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ECPR statement on open access and Plan S

The ECPR’s core mission has always been to break down barriers; to encourage and facilitate a rich scholarly discourse across geographical, methodological and thematic borders. Moves towards open access in scholarly publishing contribute to this mission and we are fully supportive of the principle that publicly funded scientific research should be available to all who wish to read it.
We are concerned, however, that the core features of initiatives such as Plan S have not fully considered the distinctive scholarly landscape of the humanities and social sciences. Nor are we convinced that the publishing models prescribed will continue to allow full and unrestricted access to publish, based on academic merit alone, within our discipline’s leading research journals.
Instead, we fear that while the requirements of Plan S will bring research published in high quality, peer reviewed journals to a larger readership, it will simultaneously reduce the pool of authors able to publish their work within those journals. We remain unconvinced that the pathways set out by Plan S will not discriminate against independent scholars and those from smaller institutes. Rather, we worry that new barriers to publishing the best innovative research in the best journals will be created as an unintended consequence of the best intentions of cOAlition S.
In 2018, to underline our commitment to open access scholarship, we launched our own fully Gold OA journal, Political Research Exchange. While PRX follows the ‘author pays’ model, we will not charge in the first two years. Following that, we will set Article Processing Charges at a fraction of current market rates for the wider community, capped at £100 for scholars from ECPR member institutions. We are developing PRX as a complement to our four well-established ‘hybrid’ journals, all of which publish content from members of cOAlition S.
We continue to monitor the situation carefully, to work closely with our publishing partners, and to listen to our membership and the wider community so we can meet the ECPR’s mission in these uncertain times.