The African Academy of Sciences, the Continent’s leading pan-African, cross-field promoter and supporter of scientific research in Africa, today endorsed the progressive open publishing position, Plan S, of the European Union.
Plan S is an initiative for open access publishing that was launched in September 2018. The plan is supported by cOAlition S, an international consortium of research funders. Plan S requires that, from 2020, scientific publications that result from research funded by public grants must be published in compliant open access journals or platforms. A large numbers of scientific articles continue to be published in journals that are only accessible to those able and willing to pay subscription fees.
The European Commission notes that with the increasing pace of scientific discovery and growing public demand for reliable information, there has never been a greater need for immediate, universal, access to the latest research findings. But with many scientific journals behind paywalls not everyone can get hold of this knowledge. Two years ago, on 27 May 2016, all Member States of the European Union committed to achieve this goal by 2020. It is one of the most important political commitments in science.
The AAS’ endorsement, issued in a letter to Open Access Envoy of the European Commission, Robert-Jan Smits, reinforces the open access position of The AAS. The Academy requires researchers it funds to make their funded research available through open access publishing. It reinforces the principles of AAS Open Research, the online publishing platform launched in 2017 by The Academy to enable researchers on the continent to publish their scientific output immediately and without access barriers with full and transparent expert peer review. The mission of AAS Open Research is to make African research freely available and usable, which will speed and advance the excellence of science on the Continent, thus improving its development outcomes.
“Africa is not as encumbered as are other regions of the world by the entrenched interests of commercial scientific journal publishers”, notes The AAS Senior Advisor for Science Communications & Advocacy and former PLOS CEO Elizabeth Marincola. “This provides the opportunity and the responsibility for the Continent to offer the results of its research output through a mechanism that serves scientists, science, decision makers and the general public. For these reasons, we launched AAS Open Research, and is why we applaud the position of the European Commission as embodied by Plan S.”
Notes to editors
The African Academy of Sciences (The AAS)
The AAS is a Pan-African organisation with headquarters in Kenya. The Academy is a non-aligned, non-political, not-for-profit organisation whose vision is to see transformed lives on the African continent through science. The Academy has a tripartite mandate of pursuing excellence by recognising scholars and achievers; providing advisory and think-tank functions for shaping the continent’s strategies and policies; and implementing key science, technology and innovation programmes that impact on developmental challenges through the agenda setting and funding platform - the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA).
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The European Commission European Political Strategy Centre (EPSC)
The EPSC is the European Commission’s in-house think tank, established in November 2014 by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, and operating directly under his authority. Tasked with a mission to innovate and disrupt, the EPSC provides the President and the College of Commissioners with strategic, evidence-based analysis and forward-looking policy advice. The EPSC has a mandate to engage in foresight and anticipatory governance. The EPSC also seeks to facilitate communication and outreach with decision-makers, think tanks and civil society at large.
Learn more at https://ec.europa.eu/epsc/home_en