

Under the arrangement, researchers from 19 universities in the Canadian Research Knowledge Network can publish in Plos Medicine and Plos Biology without paying the author fees often associated with open access systems.

Plos arose in 2000 from demands by leading academics for an alternative to the limits on scientific exchange posed by subscription-based models. But the common method of covering operational costs at Plos and other open access journals – fees paid by authors – has left the journals unattractive to some researchers.

The University of California system helped Plos tackle that challenge last February by reaching a two-year agreement in which it uses institutional funds and researcher grant money to cover article processing costs.

Plos and the UK digital services provider Jisc then reached a three-year agreement in October granting similar rights to scientists at Jisc-affiliated institutions covering seven of Plos’ journals.

Under the new Canadian agreement for Plos Medicine and Plos Biology, the 19 institutional members of the nationwide research network will jointly finance those publication costs.

Canadian institutions are making the open access commitment “despite a very difficult budget landscape”, Sara Rouhi, director of strategic partnerships at Plos, said in announcing the agreement.

The participating Canadian institutions are: Brock University, McMaster University, Mount Allison University, Mount Saint Vincent University, Ontario Tech University, Queen’s University, Simon Fraser University, Université Laval, University of Alberta, University of Guelph, University of Manitoba, University of New Brunswick, University of Ottawa, University of Saskatchewan, University of Toronto, University of Waterloo, Western University, Wilfrid Laurier University, and York University.

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